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2D Game Art for Programmers - a cute animal and the use of the align tool
by Chris Hildenbrand on 12/09/12 08:56:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

After the last [post] which was a little bit on the extreme and complexe side here is a nice change. Creating a cartoon sty animal using mainly circles and making good use of the align tool.

A simple but very helpful tool that is often overlooked is the 'Align and Distribute'. It's the answer to a question I have been asked a few time 'How do you place your objects precisely in line?'.

The tool can do a lot more than that by aligning not only objects but groups of objects.

In order to 'kill two birds with one stone' I am going to use and explain the tool while creating a cute animal. What defines cuteness? Cute usually is achieved by more 'child-like' proportions - round shaped heads, big eyes, small nose, small body. Perfect for my favorite start of a tutorial: "Let's create a circle" - well in this case we create three.

Note:
Users familiar with Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw for example might ask why I bother with the duplication and rotation when it's already build in. You create one copy, rotate it and the next copy will be a repeated version and you can create the full circle of triangles that way.

I find this way easier and more controlled when creating evenly spaced content for a circular shape.

Let's give the lion some facial features. The mouth might like conplexe but really it's just an up-side-down Y and if the deforming of the circle looks too difficult you might try using 3 separate elliptical shapes to create the same effect.

I added another circle for the body, a deformed circle for the leg and the paw, duplicated them 3 times to create the legs and added a line with a deformed circle with a pointy edge for the tail. A simple (and in my opinion cute) little lion.

With a little bit more detail (eyelids and eyebrows) it's easy to give the lion some features and create some variations.

Variations don't stop there. Taking the basic shapes, rearranging them and changing the colours you have a whole zoo at your fingertips.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and start playing around with the tools inkscape (and other vector tools) have to offer to create some magic.

In case you missed some of the earlier posts - I covered the basics in [part 1], [part 2] and [part 3] and got a little sidetracked in [part 4] while things moved in [part 5] and got blown up in [part 6] before getting all complexe and airborne in [part 7].

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