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rss 166 weeks ago
I had an idea for a design last night, after reading people saying 'cut back on the Whoniverse'. It's based on the scene in Aliens when the Marines get attacked by the xenomorphs and someone shouts (paraphrasing here) "they're coming out of the goddamn walls and floors..."

There are companies that deal with walls and floors. So why not include the xenomorphs? I don't mean have the busy little bees cover your walls in resin and introduce you to a facehugger. How about wall and floor material made from the silicon-based resin they secrete, or material made from their silicon armor. Very tough and durable, and made to look like granite tiles!

Part One - drawn out.

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I've drawn out a basic design in pencil for the Alien (here's a cellphone photo of what I have so far). I'll do the Stanley knife and the banner as stand-alone elements and join them all together at the end. My plan is to scan the completed artwork, color them using GIMP, then trace the bitmaps into Inkscape for the final vector placements (ensuring the design meets the six color maximum).

Thoughts, suggestions, and other ideas greatly appreciated.
33Comments
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    166 weeks ago
    My only suggestion is to work non-stop so I get this on a shirt as soon as possible!
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    166 weeks ago
    Xeno's Tile: They're going into the godsmuuuuuurf walls and floors.

    A different site had a Mr. Brainwash parody using Ripley with a Super Soaker(parody of Don't Be Cruel with Elvis with a toy M-16) that I still kick myself for find out about after too much time had passed. Why am I telling you this? Because Aliens was a sweet film.
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    166 weeks ago
    I know the film (Special Edition) backwards and forwards. When I was living in England (Stevenage), I had a surround sound set-up and I watched it all the time. The scene where Ripley's telling Gorman to pull the team out because they're cut off? The main sound is in the front channels, the back channels, in stereo, has the radio chatter. "Behind you, maaan..." {BLAM!!} "where's Apone?" "the sarge is gone, let's get the f*** out of here!". Excellent sound mixing.

    Back to the design. The main part of the design is in ink. I erased the pencil (in GIMP), and now I'm cleaning up any odd pixel artifacts before coloring. I did add a couple of back funnels, but I'm now deleting them. It makes it look crowded, so they're going. So the head is like the xenomorph in Aliens, the body is like Alien3.

    Photobucket

    It's taking shape.
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    165 weeks ago
    OK, day three (I think). I've scanned a banner into the computer too. Colored both of them. And I found excellent instructions online here of a great GIMP effect for Halftone shading called Newsprint. You liked the comic book shading? That's what it is

    Photobucket

    The effect on the banner will be applied t the alien too. I'll select segments to be shaded, add a Layer, make a gradient, then apply the Newsprint Filter to get that effect. Just what I was looking for.

    The banner and teeth are black and a light cream. Border are black. Alien is a battle green-gray, with red muscles as inspired by the Aliens vs. Predator game on the SNES. They had colored heads, muscles, it was funky.

    tumblr_lidpqo71CS1qa68j2o1_500.gif
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    165 weeks ago
    ^ Do the Alien BOOGIE!
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    165 weeks ago
    The design is coming along nicely. And this weekend, I finally stopped shading in all the nooks and crannies (the tail was fun) and that's when I noticed it.

    The banner. I had used Halftone dots, cells, on the banner that were a different size to the rest of the design. Everything else has cells of a size 6. I did the banner first, before I'd discovered the '10' dots were too big for the xenomorph. The polka dots on the banner are too big.

    Bugger and, to paraphrase Father Jack, arsebiscuits.

    I have made a separate Xenomorph logo to go on the banner. But it doesn't look right. It's OK for the alien to be hand-drawn because he's organic (so bumps and nodules are to be expected). But a banner for an advertising logo shouldn't look like it needs to be ironed and mended. And it shouldn't look like the shadows are polka dots.

    I'm more than happy with the alien. More than happy with the company logo. More than happy with the backsplash I now have. But the banner needs to be redone. Thankfully, this is why working with Layers is such a bonus. All I need to do is create the new banner, and delete the old one.

    I'd say my design is 80 - 85% complete. To do: create cleaner banner shape. Put the new logo on it. THEN shade it. Position it on the existing artwork. Save each Layer as a PNG. Import each Layer into Inkscape. Convert each layer to vectors with limited colors. Make sure all converted vector versions conform to the color palette for this piece. Tweak the pieces' nodes to ensure cleaner lines. Create the complete SVG vector version. Submit it.

