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Making abstract skeletons


Xhin
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Hi all. I discovered this technique recently, and I figured I'd share it. It makes abstract shapes that resemble fossil skeletons, though more cartoonish.

We start with a black-and-white gradient. Having a gradient isn't strictly necessary, but we'll see why it becomes useful later on.

a.png

Add a new layer, and make a scribble in any color. Monochrome colors are not recommended. If you're positive you want a monochrome object, however, make a colored gradient (say, blue to pink) and make a scribble in black.

b.png

Fragment, setting fragment count to "2" and distance to "2".

c.png

Crystalize. you're looking for a setting where a crystal is about 1/6th the size of the canvas, and there are a small amount of actual crystals (4 has worked the best for me). It's also better if they're far apart. Reseed as necessary.

d.png

Because you fragmented, these crystals will be slightly transparent. The gradient helps you get rid of ones that are TOO transparent.

Select one of the crystals and overlap it with another crystal, so there's a smooth line in between them.

e.png

Hit ctrl+i twice, and then move the object, leaving about a five-pixel gap between the objects.

f.png

Do that with all the objects, creating a "seed". Seeds that aren't strictly vertical (ie, L-shaped or V-shaped) seem to perform better.

g.png

Use "dents" with maximum scale (200.00) and somewhere between 1/4 (25.00) and 1/2 (50.00) refraction. Adjust settings (slightly lower scales work equally well with good seeds) and reseed as necessary.

h.png

Use hue/saturation/invert colors to get the color you want.

Also, I seem to have found the perfect seed by accident. My latest batch of art has used shapes that were made from it:

calligraphy.png

highrise.png

jewelers.png

The actual seed is the white part.

skygears.png

xhin.png

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Because trying to move the object after placing it just moves it again without clipping the under-layered object. Ctrl+D works, but then you have to select the whole thing again, or press ctrl+Z. Ctrl+i+i is the simplest route, unless I've missed some shortcut.

Also, that is awesome. Way to take the "skeleton" thing literally :P

xhin.png

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Because trying to move the object after placing it just moves it again without clipping the under-layered object. Ctrl+D works, but then you have to select the whole thing again, or press ctrl+Z. Ctrl+i+i is the simplest route, unless I've missed some shortcut.

Also, that is awesome. Way to take the "skeleton" thing literally :P

Sorry, I've missed this step. Now it's clear that it is a good way!

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