3D Cactus

3D Cactus. 1 hour project. In memory of my beloved Red Caca.

There was King Cacatos I and Queen Cacacia. Once Queen Cacacia gave a birth to little cactusie. Happy parents gave newborn princess name Red Caca(read: kaka, has nothing in common with a product of digestion though), because she was blushing anyone looked at her. She was so tender and gentle and had absolutely no stings at all. They lived in a small "Claypot" castle, small, but cosy.

Once, officer of Royal Air Force, lieutenant of Fly Squadron Di Mosca flying high in the sky, noticed young princess. And, certainly fell in love with her, right from a first glance. And she also deeply loved brave officer. They started to date. And with each date their love grew high.

Okay, let’s make story short… Once our lover Fly was send for a mission and never got back. Nobody knew what happened to daredevil. Princess Caca shedded her tears days and night, days and nights, untill she died. She knew wet kills cactuses… but even though, she would never stop.

See the little hole on the left. That’s was my Red Caca place…


1. Let’s start this lesson designing small ball-like cactus. To better understand this object structure I decided to dissect it with horizontal planes. And what I got is the 13 corners star. Using Polygon Tool(shortcut "U"), I created star with 13 sides, with sides indented by 10%.


2. Well… but it is just top projection. In order to make my cactus in a perspective view, I had to make some adjustments to star shape. I selected Bottom part of the star and scaled it down, same thing I did to Top part, but scaled a bit more, comparing to Bottom part, accordingly to the Perspective Law. In the last step of transformation, holding Ctrl/Cmnd + Alt/Opt Key, I drag handles of the Transform Tool apart. I named resulted Level "Cactus Base".

3. I duplicated "Cactus Base" Layer and renamed it to "Level 01" Layer. Moved it up and transformed it down a bit, regarding Y axis. Why? Because each upper level "dissection" or"slice" should be seen less a bit in a real world of perspective. Just a bit. Also please take note to Line in grey on a left. It is cactus Side projection and all following "dissections" should be made accordingly to this projection: wider or narrower.
4. on the corresponding picture you can see all "dissections" of cactus. Don’t forget to place each "slice" onto separate Layer. It will help you in the future.
5. And now simple, but in my view damn boring part of this project. Using Pen Tool, I created Two Paths(one for lightened, another for shadowed parts of cactus divisions), connecting corresponding points of each star level. I made New Layer called "Divisions", put "Light" Path to selction and filled selection in light-green color. Same thing I did to "Shadow" Path: also put it to selection and filled it in dark-color on the same "Divisions" Layer. Keep in mind, you don’t have to have zillions Paths for each division, these "Light" and "Shadow" Paths can be easily reusable. It is up to you…

6. Something like this you should get by the end of process of loading Paths to selection and filling them in appropriate colors.

7. Here, I applied Layer Style to my Cactus. You can see its setting on the picture below.
8. Now you will understand why I insisted to keep all horizontal "dissections" in separate Layers. Being at completed "Cactus Body" Layer, click on any "dissection" Layer holding Ctrl/Cmns key and it will load "disseceted" star shape selection. Now you free to add some more 3d taste to this object, darkening or lightening it(you can feather selection a bit, in a case of necessity).
9. Here you see how I made cactus stings.
10. I placed those stings over "Cactus Body" Layer. Multiplied and moved them in a proper positions, accordingly to cactus 3d shape.Some manual painting and tweaking was applied to complete the task.
11. Here’s shown design process of a tallest cactus. I created Pathfor one of this cactus "tentacle" and stroked Path, clicking on "Stroke Path with Brush" icon in the Path Palette. I checked "Simulate Pressure" check box in the dialog box, as shown. I devided resulted shape in half and transformed bottom part, flipping it vertically. I repeated this process 12 more times, creating 26 "tentacles" in total.
12. Another tweakings, burning and dodging, little cactus’s pimple-like stings were made hand drawn with tiny Custom Brush shape. The rest of image, i.e. pot, fround texture are so common things, I bet many of you knows how to do it probably better, than I. So, I didn’t want to wast neither mine nore your precious time, describing such obvious things…

Written by okgrafix on August 6th, 2007 with no comments.
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