    It's hard work, but you have to do things right and by the numbers if you want the results you're looking for. I could have just scrawled something on paper, scanned it, cleaned it up in GIMP, ported it straight over to Inkscape, and just submitted it. But who wants a get-rich-quick design with no love put into it?
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    165 weeks ago
    I can't see it quite clear enough to make an educated suggestion, but I do think that if it were me I'd leave the image and the banner drawn in the same way - ie handdrawn completely or vectored completely. A mix of two stroke styles in my mind makes the whole thing look patched-together.

    But yea, I'd need to see more and closer to really have a leg to stand on :)

    Even my quick ideas I take hours tweaking every single line. I cringe every time I see my own design that seems "put together" :P
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    165 weeks ago
    I'm going to tweak the hand-drawn elements before importing into Inkscape, and during time in Inkscape too.

    One idea I had was to delete the black lines in the GIMP version of the xenomorph, import it like that (just that one Layer of gray armor / red muscles / white teeth with no border) into Inkscape, hand-tweak the Nodes so that all the internal lines are a LOT smoother, and then give all those elements a uniform Border. That way, it has a constant width (making it look more like the vectored banner and logo).

    I've now created a cleaner banner. The logo is clean. The background is clean. By the time I've finished, people will be able to tell it's the same figure I sketched out on paper ...but they'll wonder how I managed to get it looking so crisp on the t-shirt.

    I'm going to be spending a lot of time looking at my design at 400% magnification!
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    165 weeks ago
    Back again.

    Can't stress the importance, if you're importing images into Inkscape, to minimize he colors before you do it. Take this. It's a zoom of a section of the Xenomorph logo text.

    Photobucket

    The Halftone shadow. Just black, right? HA! Black is the top color. If I removed the black, the gray-green or the burgandy red would show. And we're talking about a lot of nodes here...

    Photobucket

    And I'm a perfectionist, so when it's a black shadow I only want black-colored areas there. It cuts down on the file size too.

    I imported the Xenomorph itself, with the red muscles and the gray teeth / claws, black outline and all. Wow. What I'll do is remove everything but the black and green, and then add the other colors and drop them a level underneath the black lines.
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    165 weeks ago
    Love the stylised Alien, it will look great after you applied the shading. But don't forget to add some highlights to the alien. Maybe you can go with a colorscheme close to that gif animation. Also i'm not so sure about that banner, it just don't suits the style. Maybe you can find something more suitable to the Alien universe. Maybe a bended and broken piece of metal reshaped as banner, i dunno.
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    165 weeks ago
    MEKAZOO said: Love the stylised Alien, it will look great after you applied the shading. But don't forget to add some highlights to the alien. Maybe you can go with a colorscheme close to that gif animation. Also i'm not so sure about that banner, it just don't suits the style. Maybe you can find something more suitable to the Alien universe. Maybe a bended and broken piece of metal reshaped as banner, i dunno.


    I was considering a torn banner (see my first draft sketch), but then decided that what I want is a wall and floor product (like wood paneling). Xenomorph is Weyland Yutani's new brand of long-lasting silicon-based products to beautify your home, interior and exterior, for years to come. Having things look ratty wouldn't be good for sales, but The Corporation wants people to see the xenomorphs not as a threat, but as a product (in the same way we see cows on cheese products. We think of them in terms of what we get from them, not for their smell or the fact that their noses always look snotty in real life). So there'll be the logo...

    __hr_WY+logo+recreated+(vector).jpg

    ...and the trademarked catchphrase "Durable. Beautiful. Silicon" will be written in English and Japanese ("Taikyū-se. Utsukushii. Shirokon", to put it in Romaji). Possibly with a small-print disclaimer ...if acid causes reformation of existing fixtures in your home, contact a WY Corp representative immediately. Offer not valid on LV-426. Please check all packaging for egg-sacs and their contents before opening completely. That kind of thing.
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    165 weeks ago
    Ooh, forgot to say: there is highlighting in there. Only on the head casing at the moment, because that's the shiniest bit.

    I've been looking at a lot of other Alien art...

    151-alien-resurrection-008-kjdyq.jpg

    ...and from what I can see, the head is very shiny like a crash helmet. The rest of it, not to much.

