December 9, 2010

Doing some Vector Art

For the longest time I’ve been wanting to have a personal avatar that I could use for my profile picture with online services. I didn’t feel comfortable putting up a real picture, but on the other hand I wanted to have something more personal than some arbitrary photo/design.

So recently, I decided to spend some time and create a vector version of my cartoon-self. Since I am not artistically inclined, I decided to use an existing photo of myself as inspiration. I traced the outline of my face from the photo, and continuously used it for reference for contours, colours and gradients. I tried not to make it too realistic in an effort to avoid the uncanny valley.

I find doing such drawings relaxing and it gets the creative juices flowing. I also got to learn a lot about how things work in Inkscape. I particularly love how you can fine tune vector paths to the smallest detail and easily create smooth lines – something I would never be able to do with just my hands using pencil and paper.

Since I use version control for almost everything (including this project), I was able to document the progress of my work. In the end I wrote up a script to fetch all the versions of my image from the first draft to the final image, and created an animation from them showing the progression of the work:


My python code for extracting all versions of a file from a SVN repository can be found here. Note that you will need to install the pysvn library for your python distribution for this to work.


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