Being able to create custom shapes is one of the basic skills to master when using Pixelmator.
We showed you previously how you can:
- Create and Share Your Own Custom Shapes
- Create and Edit Shapes (the basics)
- Use shapes to Create Retro Posters
- Use shapes to recreate the awesome WWDC14 poster
- Create some awesome Custom Christmas Ball Shapes (exclusive tutorial)
In this tutorial, we show you how to create a classic icon – the Lego Man shape. By the end of this tutorial, you will have created the shape in Pixelmator and be able to export and share it.
So let’s get started.
Create a new document 480 x 640 (or whatever size you want to work with). Just remember the size of the shape you create here will be what you save and export to PXS later on in the tutorial.
For the majority of this tutorial we will be working with individual shapes each on their own layer until the final steps where we merge them into a single shape.
Next add in a slightly smaller square above the current square to create the torso of our Lego Man. You can use the automatic alignment tools in Pixelmator to centre the two shapes.
Right-click on the torso square, and choose Make Editable. This will enable the shape handles, which you can use to edit the shapes.
Once the handles of the square are shown, select the top left handle, and move it closer to the middle, and do the same with the top right handle. This should give you an angled edge to the top of the square shape i.e. you’ve just created a trapezium/trapezoid shape.
Let’s create the head of our Lego Man. Select the rounded rectangle shape in the tools panel, and create a shape just above the torso of the Lego Man. Notice we’ve left a small gap between the legs, torso, and the head – this is important to give the shape some depth.
The iconic Lego Man shape has sort of a square head. In order to create this, add in a rectangle that is taller than the rounded rectangle you just created, but smaller in width.
Again use the automatic guides in Pixelmator to align the shapes to the centre.
Great, now lets give our Lego Man some arms. Lets create the left arm first. Use the rounded rectangle tool, but create a small long rectangle roughly the size of the torso.
Rotate the arm by 45 degrees. You can do this by right-clicking the shape and choosing Free Transform (or pressing CMD+F). This will enable the transformation handles. Once you go outside of the handles, you’ll notice that the mouse cursor changes to a rotation icon, and you can now rotate the shape. Holding down CTRL will rotate the shape in increments.
Once you’ve rotated the arm, adjust the position of the arm to meet the torso.
You can repeat what you did above, or to simplify this, just copy (CMD+C) and paste (CMD+V) the shape you just created into a new layer, and flip it horizontally.
Lego Man wouldn’t be the same without the classic circular hands. To do this, create a small circle for the left hand.
Duplicate the circle into a new layer, and align it under the other arm.
Our Lego Man is really coming along now and you can see the shape forming.
Next let’s go back to the square that make up the legs. We need to show two legs and toes in our Lego Man shape. To do this we are going to merge and subtract shapes to achieve this effect.
First lets create the gap between the legs. Add a narrow vertical rectangle where the gap between the legs should be.
Once you are happy with the size and aligned it to the centre of the square, cut this shape (CMD+x), then select and right-click on the square shape, choose Make Editable. Once the shape handles are displayed on the square, paste back the rectangle (CMD+v). This action merges the two shapes, however we want to subtract the small rectangle from the larger square, this can be done by setting the Mode to subtract (at the top of the window in-between shadow and styles options). Make sure you’ve selected the small rectangle first before changing the mode.
To create the toes or more correctly subtract from the square to create the toes, we add in a thin horizontal rectangle shape.
Align it roughly as shown, and repeat the cut and paste process we did earlier.
Great, now our Lego Man is getting more detailed.
The iconic hands need to be hollowed out. Again we will use the shape subtract technique to achieve this effect. First create a smaller circle and align it to the centre of the existing circle.
Next use the cut and paste technique to merge the two circles together. Now set the mode of the inner circle to Subtract (like we showed you earlier).
Repeat the same process for the other hand.
We still need to subtract a small part of the hollow circles to make the iconic Lego Man hand shapes. For this we’ll add in a rectangle shape and align it to the bottom of the hand (where we want to subtract).
Using the same process as earlier, we merge and subtract the rectangle into the hand. You can adjust the position of the rectangle to change the area of the circle we want subtracted.
Our final design tweak is to the head of the Lego Man. Rather than a completely square head we want to give our Lego Man a slightly circular head. Select the rectangle that creates the top of the head, then right-click and choose Make Editable to expose the shape handles. Let’s add a point (right-click and choose add point) to the centre of the top of the rectangle as shown below.
Excellent, now our shape has really come to life.
Once you are happy with all the details in the shape, we will now merge the different layers together. Your layers should look something like the below.
Now select each shape, starting at the top, and use the cut and paste method to merge the shape on each layer together. For this stage you don’t need to change the Mode as it is defaulted to add shapes together. Once you merged all the layers together, you layers panel should look like the below.
If you want to be able to reuse this shape, open the Shapes panel (Select View in the menu, and then Show Shapes). Ensure that you have selected the Lego Man shape in your canvas, then use the gear icon in the Shapes panel to add the shape to the panel.
You now have this shape accessible to you in your Shapes panel as long as you need it.
If you want to export the shape into the PXS format so that you can share it with others (such as our Store or Pixelmator Shapes), then all you need to do is select the shape in the shapes panel and drag it directly to your desktop or a folder. It’s that simple.
The shape is editable like all other shapes and you can change the colour and size as you want to and really get creative.
If you have made it to this point, then congratulations, you have now created the iconic Lego Man shape using Pixelmator, added it to your shapes window, and converted it into the sharable PXS format.
Don’t worry if you haven’t, practice makes perfect, but for now you can always cheat and download the shape we made earlier.