Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Making clothes - A tank top, part 2

Ok.... this is REALLY making a Tank Top!  With that small lesson behind us it won't be too difficult at all.

We're going to divide this post into 4 steps:
  1. Getting the Templates and using our newly found skills with the Path Tool to make our cuts.
  2. Add trim to the top and show how to get rid of the Dreaded Jaggies using Gaussian Blur.
  3. Add some more paths to create the straps and use Gaussian Blur with them too.
Templates and GIMP's Path Tool

The templates I like to use are from Chip Midnight.  There's one for the head, one for the upper body and one for the lower body.   You can download them here:



You can use the Eloh Eliot's Starlight skin files we downloaded earlier.  There is a copy of Chip's template in each of those files.  Here's a link to my earlier post where we talked about tools and downloaded the skin files.


For this top, I will recommend the second path.  Using Eloh Eliot's Starlight skin files as a starting point.  If you'd rather get Chip Midnight's templates, go ahead and use them.  There's nothing we do in this post that can't be done with just the templates.  But in the next post I plan to add lots and lots of detail to the top and we will find Eloh's files very useful when we do so.

So, make directory to work in and copy 'starlight_upper.xcf' into it.   I would suggest you rename it right now to something like "robins blog top 110509.xcf". Then open it up, and go through the layers, turning off ALL of the layers that are turned on, and turn on the layer at the bottom of the layers list that is the template. {edit: I've learned since I wrote this that you can turn off all the layers but one by holding shift down as you click the 'eye' on the one to leave on.} Here's what it will look like when you're done:

Now comes the creative part.  Also known as the tricky part!

First.  Create a new layer and fill it with the color of your choice.  I've made mine a nice dark red.  Make the layer you have just created a little transparent (about 70% or so the exact value is not important) so you can see the template though the layer you have just created.

Now use the path tool to create your path for the front portion of the template.

We need to create our path that will create the 'cut' of our fabric.  The front top portion of the cut will be very similar to our practice exercise.  There will be 7 points, creating 6 line segments that will cross the template above the breasts.  The thing that is critical is that we get the crossing points to be the same on the front and the back potions of the templates.  To keep it simiple we're also making both the right and left crossing points the same. You can see what I've done in the pictures to the right.

Use the technique you leaned in the previous post to expose the handles and make the curves smooth across the upper chest above the breasts and likewise across the tummy below.  Once you're finished with the front create a path for the back.  Notice that we dont need as many points there and the curve is simpler.

Here's a picture of the detail of the crossing point.  I"ve resized the window and zoomed in to show you the detail - you'll need to do the same.

Its very important to get the crossing points to match.  Notice that the is a color on the template to help on both the front and the back template, and that the lines are crossing one square up into the blue line segment. Also note the angle of the crossing.  It can be difficult to get both the angle and the crossing point matching.... thank goodness for temporary texture uploads!!

Here's a picture showing the detail of the crossing point on the back part of the template.

Ok - we're ready to make the cut.  Go to the layers window and choose the path's tab.  Depending on exactly how you created the path for the front and the back, you might see one or two paths.  I have two in my example, so I will select one, right click, and choose 'Path to Selection', then select the next, right click and choose "Add to Selection".

Now click the layers tab and make sure the fabric layer you created earlier is selected.  Mine is red.  Then Select->Invert to make it select the portions outside the areas we've choosen to keep and press the delete key.  You should end up with something like this:

Pretty nice isn't it!?  Try turning off the template layer and you'll see that the rest of the image is transparent.  Eventually that's the way we'll want it when we create the texture file that we will upload.

Adding trim, how to vanquish the Dreaded Jaggies!

