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Part Three - Individual Flame Shapes

Important Note: unless otherwise stated, all freehand drawn flames have a:

  Fractal Plasma fill - Repeating, Fade, 80 dpi, Fractal Scale 30.

  Fractal Plasma transparency - Repeating, Mix, 54 dpi, Fractal Scale 30%.

With a 6 pixel feather. And normal profiles.

I usually work with the 'give new objects most recent value' so this is just the way it happened (So to make these next steps easier, click on: File menu > Page Options > General > Give new objects most recent value).

  Tip: If you change the feather settings for a new object it is possible that Xara won't give your next objects the same feather. A way around this is to copy the feathered object, that you wish the settings passed on, then Paste Attributes (CTRL+SHIFT+A or Edit > Paste Attributes) to the next object - this seems to give Xara the idea of putting the same feather on subsequent objects, not sure why this happens.

NOTE: The Paste Attributes icon shown above is not found on the Infobar by default. You can add this icon to your setup by going to Window > Control Bars > Button Palette. For more information, refer to the Help menu in the Control Bars dialog.

Both fills and transparencies had the vertical handles longer than the horizontal ones (I believe I drew the first shape as solid and no transparency, then set the fill/transparency to fractal plasma, set the dpi and just reduced the horizontal handle inwards).

Step 1. Using the plasma rectangles as a guide, create your first flame shapes with the Freehand Tool. These shapes used the colours Med Red and Med Orange. (I believe I set freehand Smoothness slider setting to something lowish such as 7% so as to get the sort of shape I actually drew, but without having a crazy amount of nodes). Note: Most of these shapes had a 6 pixel feather, but a few were drawn in the later stages and some of these had a smaller feather (4 pixels). I didn't worry too much about the actual shapes at this stage, I drew them quite quickly and roughly.

Make some of them quite large. The general idea is to create three effects:

  • In part to build up the colours from dark, medium to lighter colours, using progressively smaller shapes to get a gradation of colour, similar to a blend.
  • But also not to worry too much about this and having a fair few of the lighter coloured flame shapes against the darker parts, which gives a bit more definition.
  • And to use colour to define edges a bit more, if you remember the transparent folded fabric analogy.

Step 2. The second flame shapes were Dk Orange and Lt Orange. I only drew a few of these and in general they were long thin-ish shapes. At this point I was trying to get the 'edge definition using colour' effect mentioned previously. These were still drawn pretty roughly and I didn't worry too much about accuracy when drawn over the first flame shapes.

Tip: One thought about drawing all these shapes; try to draw less of them than you think you need to, as in reproducing this effect my first efforts were overdrawn and didn't look right, so best to keep it relatively simple.

© Copyright 2002 Su Lawrence. All rights reserved.