    From the angle the xenomorphs are rendered above, I never thought of doing the four back vents like they could be the outline of wings. But like I said earlier, Alien3's alien had no vents.

    alien3smelter.jpg
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    165 weeks ago
    I love that you're so meticulous in your utilization of so many different references, even some officially licensed shirts I've seen fall short in the regard (Thor with brown hair? Really?) and it's more than a little annoying. I'm also really glad you came up with the tiling idea instead of shoehorning a Xenomorph into an "Ale" type design. This is a recent trend I don't particularly fancy...
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    165 weeks ago
    hi bruv , can you do me one and put " I said BUGGER OFF " on it ~ remind me of when you used to work for the railway in the uk lol x
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    165 weeks ago
    levsgob said: hi bruv , can you do me one and put " I said BUGGER OFF " on it ~ remind me of when you used to work for the railway in the uk lol x


    That's my sister in England. Hello, M.P.

    No, no I can't do one with "bugger off" on it. Who'd buy an alien t-shirt with "bugger off" on it?!!? And you're giving away one of the best secrets for improving both artistic skills and juggling skills: get a job on the railway, get a promotion that gets you to a single-manned station 45 minutes outside of London, and once the rush hour is over you'll have hours to hone your skills with the pencil and with three £20 plastic bags of pound coins.

    British rail: inspiration's best kept secret. J.K.Rowling took the train between London and Scotland a few times, she wrote seven books and half the time the protagonists are walking through walls in Kings Cross station.
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    164 weeks ago
    ...and I just discovered that Path --> Simplify (Ctrl + L) could dramatically cut the number of nodes I'm working with, smoothing out the lines for me without it taking hours (it erases a set number of nodes and the software calculates the closest line or Bezier curve between the two points left behind).

    This is a learning process for me, which is why I decided to document things. Having a record online helps me (and hopefully some of you guys that design in meat-space too) to streamline the process, and have the technology be the best tool it can be instead of being a hindrance.

    Memorial Day Weekend is coming up. Hopefully I'll have less gardening and more designing time in the next few days, so I can get things moving.
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    164 weeks ago
    I think this warning on the bottom will be good. The XENOMORPH text will actually be on the banner. I just wanted this legalese part out of the way.

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    164 weeks ago
    I should really do this one as a separate TIPS entry too. Maybe later. It's how to reduce nodes in Inkscape, without having your artwork look like a simplified blob.

    First of all: Illustrator. It, apparently, has an EXCELLENT tool for reducing the points of information in a piece of converted artwork.

    fig02.jpg

    You get two sliders. Curve Precision is 'how much should the new path match the original' (the highest percentage is more similar to the new path and has a larger number of anchor points). Angle Threshold is an angle between 0 and 180 degrees which controls the smoothness of the corners (you can use this value with a low angle to keep the sharp points unchanged when the Curve Precision is low).Straight Lines makes everything non-curved, great if you're going for a very straight computer-generated Designer's Republic look. And Show Original draws a little guide line, showing how your tweak deviates away from the original.

    All that would be great in Inkscape, which is free. Tough luck, you don't get that!

    What you do get is Simplify, an option through Path --> Simplify. The problem with the default Simplify is that it simplifies TOO much. I've shown how many Nodes there are on something ported over from hand art. Well: the Simplify command turns it into a blobby version by being very aggressive with the artwork. All that nuance and fine penmanship? Bye bye.

    I wouldn't be making this post if I wasn't going to show you a very easy tweak to the settings that have been hidden away.

    lost_icon.png

    On the right hand side of the top Taskbar are the two Preferences and Properties icons. The second-to-last one, looks like a wrench and screwdriver, that's the one we need. Select that, and scroll down to the Misc option. Miscellaneous. Other stuff. You'd hardly know it's there.

    reduce_to_04.png

    If you have Inkscape, and you've done it, you'll see that the default setting for Simplification threshold is 0.0020 (those measurements are in ten-thousandths of something-or-other). That '20' setting takes your piece of fine crafted beauty, and turns it into something similar you'd make if you had to recreate the piece. Using a wide paint roller. With boxing gloves on. In a dimly lit room. Wearing sunglasses.

    As you see, I changed it from '20' to '4'. It's now super effective.

    less_dots.jpg

    I'm now able to select individual nodes near places that I want a sharp edge (pointy teeth and claws, in this example). Pull them to the place they need to point. And convert them from being smooth Nodes into being corner Nodes. As you see from Xenomorph's big white teeth here (soon to be gray).

    More on how to quickly color those areas in, next update. Memo to my future self: NEVER color it in using GIMP. It's much easier doing it in vectors. And the shading, in future, I'll do as a whole separate layer. That makes coloring in the main areas beneath the shaded bits much quicker.