Many 'freebie' items of clothing are just what we have done so far.  And they suffer from the Dreaded Jaggies as a result.  If you have a very fancy and powerful graphics card on your computer and have turned on such niceties as High or Ultra Graphics and Antialiasing - you will not see the Jaggies, but I promise you, they are there.  And they will have been noticed by the mere mortals with less capable computers.  ( Actually, that's a good thing to keep in mind as you make clothes - be sure to look at them in all the different graphics settings and lighting.  You may be surprised with what you see. )

The first step in correcting the Jaggies is to add some trim to our clothing.  Fortunately, with our paths, its pretty easy to do.
  1. First click on the color swatch in the Tools window - it should still be red from before (or whatever color you chose)  and move the cross-hairs to change the color a little.  This will become the color or the trim so I made mine a little darker red.  
  2. Now go to the Layers window, choose the Layers tab and press the button to create a new layer.  When it asks, tell it that we want a transparent layer.
  3. Now, in the Layers window choose the Paths tab.  Select the path that covers the front of the template, right click and choose 'Stroke Path'.  On the dialog window that opens, set the number of pixels to 10 and press OK.  (Stroke Line and Solid will have already been selected).  The picture to the Right will show you what mine looks like when completed.
  4. Now do the same with the stroke path for the back portion of the template.  Right click and choose "stroke path' and on the subsequent window set the number of pixels to 9 (not 10) and press OK.

The width of the trim (and straps) on the back part of the template will need to be 10% narrower than the width of the strap on the front part of the template.  Surprising isn't it?  I could take you though the detail of why if you like, but it turns out that the back template size is about 10% SMALLER than the front template.  This, by the way, it true for the lower template front and back as well.

Now let's take a look at these Jaggies.  You will want to click on the image to make it larger so you can see the stair-case easier.  But they are certainly there!

What to do!  What to do?

There is a way to create a similar effect to the anti-aliasing I mentioned earlier.  The answer is to do a blur of the trim. So while the layer with the trim is selected, go to Filters->Blur->Gaussian Blur.  How much is up to you, I think I usually do about 3 or 4 pixels for an image this size.

When you're done, your trim will look like the image at the right.  If you look closely you'll see that the staircase look is gone, and the edge of the trim is now a bit on the fuzzy side.

Actually, you'll still see the individual pixels but its a much finer grain now than it was.  And when you wear the top, the Dreaded Jaggie look of the edge will no longer appear.

Creating the Straps

Since we're creating a Tank Top we'll need some straps.  If you wanted a tube top, it would be ok to just stop here and leave the straps off.  But we'll use the path in a slightly different way here so its a good thing to add the straps to learn about this.

For the main part of the fabric above, we created a "Selection" from the path that we created.  Creating the selection 'completed' the path, making it into one closed area that became our selection.  For the straps, we will just use the path, and will not perform the 'selection from path' step.

As before, this is the creative portion and your paths may look a little different from mine.  If they do that's ok.  And if the thought has crossed your mind that you'd really rather have a Halter Top, you can do that in place of the tank top I'll be doing.  The critical part of this is to make sure that the points where the paths cross the edge of the template are the exact same on the front template and the back template.

My straps are not fancy, there are really just the three points for each strap, the two endpoints and one near the crossing to control the crossing line segment and let it be straight.  One trick you will want to know about is to use the shift key when starting a new path.  So create one of the paths for one of the straps, then press shift as you click the mouse to create a separate new path for the next strap.

Below you can see the paths for the straps.  Look closely to see the third point in each path.  It's near the top end point and will allow the top of the path to be a straight line as it crosses the template edge.

Finally, here's a picture entire top with the template still visible.  Yours should look similar.  There is one small change that I added.  I tucked the straps behind the trim and then, with the strap layer selected, I went to the image and used the erasure tool to take out the tag-ends that are poking out of the bottom of the trim.  Also remember that the straps on the back portion of the template need to be 10% narrower than those on the front portion.

You can save this (sans template layer) as a PNG file and upload it and try it out.  But I would recomend waiting if you can.   In the next blog post we will add a lot of detail to the top that will make it much more attractive.  I have in mind several things:
  • Give the straps and trim a more realistic 3d look.
  • Give the fabric a more realistic look by:
    • randomizing the color a little.
    • adding a kind of stippling pattern of raised nubs
    • add wrinkles that flow with the body
    • and add a hint of nipples (robin blushes)
  • And for the straps, trim and fabric.  We will add the shadowing and highlighting that we have available to us in Eloh Eliot's Starlight skin file that we used at the start.
    The next post will be soon!  I promise!


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