November 14, 2022

Exploring VectorStyler - Part III


While waiting for the new Minisforum PC to arrive, I started a new project in VectorStyler in which I try explore new functions. VectorStyler is brimming with those, so getting acquainted with them is some sort of a lengthy adventure, which is why I am now working on Part III already. Once again I decided to draw a jaguar, since on a scarcely ventured obscure level I feel a connection with this magnificent beast. I was fortunate enough to be accepted as the caretaker / servant of several mini versions of the big cat - members of the feline species that were too small to have me for dinner - and in each of them I found aspects that appealed to me, beyond the affiliation I felt with other types of animals. I suspect I would be able to feel a similar bond with octopuses - even if we do not share a similar habitat, but I haven't yet owned one of those very smart beings.

So in creating this image I used a lot of shape effects - various blur functions and noise filters - and the spikes distortion tool for the many spots in the jaguar's fur. The program froze a couple of times after which I posted a crash report on the VectorStyler forum. However, in view of the extreme amount of functions and tools included in the program, I continue to experiment with VectorStyler, hoping, based on good reason, that one day it may mature far past the prowess of its competition.

The prerequisites are already in place to become the most advanced vector drawing program available, but the program needs to evolve to be able to make its competitors bite the dust. There are a number of die hards in the VectorStyler forum, which adds to my suspicion that there are great times ahead for this potentially brilliant program and its users, because such a type of persevering crowd is needed to make projects develop in a successful way.

Below images of the various stages of the drawing are shown that are placed above the related comments in which I try to explain what tools were used in what way. These words don't always make sense to the 'uninitiated', that may want to profit from the 42 day free trial period in order to gain some insight into the possibilities that this coded marvel offers.

This time I ran into trouble exporting it. As artboard and canvas both gave weird results, sometimes only part of the image rendered and other times some shapes distorted and came out grainy. I will put this project on hold for now and see if the Minisforum that hasn't yet arrived will do a better job than my dinosaur computer. I had to crop a screendump to get something to present here (hence the solid white background), that also is grainy while the area on the jag's forehead rendered distorted.

Drew the ears, since they are a defining aspect of the jag's appearance. This time the .png export failed again, but exporting the canvas worked properly. I am more puzzled now. With version 1.1.066 I experience many crashes and freezes. Perhaps, like I wrote below in earlier stages, it is the old machine that is to blame for some of the faulting. Eagerly awaiting the new machine, which should enable me to offer a more substantiated view.

From this point on export to .png-file failed. I assume and hope it is the lack of calculation power of my ancient (from 2004) rig. In this stage I drew the body contour, some of the background and water with the beginning of reflections. Stability, whether it is the old machine or software or both, still is an issue. I can begin to reason deductively concerning this matter once the new computer will be in use. Update of 10 minutes later: When slightly changing the export parameters, the export to one of my network drives succeeded. I am slightly puzzled.

Proceeded with the spots until I discovered there is a command repeat in VS that may save me a lot of time, since each spot is given a spikes distortion (which save a lot of time), a box blur and a certain level of transparency. Right click on newly drawn shape and the previously applied effects and styles can be selected to be applied again. Great effort- and time saver.

Started drawing the spots of which there are tons in the jag's fur. Gave the face background are a Turbulence noise to which (Noise: Turbulence, Noise mode: colour, Colour mode: Saturation, Position: point and Amount 22%) a box blur was applied as well. These combined shape effects work well together. I realize that I just used tools that none of VectorStyler's competing programs has included in its software code.

Drew coloured background area in the face to be able to balance shape colours. With the transparent background the jag looks like a little dog with flappy ears in this stage, but that will change soon.

Basic set up. Gave the eye shapes (eye background contour, iris and pupil) a modest box blur to keep image realistic. The .png-file export function with certain settings works well (which it did not in earlier versions) - Format: 8bit per pixel, Rendering 16 bit component, Interlaced off.