    The little tooth shape you see is a tooth. Part of the second mouth these little creatures have. With the nodes cleaned up, I'm able to clean up areas that looked too rough and add the details in better.
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    164 weeks ago
    I'm close to finishing, so I'll save the final design for a separate thread. I said, at the beginning, that this would be for Xenomorph brand Walls & Floors products (hey, Weyland-Yutani can't be ALL about the weapons division!). I originally thought of it as an ad for the tiles. Then it hit me. If the Corporation is going to be shipping these products, they're going to have warehouses, stacked with palettes full of the stuff. A palette of 5,000 tiles (each tile weighing 400g) would weigh 2 metric tonnes.

    How are they going to lift two tonne loads onto the ships heading out to the colonies?

    Powerloader.jpg

    The design will look like a shipping manifest sticker, stuck on the side of every large palette of XENOMORPH tiles. There will be warnings regarding using Power Loaders to lift the thing, the Weyland-Yutani logo, and a QR barcode which doubles as my signature on the piece.

    I'm taking inspiration for the label design from The (now defunct but never forgotten) Designers Republic. Geometric lines and shapes in bold colors, futuristic font use, pure fun.

    designers%252Brepublic%252B33.gif
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    164 weeks ago
    Shaping up and looking good! :) Defo buy if it comes up on TF!
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    163 weeks ago
    Well, here it is. The copy that I'll be submitting. The text is a bit hard to read because it's a 640 px image.

    Xeno tee shirt design

    Lots of Alien film references. Class 2 Power Loader license (Ellen Ripley had achieved that rating), the mix of English and Japanese, molecular acid (Dallas said that in the first film), the product is not available on colony LV-426 (Aliens), micro changes in air density (Ash's detector worked on that principle), and 709-R (the shuttle from the Sulaco came around for "a seven-zero-niner" before landing).

    And the blue color is the transparency. Everything in dark blue will be the tee shirt color so it needs to be dark.
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    163 weeks ago
    I love the art of the alien and the concept but It looks REAAALLLLY hectic as a whole with all the text and borders. You'd have to really stare at the shirt to read all the references
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    163 weeks ago
    wow I think it's gone a bit too overwhelming - the art of the alien is almost completely lost and I would say that's the best part of this thing. And there's a lot of repetition in your references too so I think try and bring it back and you'll have something much more impactful!

    Good journey!
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    163 weeks ago
    Kirelestat said: I love the art of the alien and the concept but It looks REAAALLLLY hectic as a whole with all the text and borders. You'd have to really stare at the shirt to read all the references


    Like I said: I was going for a shipping manifest label look, and they are quite involved...

    upslabel.gif

    resource_ups.gif

    Those are two examples from UPS (one manual, one electronic). Even with the redundancies on the electronic one, there's a lot of information. But that was the intent. And don't forget: the image is around 7 or 8 inches wide on your screen. The text is clearer full size. I could fill the disclaimer text area bottom-center with a barcode, but I want that disclaimer in there.

    It was looking a little dark, so I have changed the color of the borders / main logo / the words 'contents' and 'tiles' from #bababa silver to #ffffff white. I tried to have the PowerLoader text read as top-to-bottom text but it looks even more crowded. I think removing the word "license" with the comma will make that look better all round (it's spelled phonetically in katakana, so it takes up 7 of the Japanese characters).

    Staring at the shirt's a good thing, right? I mean: you see it's Alien straight away. A slightly longer look shows you it's a product by Weyland-Yutani. And the wearer gets to appreciate all the subtle references (and can point out some of them to admirers too). Plus: anyone that takes an interest in you can break the ice by asking to read your shirt more closely. They will be staring at the area around your navel for quite a while...
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    163 weeks ago
    I've thought of four ways to de-clutter it (to be worked on over the next few days when I get the time)...

    1 - Take out the disclaimer text from the center. I still want that, but if I put it below the main design, it doesn't detract from the whole ethos. And if TeeFury accept the piece but decide to alter the dimensions by dropping that text, que sera sera.

    2 - Move the Weyland-Yutani logo into that large box, freeing up the bottom left area. It's a vector, and as the company logo it will take pride of place.

    3 - In that bottom left area, just add the phrase "FURY-161" in Zero Hour font. That pays homage to the refinery/prison planet on Fiorina "Fury" 161 in Alien3.

    4 - cut down on the English / Japanese phrase on the left hand side. Change it from / to...

    CONTAINER HANDLING: PowerLoader (Class 2) License min. requirement.

    HANDLING: PowerLoader (Class 2) min. requirement.

    (as you see, it's around 75% of the original's length, so will look less smashed together)
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