If you follow a series of lessons about isometric pixel art, then you probably should have a great machine for a pixel character. Let’s add one more vehicle to our collection by creating a helicopter – or if you want a lot of new items for your pixel city, you can buy them at Envato Market.
1. Determine the height and width.
As usual, we will determine the height of the object, starting from the height of our pixel character.
The helicopter should be about twice as tall as a man. The proportions are not necessarily made too realistic; in the end, it is usually better when transport and buildings are a bit smaller. Thus, a person remains visible and an important element in large, more complex compositions.
If you already have a pixel machine, congratulations! We can use it to determine the length of the helicopter. Let’s make a rectangle using the previously planned height and length of the machine.
If you do not have a car, make it! Or just imagine the length is 1.5 times longer than the length of the reclining character.
Now let’s select our rectangle, copy it and paste copies to get a row of three rectangles. This will be the length of the helicopter.
Remove the vertical stripes. Now we will “cut” the helicopter from this plane.
2. Design a helicopter
The method we use for the first step of creating a helicopter is somewhat similar to drawing a plan; we draw the contours of the case on one of the sides, from which we then create an isometric model.
If you imagine a helicopter, its shape is not too complicated when viewed from above or in the forehead. We will make a drawing with an isometric side view, since this is where difficulties appear. On the Internet there are many photos of helicopters from the top, side or front view, you can search for your design or just follow the lesson steps.
Going from top to bottom, let’s add a parallel line as close as possible to the upper border (1 px between the lines). These will be the helicopter’s propellers.
Under the screws, add a few vertical lines for the rotors. Place them about 1/3 the length of the screws and make them as tall as, say, the character’s head. You can draw them at your discretion.
Under the rotors, I added a pair of parallel lines. They will limit the size of the engine: one line for the top, and the second for the bottom. At the same time, the second line will be the roof of the helicopter cockpit.
We will make a tail for the helicopter attached to the last added line and reaching the very top of our “box”. The lines are drawn in the 2: 1 ratio (this means that 2 pixels go up, after which the next 2 are shifted by 1 pixel) and 3: 1. In this way, we get a wedge-shaped shape, and then we connect the tail using the 1: 1 line at the top. This will give a great look to our tail.
Erase part of the line under the rotors where the engine should end.
We will no longer need some lines, so feel free to remove them.
I added a point on the screw, denoting the place where it becomes wider and is usually made from another material. Then I copied it, mirrored it and placed it on the opposite side, slightly going beyond the rectangle.
Now let’s “cut out” a step for the engine, giving the model more complexity and bringing it closer to a real helicopter.
We need more lines at the bottom. We use the lowermost ones for the chassis, those that are slightly higher will be the base of the cab, and the upper line will roughly determine the location of the windows and the windshield.
From the newly created top line, draw a diagonal to the top edge of the motor. The proportions of this diagonal are 2: 1, it will become the windshield.
Remove all unnecessary. We do not need the last horizontal line and everything under the windshield.
The engine should start a little further, so move it back diagonally almost to the midpoint between the glass and the top rung of the motor.
Slightly round the top corner of the windshield.
Now let’s continue to work on the tail of the helicopter.
Draw a tail boom between the tail and the cabin, and it should not be too thin.
Now draw the lower stabilizer.
Add a line with 1: 1 proportions from the same point where the upper stabilizer starts. Direct it diagonally from the bottom of the tail boom to the edge of the “box”.
Finish the bottom stabilizer. It should not be an exact reflection of the top, but should also have a wedge-shaped shape.
Here it is a bit shorter and wider.
You can clear the lines under the beam.
A small detail: let’s add a line directly above the tail boom, connecting the engine to the tail.
To complete the cabin contour, let’s add a diagonal line from bottom to bottom. She is very cool and looks a bit ragged. Usually it is better to avoid this, but we will draw it in a 4: 1 ratio, so it will not look so sharp.
Complete the cockpit by rounding the corners and clearing the lines around it.
As for the chassis. Make the skis shorter than the cabin and bend the front edge.
Connect the skis to the cabin with two pairs of vertical lines …
… and our helicopter with a side view is ready.
3. Add depth / volume
Of course, our helicopter is not a cut out piece of paper, so let’s make it wider.
Fill the entire canvas with any color.
Here is an easy way to do this: select the entire image, select the tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool) unchecked Adjacent pixels (Contiguous) and click on an empty place of the image.
Then, to remove the unwanted fill, use the tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool) with a check mark Adjacent pixels (Contiguous). Now just select and clear two zones filled with unwanted color (the whole zone around the helicopter, plus the zone inside the chassis).
