Drawing using the grid.
For a drawing to look right the artist has to calculate distances and sizes of objects in relation to each other. Some can do this instinctively. For those of us who can't, a grid is useful to help get things in the right place.
A grid is a tool used to transfer a drawing from one place to another, and also can change the size of the drawing. (It's scale).
You draw a grid over your source image and using the points where the picture intersects the grid, transfer it to a grid drawn on your painting surface.
This is how I do it.
The first thing is to draw a grid onto your computer and save it.
Take a drawing program, ( If you don't have one it's easy to find a basic one on the net,) and draw the grid. It's up to you how large you draw it, sometimes a little trial and error is needed.
Draw the grid the same as the one in the painting editor, that is 4 squares by 4 squares with every fourth line being a different colour. For convenience, I make the grid on my computer cover the size of an A4 piece of paper.
I've drawn my grid with the lines spaced 5mm by 5mm.
Once it's been saved, you don't need to draw one again and it can be used for every painting you wish to do. Simply load up your grid, then import the picture you wish to use and insert it under the grid.
Resize your source image so it's a handy size to work with. As a rule of thumb, the grid on the vinyl editor is 4 large squares high and 10 large squares wide, so this is an ideal size to use for your drawing. You can make your source image bigger if more detail is needed and later I'll give a method of working with a drawing larger than the vinyl editor.
Now crop the drawing with the grid and save using a different file name and print it off. Now you have your subject with a grid printed over it.
Now to the vinyl editor.
The built in grid can't be scaled, so you need to draw your own grid over it. Also, I'm finding that it's too faint to see easily.
Use the community shape 2-5 and put it on the editor. It will be positioned 0.00 x 0.00. Size it so the width is 0.10 and increase the height till it reaches the top and bottom of the editor. Colour it. I prefer red, but whatever works for you. Stamp it and change the colour. I use black. Now move this layer to the right 25 points. It will read y = 0.00 x = 25.00. Stamp it again and move another 25 points. Its now x = 50.00. Stamp it again and move to 75.00. Stamp again and move to 100.00. Change the colour to red again. Stamp this, change the colour back to black and move to 125.00. Repeat this pattern till you get to the edge of the editor. Then go back to the original layer and repeat the whole process, this time going left -25.00, -50.00, -75.00, -100.00, etc till you get to the opposite edge of the editor. All your vertical lines are now drawn.
Go back to the original layer, stamp it and rotate it till it's at 90.00º, increase the length till it reaches both sides of the editor and repeat the previous process, this time moving the y direction in increments of 25.00. Go up then down till the whole grid is drawn. You should use about 70 – 80 layers for this, depending if you go to the extreme edge or not. Group all and save. Grid is a good name.
There are two ways to load this onto the vinyl editor. The first is to go to “ Create Vinyl Group “ and choose “ Load Vinyl Group. “ Don't use this method, it will place the grid in the wrong position. The best method is to go to “ My Vinyl Groups “ and open it from there. This method places your grid over the grid supplied with the editor.
That's it, and because all the laborious work has been completed and saved, you don't have to go through all this every time you start a new painting.
Now you are ready to start your drawing.
Transferring your picture onto the Livery Editor.
Work under the grid. To do this apply a shape to the empty layer at the end. Cut it, then paste under the grid by selecting the layer that has the grid group and insert by pressing Y. You don't need to do this every time you make a new layer under the grid. Select a layer above or below where you want to insert the new shape and either paste it or copy and insert it. To change it go to the menu and choose " change vinyl shape ".
Really, every thing's in place now and you can just start drawing. For example, you're drawing an eye. Note the position of the eye elements in relation to the grid that's drawn over them, then draw then on the livery editor in relation to the grid there. eg. note the pupil, and where it intersects grid lines and how large it is in relation to the grid, and with a bit of fiddling round with shapes, sizes and skewing, you can replicate it on the editor.
That's how I did it for years, now, but it can get complicated. Especially when drawing large curves or shapes. They cover large areas of the grid and keeping track of all the intersecting points can stress the brain a bit. Remember, you're not actually drawing a line, you're using the edge of a shape to define the line. It's easy if there are unlimited layers to use, but layer management is a big part of using the editor, so it's much more efficient to use as less layers as possible. Choosing the perfect shape, size and skew, is taxing and all the time you are trying to keep track of all the grid points the shapes have to hit for the drawing to look right.
I have now simplified this process out of the equation, keeping track of all the grid points. I can now use more of my concentration on choosing the best shape for the job at hand.
The method I use is simply, connect the dots. I insert a circle shape into the editor over the grid I've drawn. Then I resize so it's really small, say 0.05 x 0.05 and put it at the start of a line I want to draw. Stamp it and move it to the next place where the drawing intersects the grid, stamp it again and move to the next intersecting point. Continue this till the drawing is mapped out, and it's done. I'm left with a series of dots that define the drawing and now can choose shapes and manipulate them to intersect all the dots. Connect the dots. Easy.
It's a bit mechanical and repetitive laying down all the dots, but apart from the time it takes it's not hard, and the pay off comes at the end, when the drawing is very quick and accurate.
Resizing the drawing.
Most of the time, the drawing on the livery editor is too small to get everything in place accurately. Make things bigger. Resize.
There's a couple of things to keep track of here. The first is to remember to select everything, including the grid, when changing the size.
The second is to be careful when resizing to choose the right size. Anything you blow up, you eventually want to bring back to the original size to match it back to the grid on the livery editor. Simply ungrouping a group, and then regrouping it, resets the size to 1.00. There are only two sizes to use when increasing the scale of your drawing. That is 200% ( 2.00 ) and 400% ( 4.00 ). Any other size will make it very difficult to set the drawing back to it's original aspect.
When the drawing is increased 200% and worked on, the size is reset to 1.00. To take it back, decrease it to 50% ( 0.50 ). Likewise, when increasing it to 400%, use a reduction of 25% ( 0.25 ) to return it to its original size. It's important to be able to maintain the original size so the drawing can always be positioned on the livery editor grid. This is important when you want to move the drawing in relation to the grid if the drawing is larger than the livery editor page.
Most of the time, I like to work with the drawing sized to 200%. This works well with the grid in the livery editor. At this scale, one square of your drawn grid covers four squares if the editor grid. This means, not only is it a larger size to see easily but the game grid conveniently gives a mid point on each square. Very handy when trying to find a point that is not on the grid line. Which always seems to be at the start or finish of a line, or when a curve takes an unexpected direction mid grid.
Moving a picture in relation to the grid.
If the drawing is larger than the grid then leaving the grid in place and moving the drawing under it is a good solution to keeping the part being worked on in the workable. This is quite often the case when working on a tall drawing.
You still need to keep the drawing in place with reference to its position on the grid, though. To keep it in place with the grid, I place a cross or x onto the drawing lined up with a grid intersection. Select everything, except the grid and move the whole lot into position, making sure the mark lines up in the correct place.