Friday, 2 February 2018

How I design and make sunglasses

Have you missed me? Yeah, I've missed you too.
How about we jump right in with a post on how I design and make miniature spectacles and sunglasses?

Before I start, this post won't explain how to use Inkscape, (the design software that I use). That would take too long and there are already a huge number of in-depth video tutorials on YouTube, if you want to learn. If there are any specific questions about Inkscape, and you just can't find the answer, drop me an email and I'll try my best to help.

So I start by Googling a photograph of a pair of glasses. I save it and open it in Inkscape.


The idea is to trace the outline of the frame and lens, so that I can A) produce a vector drawing and B) manipulate each separate component of the glasses


I use the 'Bezier' tool in Inkscape to trace the shape of half the outside of the frame (shown in red). The reason I'm tracing half of it is simply this - it's damn near impossible to perfectly trace a symmetrical object. By tracing half and using a clever tool in Inkscape, you can duplicate one half, flip it horizontally and weld the two halves together.

I trace the lens of the glasses (shown in green), in the same way using the Bezier tool.
The clever feature in these types of design software programs is that it treats each component of your design as a separate object, as if the frame was drawn on one piece of paper and the lens on a second. Because of that, you can manipulate each one separately without affecting the other.
Below you can see that I have duplicated a half of the frame and one lens, flipped it horizontally and then positioned them opposite each other. This gives me a perfectly symmetrical pair of glasses. 


To join the two halves of frame together, I click on the left and right parts of the frame and press 'Union'


Now I have three separate components on the page - one frame and two lenses

Next is the tricky bit and where people tend to get confused. If I 'painted' the frame, (shown in red), Inkscape would see this as a solid object and would fill the whole area with paint. The lenses would be disregarded as if they were drawn on a separate piece of paper.


To define the lenses, I have to tell the software program that the frame has two holes in it where the lenses would be. By selecting the frame and two lenses and by clicking 'Difference', the program subtracts the shape of the lenses from the frame



Now I have the frame, I just need to add the arms.
I follow the same process above to find a photo of an arm and trace it with the bezier tool. At this point I need to ensure the size of the glasses are correct for my preferred scale. In this case - 12th scale - the frame is 12mm wide and the arms are 12mm long (the height of the frame is dependant on the style you have chosen)


I place one arm on the left of the frame, duplicated the arm, flip it horizontally and then placed the mirror image arm on the right of the frame. Once aligned, the frame and arms can be welded together with the 'Union' function


Now I have a pair of glasses.
To make sunglasses, the only difference in the process is that I need to colour the lenses. Before subtracting the lenses from the frame, I make a duplicate pair of lenses. This allows me to colour the lenses separately and add them later.

The tool I use to colour the lenses is a 'Gradient' tool


By manipulating the colour, strength and direction of the gradient, I can make it appear as if the lenses are polarised like real sunglasses. Once I'm happy with them, I align the lenses into place



From here, I save the file as a PDF and print them on inkjet printable acetate. Acetate is semi-rigid and transparent plastic. This is how I achieve the plastic frame and clear lens look for my miniature glasses. The hardest part?...cutting the teeny things out 😕


I've made a free file available for those of you who want some glasses but don't want to design your own. The link can be found HERE or in the printies tab of this blog.
Have a wonderful weekend
Pepper 😊




59 comments:

  1. Welcome back. Of course you were missed!!!
    I love the glasses I wouldn't even consider trying to make a pair. Computers hate me almost as much as paint does. I did buy a pair that might have been made in a similar way. The price I paid was shocking and they didn't even print properly!!! The ones you made are perfect!
    So nice to have you back posting. ;-)

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    1. Hi Catherine and thank you, I'm glad to see everyone again. I've seen very expensive glasses on the net, which, if they are hand cut, probably deserve the price. But my inclination is that they are laser cut and without competition, the sellers are hiking up the prices :/

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  2. These are amazing. But I won't even attempt... they look so perfect, typical you :-)

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    1. Thank you Marion, glad you like them :)

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  3. Muy chulas las gafas. Me las guardo.
    Besujis!!

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  4. So pleased to see you back.
    Love the glasses. Never heard of Inkscape until now,don't think I'll be making my own just yet.

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    1. Not many people have heard of Inkspace Elaine, which surprises me since it's free to download and there are a lot of tutorials on YouTube. Maybe I'll get you into it one day ;0)

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  5. She's backk! :D You were very missed around here, happy to see you return again! And in your usual effortless style you managed to create something so amazingly life-like look easy to do. These are too cute. Do you have plans to put them in a shop or display?
    Here's to a creative and great 2018! Lots of hugs!
    Kristine

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    1. Thank you Kristine. I will eventually sell them when I get some inventory together :0)

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  6. Welcome back! I'm so glad to 'see' you! Ooohh...tiny glasses are awesome. I had so much fun with your little Converse hightops, can't wait to try the glasses out.

