Space Ships

Texturing

The next step in the creation process is the shading. Let’s start giving the silhouette some volume, defining the layers of the ship (which parts are on top of others, which ones cast shadows, which ones get light, etc.).

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2Dgameartguru spaceship design

Let’s pick an interesting design that shows some potential as a unique design.

By colouring the shapes and assigning a stroke we can see the shapes more clearly.

Before starting to shade, let’s add the cockpit with some rounded rectangles.

In order to speed things up, focus on one side.
Let’s delete one half.

Starting with the wing, add a base colour that will carry through the design of the ship.

Duplicate the wing parts and scale them down by moving the nodes inward.

2Dgameartguru spaceship design
2Dgameartguru spaceship design

Select the smaller and larger wing shape and use the interpolate extension to create the shading.

(Extension/ Generate from Path/ Interpolate)
The higher the step count the smoother the ‘gradient’.

When setting the step count, keep the size of the object in mind – too many steps make it overly complex.

By ticking the ‘Duplicate endpaths’ you keep the original shapes and get a group of shapes on top.

Interpolating the style will allow the colour and the strokes to change between the shapes.

The live preview will show the result even before you click on apply.

2Dgameartguru spaceship design

Interpolate Extension

Note:
The interpolate extension is sensitive to the selection of the objects. The first selected images will be below the second image. 
 
It’s a very helpful extension and if you have not used it in the past, this is a good time to start playing with it.
For the best possible results keep use a duplicate of the shape as your target shape and alter the nodes (without adding new ones or deleting nodes). As long as the two shapes are that similar the interpolate works great.
 
Note:
If the interpolation starts to go ’round’ and ‘curves’ the lines, make sure you set the interpolation method to 1 in the interpolate popup.

You can also go wild by interpolating totally different shapes for some rather interesting results.

The more complex your shapes are the more chaotic the interpolation will turn out. Play with the extension and see what happens.

Let’s head back to our space ship design (before I get off track completely and start writing about something different altogether).

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2Dgameartguru spaceship design

Using the circle tool and the straight line tool add some decoration on the wing.

Colour the stroke and fill in a shade darker than the wing and create a duplicate in a lighter colour that is set off a little to create some depth. Move the nodes in to stay within the wing’s main shape.

Create a rectangle and some duplicates as deco-ration on the wing. Adjust colour and opacity.

Group the wing and place it back on the ship.
One element done – a few more to go….

Repeating the same action with the other shapes to give them some volume.

2Dgameartguru spaceship design
2Dgameartguru spaceship design

Elements that are further down are shaded darker to give the design depth and contrast.

Adding more steps to larger shapes like the base and the glass cover of the cockpits ensures smoothness.

Leaving the base a little darker allows highlights to show up better once added.

Moving the highlights to the very top of the shape and adding 3 rectangles for more highlights.

2Dgameartguru spaceship design

Building an asset library

Creating these assets keep in mind that you can reuse elements that look good for other ships later on. I like to keep those elements in a separate document or a designated area on the page for easy ‘copying and pasting’.

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2Dgameartguru spaceship design

Three more rectangles behind the cockpit will add some decoration.

Shaded rectangles bring some more detail to the shape.

Duplication the rounded rectangle of the frame the rectangle of the decorative element.

Coloured black with 50% opacity they create shadows to give those elements depth.

A rounded rectangle in the centre of the cockpit adds light to the shape.

Two duplicates shapes, squeezed to slimmer lines and bend inwards at the top create additional lights.

2Dgameartguru spaceship design
2Dgameartguru spaceship design

Add circles at the top and bottom of the blue shape and rectangles on the decor element for more highlights.

Using the straight line tool create some narrow pattern for the sides.

Duplicate the frame of the cockpit twice and offset one shape. Via path/ difference cut them into a sickle shape.

Shade the top shape lighter and the bottom shape darker.

Three rectangles with a gradient shading add more decoration and tie the cockpit block to the wing.

2Dgameartguru spaceship design
2Dgameartguru spaceship design

Group the cockpit element und bring it back into place with the other shapes.

For a quick preview copy the ship’s shape and mirror them.

Building an asset library

Creating these assets keep in mind that you can reuse elements that look good for other ships later on. I like to keep those elements in a separate document or a designated area on the page for easy ‘copying and pasting’.

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It’s time for a little fast forward as it’s getting late and the next steps are pretty much repetitions of the work on the cockpit.
I added a lot more transparent rectangles (with plain or gradient opacity) to add more highlight and shadow.

2Dgameartguru spaceship design2Dgameartguru spaceship design
Assembled back into the starting shape it will look something like this but there are lots of other variations possible with just those 6 shapes.
 Now it’s up to you to fire up Inkscape, copy, interpolate, shade, break, design and have fun!
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