New Rope

It’s time for another look at lettering, and high time too, as I haven’t been able to do nearly as much as I would’ve liked this year; I wanted to fit in another Twenty-Six Spins but that doesn’t look likely, sadly. It will happen, though. When you least expect it. Consider this a warning for shoddy Photoshops and even shoddier wheel puns.

I was looking at quick, flowing forms and somehow came to ropes. I thought it might be interesting to try and model a rope in 3D. So that’s what I did. (It wasn’t that interesting, really).

Surprisingly simple it was, actually, done in a couple of minutes by sweeping a flower shape along a spline and having it rotate along. It does seem to lose something on longer forms, as you might be able to tell. It’s a bit ropey. I also wasn’t entirely sure about the texture that I made, so I went back to black and white to try and mask that as much as possible. It’s quite unusual for me to start with colour or texture then work backwards, especially with lettering; I’ve learnt over the years that the gold is always to be found in the simplest forms, and that, unsurprisingly, seems to be true of this exercise too. That’s where the hallowed Threshold filter comes in. Even the textured renders look much punchier in simple monochrome, I think.

I did attempt some knots, as you can see here with a couple of alternate forms. I’ve never been good with tying even the most basic of knots, so maybe that’s why I largely steered clear of this. They’re even harder with splines! I imagine there are plugins out there which can model such a thing with just a click.

And for all my slamming colour earlier on, I did throw a few letters into Photoshop and give them a paint job; kind of fun, I guess, but I might be saying that to the happy colours themselves rather than the letters.


Well, that ties it up for now. This experiment might knot be for everyone, but it was once again fun learning the ropes. Hopefully next year I’ll not be roped into other things, and shall be able to do a little more in this vein.

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Charlie. The knots were tough to draw with bezier curves!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I think I started to lose the thread part-way through, do I understand how you’re creating such magical images? I’m a frayed knot.

    I don’t know if you have Netflix Jacob, but if you do then there’s a series called “Abstract”, one of the recent episodes is about Jonathan Hoefler: Typeface Design. I found it quite interesting, I didn’t realise there was so much involved!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jacob said:

      Ahh, I’m glad someone here is on my mental level – no offence ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I don’t have Netflix, so this series is noose to me, Steve, but I’m now quite frequently hearing of shows on there which sound good, and this sounds like another one. It’s certainly interesting to observe the meticulous and really quite mathematical process of creating a ‘standard’ typeface. But that’s graphic design for you, I guess – much harder than it looks. Fortunately there’s little if any of that here, just fun bending bits of digital ‘rope’ ๐Ÿ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great to see some more lettering experiments. I like the main pic with blue highlights, and the knot ones are interesting – almost like barbed wire. For the coloured ones you could try and remember those colour combinations as they work so well along with the texture – they’re quite striking, as you say ‘happy colours’ as opposed to the actual letters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Glad you enjoyed it! I was really happy to just get the time to do some more. And barbed wire could be an interesting follow-up to this, I guess – probably harder to model in 3D, but surely worth a shot. Those colour combos are some of my favourites, especially the complimentary blue and orange. It totally sizzles!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your lettering experiments are awesome! I’m surprised the ropes were easy to model. They look kind of complicated. Spline magic, I guess! I like the highlights and shadows on the first coloured set and that “blue light”. The ropes pop off the screen! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks so much, Myriam! I always enjoy this stuff. I was expecting a harder time modelling the rope, too. I’m often surprised at how simple some of these things are – and even when they aren’t, someone on YouTube usually has you covered!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Barby | jaywalks

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