Adobe Illustrator, Vectors

Who Lives In A Pineapple Under The Sea?

As the father of two, Spongebob Squarepants has featured heavily in my life over the past few years. I have to confess that my morning routine includes an episode of Spongebob & co. whilst chewing through my morning muesli. I have been known to watch it at the weekend when the kids are still in bed! This is my homage.

This is not a ‘How To’ guide, just a look behind the scenes…

I had already explored using the pen tool to trace over a wallpaper image (the livetrace tool being somewhat lacking!) and decided to go for a 3D style look without keylines. I have always enjoyed seeing cartoon characters given 3D properies, like Homer Simpson in one of the Treehouse of Horror episode.

I began with the extrude and bevel tool with a fairly extreme perspective. I then mapped some ‘sponge holes’ onto the front. This took a few attempts to get right – if you are not familiar with this software, you have to make this part separately, with any active properties (blending, blur etc) and make it into a symbol before this stage can happen.

As you can see on the next image, I had applied a very slight blur to the sponge holes and this made the edges of the main form look too sharp (for a sponge!)

A two pixel blur was added to the whole form, just taking the edge off the hard vector forms:

The holes on the side were added separately after experimenting with the mapping tool. I had many problems with this as I think the surface area was too complex for the mapping tool. These are just overlayed with a multiply blend. I intended to distort them to fit the contours of the sponge but decided that it looked ok without.

Squarepants. Square. Pants. Squarepants. I used a combination of the extrude and rotate tools, as well as a couple of gradient overlay panels:

Mr. Pants legs were simply four short lines with a revolve applied…

The shoes were not so different, although made of separate pieces…

Back to the body, and then a few trials to establish how to make the arms (not as easy as the legs as they are curved). In the end I used five separate pieces for the right arm. I had spent a while trying the get the gradient tool to to work in a number of ways, but elected to use separate gradient filled shapes with a multiply blend to get the finger shapes to show. The Pathfinder tool was absolutely essential for this.

The left hand was made in a similar way as the exploded image below shows…

The sleeves were simple white shapes revolved:

So onto the face details. I drew out the eyes as concentri circles first and was going to add a radial gradient to them some depth, but then opted for a tricoloured line and a revolve:

I also added a small drop shadow to enhance the 3D effect:

The eyelshes were made in the same way, but each one had to be individually rotated…

For the cheeks I used two ellipses, each with a radial gradient fill. The orange layer on top was set to multiply in order to give it tranparency and interact with the yellow below – this gives is a gentle pink tinge.

The nose? I had to use the mesh tool here, adding highlights and shadows to the vector points around the top and bottom:

At this point it is probably worth having a look at what I have done so far…

The body parts are assembled and given some further accessories (collar & tie) and a paralellogram shadow.

And then the  face begins to emerge…

The screenshot above shows that Spongebob is really coming together – another cheek, and the all-important mouth, and then finally, a Krabby patty!

The mouth was fairly straightforward; mainly gradients, inner glows, dropshadows and the mesh tool on the upper lip…

Then it was off to the galley for some vector cooking!

Again, this was quite straightforward – lots of combined use of the 3D tools with a few overlays, gradients and drop shadows.

I struggled with the lettuce and decided to make use of the Livetrace tool for this part…

And finally, Mr. Squarepants in all his vector glory!

I need to get out more…

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8 thoughts on “Who Lives In A Pineapple Under The Sea?

  1. sponge-8.gif shows the exact process that came to my mind when I saw your pot throwing attempts in your earlier post. Straight away I thought to myself “Ooh, it’s like Effect>3D>Revolve but real, and clay”.

    Like you’ve said before, typical designer thinking in Adobe speak. Tragic really. We all need to get out more.

  2. Blimey.
    That looks more work than usual work work.
    On a sponge. With square pants.

    Brilliant thought it is…

    I’d like to see your own 3d thing, whatever it was.

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