    Hope you'll show us pictures of your new workspace and how you have it organized.

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    1. Thanks Keli, lovely to 'see' you too :0)

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  8. Hiiii, Pepper, of course we missed you, and I'm so glad to see you back :D!
    I love these tiny glasses, they're a wonderful result of a lot of work.
    I've never heard of Inkscape until now, one is never too old to learn, isn't it ;)!?
    Have a nice weekend. Hug, Ilona

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  9. Hello :-). These glasses are amazing! It's very interesting to read how you make them. I use Inkscape myself too, but I'm not at all an expert, so this is very useful information, thank you very much for sharing!

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  10. Quedan preciosas, pero¡vaya paciencia hay que tener!

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    1. Si los está cortando, no se atreve a respirar ni a parpadear Isabel :0D

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  11. Hi Pepper! Glad to have you back and posting again!
    Wonderful tutorial, and the applications with the program make the mind begin to twinkle. Good stuff, as always!

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    1. Ah, I hope you'll be applying your amazing skills in Inkscape in the future Jodi?? :0)

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  12. Thank you for the printie, Pepper, and welcome back!
    I use Photoshop, but I'm not nearly as adept at it as you.

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    1. You're welcome Megan. If you use photoshop, then Inkscape will be a breeze for you. Go on, you know you want to...:0P

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  13. Great work! Thanks for the tutorial.

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  14. Fabulous! Thanks for the printie. In going to look into Inkscape a bit more too. :)

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    1. You won't regret it I promise. There are so many things you can do with it - mini printies, posters, artwork...:0)

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  15. They took fabulous. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Absolutely fabulous And thank you for the instructions, not that I can do it! I have Gimp and Inkscape and never learned to use them...Heck the manual to Gimp is over 800 pages! huh? Oh well, some day I keep saying. These glasses are amazing, and yes I missed you :)

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    1. Thank you Linda. I could never learn from a manual and spent a good few weeks watching tutorials before I got it :0)

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  17. The answer is "YESSSSSS!!!" for sure - I've really missed you and I'm glad you're back. And how you're back - thanks for this fantastic explanation. The result looks awesome.

    Hugs
    Birgit

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    1. Thank you Birgit, It's lovely to 'see' you too :0)

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  18. Hi Pepper!!! You have been Missed!!! It is wonderful to see a post from you! And what a wonderful post it is! You are so good at designing these mini things in perfect scale! I need to figure out how to print onto acetate (when I get some) Those glasses look incredible!!! I hope you have been settling into your new work space... (hint hint.... pics would be nice) and I hope you have found time to make progress on your Wonderful Gothic Mansion...! Welcome Back! :)

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    1. Hey Betsy, I'm afraid the Gothic Manor has been left for months but I will get back to it :0)

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  19. Realmente fabuloso el resultado de tu trabajo.
    Un abrazo

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  20. When I saw your comment on Kristine Paperdoll Miniatures blog- I was soooo Happy!
    I know that you needed the time away after your sister's passing, and I know that there is still a hole there that can never be filled.
    Even so, you were Greatly missed while you were gone Pepper- blogland isn't the same without you, so Welcome Back! ♥

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth, I know you've had to face the same heartache. I'm so happy to 'see' everyone again :0)

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  21. Hello Pepper,
    It is wonderful to have you back! than k you for the wonderful tutorial. This is great!
    Big hug
    Giac

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    1. Thank you Giac and you are very welcome :0)

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  22. Of course I missed you! Welcome back!
    The sun glasses are fantastic. I wish I could master this technical knowledge but am too old to even try.
    Hugs, Drora

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    1. Never to old to try Drora. I bet years ago you would never have thought you would be creating miniatures, but look at you now! :0)

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  23. You've returned! Yay! :D

    I tried something similar with sunglasses before but I put the acetate in the wrong way round and the ink just sat on the surface! T.T

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    1. Ha, you don't read instructions either then Christine? It took me two attempts :0P

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  24. So glad you are back! Missed you a lot.

    The glasses are very cool. :-)

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    1. Aw thanks Granny Franny, missed you too 🙂

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  25. So glad you're back! So this is way over my head and of course I won't be trying it :), but they're so cute! I gave up on the butterfly chair for now. I actually did take pictures, but never got around to measuring. Since then I've seen a tutorial for a 1:6 scale chair made from wood that I may give a try, but I truly appreciate your willingness to help.

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    1. No bother at all sweets. Hope you get your perfect chair 🙂

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  26. So happy to see you're blogging (still/again) and the glasses look fabulous, your patience and skills are truly inspiring!

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