When using the tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool) you can add a selection to an existing one by holding down the key while working. Shift. In our situation, you need to keep Shift, click on two zones and only then click Delete once … it’s not always necessary, but it can save you a lot of time in the future.
You can also “take away” the selection by holding down Alt, and even cross the selection while holding Alt and Shift.
Make a copy of the previous state of the picture, later we will need it.
Remove the chassis of the original layer. This will be the middle of our “helicopter sandwich”.
Make a copy of the original layer and (optionally) paint it with a different color. Remove the engine and the entire top.
Also get rid of the tail boom – I will cut off the excess where I made a vertical line, just inside the chassis.
Remove the back section, round the corners.
These will be the right and left halves of the sandwich.
Make a sandwich!
Place the layers at an equal distance …
… everything should be about the width of a car …
I love it when the helicopter looks a bit puffy, so I made it even wider than a car. But in reality, for most models of helicopters, the width of the car is sufficient.
Let’s expand the chassis a bit. Simply Select (Select) the front ski and move it 2 pixels along and 1 pixel vertically.
Repeat the process with the rear ski, but move it in the opposite direction.
… why not just bring the chassis in the finished form.
If you want, you can combine the whole “sandwich” in one layer. It was all just guides, now we can start working on the real / final lines of the helicopter.
Let’s start with the engine; this is perhaps the most difficult form we need to draw.
On New layer (New Layer) draw one line denoting the motor axis and two lines that will be its edges. Draw them directly on the roof to get the correct width; the engine should be almost the same width as the cabin, just a bit narrower.
Now move the lines up and give them the correct length.
We will give this surface a shape similar to a tear. To begin with, we denote the angles with the help of straight vertical and horizontal lines.
Lightly round the corners. Do not touch the one on the upper right. Remove the middle line.
Now Select (Select) our new form, then execute alt offset (translator’s note:about what it is, is written in the first lesson of the cycle – Isometric pixel art in Photoshop) 4 px down or so many pixels so that this form “lay” on a small step of the guide.
Clean the area (remove the back lines). After that you should have the same form, but now with volume.
Take the front of our “drop” and place copies of it on the remaining steps marked on the guide.
You now have two slightly different forms.
You can clean the unnecessary lines (the line at the junction of two figures in the back of our surface) and correct the line going up from the lower left corner of the second figure.
The line should be with the same 2: 1 ratio that we used for guides.
Let’s start drawing the roof. Many lines here will repeat the guides, but, of course, this is not a problem if you remember Shift trick tool Pencil (Pencil Tool).
Now add the second row of lines. To give the helicopter a little more width than our “sandwich”, you can round the corners of the cockpit, as the guides did not give such an opportunity.
Don’t know what this is for Shift trick? Just click on the point with the selected tool. Pencil(Pencil Tool), press and hold Shift, then click on another point. Straight, neat line will connect two points.
Continuing to work on the roof, go ahead and finish it, drawing the lines as you see fit.
In this step, connect a few more lines.
Pay attention to the wedge shape in the place where the two lower lines of the cabin are connected near the far edge of the engine.
Continuing to draw the cab, some lines need to be drawn so that they cover the edges of the guides. However, do not pay attention to the layers of the sandwich, thereby forming a straight line.
In the end, we reached the back of the cabin. We do not need torn lines, so for this section you can add a bit of creativity, as we did for the figures that form the motor. You do not need to be very precise, just draw as you think is right.
Completely redraw the tail. No changes are needed here.
Do not want to redraw? You can go to the layer with the guides, select the stroke with the tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool) and then using Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool) with unchecked Smoothing (Anti-Alias) and Feathering (Feather) 0 pxshut off (intersect) tail (remember keyboard shortcut Alt-shift?) … copy it and paste it by going to the menu Editing> Paste Special> Paste Instead (Edit> Paste Special> Paste in Place). Then merge the layers.
This may sound harder than redrawing, but when you get used to the tips and learn how to use keyboard shortcuts for all of these actions, the process will be several times faster.
Now you can start redrawing the rotor. Add some extra volume to the base.
Let’s draw the screws on new layer (New layer).
We can add a small cap at the junction of the screws.
At the point we marked on the rails, the screws should become a little wider.
After you have painted the screw, and it suits you, copy (Copy) him and turn 180?. To do this, go to the menu Editing> Transform> Rotate 180? (Edit> Transform> Rotate 180?), Then place it on the opposite side.
To remove a certain one-sided helicopter, let’s reflect the screws by going to the menu Editing> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal).
We have not added horizontal stabilizers and now we will fix it. Just draw a rectangle near the end of the tail boom …
… and one more on the other.
On the guides we did not draw another important thing; the helicopter needs a tail rotor to control the direction.
Start with a rod perpendicular to the tail.
Now draw a pair of beautiful, small screws.
Now all forms are ready!
4. Add details and color
Go to the details and coloring. Start by adding windows.
The bottom roof lines will be the top of our windows. You need to add only one line below.
Thanks to the sandwich with guides, we already have a line in the middle of the cabin. So just draw two lines on both sides of this guide, with a small frame separating the windshield.
Draw a frame for the remaining windows.
Work with sandwich guides over.
Delete it … or make the layer invisible if you are so sentimental. In fact, you may want to save some work items or failed attempts somewhere, as often many things can come in handy again.
Now you can fill the helicopter with any color at your discretion.
At this stage, we will begin to add the correct lighting – first, with a light shade, we will mark the zones that should glare.
Then mark more zones, for example, the corners of the cabin. We will also add a different, lighter shade for areas that need to stand out stronger.
To the windows we will move a little bit later.
Add a darker shade for one of the sides, as well as areas that are curved and are farther from the usual light source, usually located at the top.
Add another, even darker shade for some areas.
Now that the main work with the lighting is finished, let’s soften the shadows on some corners to visually combine the elements.
Choose the color of the windows that you like best. I will make my windows dark; I liked the overall look.
Apply any glass effect to your liking. I usually like to draw these light lines parallel to the borders of the windows. I believe that they can be viewed as a reflection of the outside, and as the inner rim of the window. In any case, it looks beautiful.
Now one small “glass” effect: we will make the windows slightly transparent, showing that the light passes through them to the back of the cabin.
Let’s start with the correct form of windows.
Then place them where they should be – on the back wall of the helicopter cabin – and give them a bright glass shade.
Here I also made the front parallel line a little thicker. I think it will give her the appearance of a helicopter control panel.
Usually helicopters are painted in several colors, drawing various stripes or other shapes, but I just add a light gray bar at the bottom of the cockpit.
In this zone we will have a new color. You need to paint it on New layer (New Layer).
Now I will just cut Opacity (Opacity) layer and Will unite (Merge) new layer with the base.
Then I will repaint the selection with a color that I like.
If you want, you can color the chassis with a different color. In any case, they should have a slightly different shade.
Paint the rotor dark gray.
… and do not forget about the area between the screws.
Add final touches to the screws. I chose a lighter gray and made the edges of the screws yellow.
5. We land the helicopter or send it to the flight.
Let’s complete the drawing, giving the helicopter two states: it can be either on the ground (in which case it should cast a shadow) or in the air, then its screws should spin.
Let’s start with the landing state.
On New layer (New Layer) we will draw flat shapes for each main section of the helicopter.
Here is the cabin shadow.
Shadow of the tail.
And the shadow of the screws.
Combine them. The shadow should be centered on the axis of the helicopter.
To apply the shadow effect, move this layer under the helicopter layer and reduce it. opacity (Opacity), 15% will be sufficient.
This is our final helicopter in ground condition. It can be placed on any flat surface.
For helicopter air condition on New layer (New Layer) in the place of both screws make circles.
They must fit the length of the screws. The circle for the top screws should be twice as wide as the screw length, while the circle for the tail rotor should be inclined 26.5? … or something like this:
This effect is drawn with black and low opacity.
Let’s leave only the stroke in 1 px. This is easy to do by highlighting each circle with Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool) and reducing the selection by 1 px. To do this, go to the menu Select> Modify> Compress (Select> Modify> Contract). Then simply delete the highlighted area.
Add a couple of yellow circles, as we had yellow paint on the screws.
Fill the inner circle with black, then reduce the opacity, making the tone of this layer lighter than the stroke of the circles.
For the final touch, reduce the opacity of two quarters of each circle.
You can do this by painting the reflected quarters on New layer (New Layer) with Opacity (Opacity) 50%, since we will not delete all the plots, but only reduce their opacity.
After the shapes are drawn, select them by clicking on the layer with the key pressed Ctrl. This will generate a selection of the same shape and opacity as the layer that was clicked.
Go to the layer with rotating screws, click Delete, and you will remove 50% opacity by getting this result:
You can almost hear the noise of a helicopter!
All is ready!
Glad you’re done! Now your character can fly and move faster than by car, and your virtual library of isometric models is replenished with a new element!
Now the limit is only sky!