Thursday, January 5, 2012

How to draw Reddit Alien in LaTeX using Tikz - Video tutorial and code

If you are not a Redditor you are a lucky person. It's a one way traffic scenario with no dead end. Once you subscribe to Reddit there is no way back and it is no good being there. I am expecting my colleagues to have an intervention for my Reddit addiction soon but till then I am all here to invest (read:waste) my precious time.

Since we got that out of our way, let us get back to business. Today, we are going to see how to draw a cartoon figure using LaTeX. The motivation behind this post is /r/latex on Reddit as I wanted that subreddit to have its logo drawn in LaTeX. I did not know it already was in LaTeX but it seems my work is appreciated there so I am going to contribute my 2 cents to the community.

Specifically, we will learn following things in this tutorial:

  1. How to work with Colors - defining RGB colors in LaTeX.
  2. How to use multiple layers to set order of document objects (send to back, bring forward like functionality).
  3. How to use Arcs in an effective way. 
  4. How to draw lines with multiple points 
  5. How to draw curved lines in LaTeX

Check out this video for explanation of the code. The co-ordinates might look crazy but after you go through the video it will be a cinch. Leave a comment if you have a question. The code is given below, so if you improve it please do let me know and I will post your code on here.
\tikzstyle{vrutt}=[draw=orangered, fill=orangered, circle,minimum height=0.5in, line width=5mm]
\tikzstyle{elli}=[draw, ellipse, minimum height=2.85in, text width=2.95in, text centered, line width=5mm]
\begin{pgfonlayer} {foreground}
\node [elli, fill=white] (face) {};
\node [below of=face,yshift=-4.1in, xshift=-2.0in] (base){};
\draw [line width=5mm](base) -- +(3.8in,0in);
\draw [line width=5mm] (4.3,-11.5) arc (-10:80:1.8);
\draw [line width=5mm] (-4.7,-11.5) arc (190:80:1.8);
\draw [line width=5mm](face.230) to[out=260, in=150] +(0.75in,-3.15in);
\draw [line width=5mm](face.310) to[out=280, in=30] +(-0.75in,-3.15in);
\node [vrutt, xshift=-5em, yshift=9mm] (lefteye) {};
\node [vrutt, xshift=5em, yshift=9mm] (righteye) {};
% Smile
\draw [line width=5mm] (-2.0,-1.0) to[out=320, in=220] (2.0,-1.0);
\draw[line width=5mm](-0.5,3.76) -- +(1cm, 2.5cm) -- +(3.5cm, 2cm);
\node [vrutt, fill=none, draw=black, above of=face, yshift=4.65cm, xshift=3.5cm, minimum height=0.5in] (antenna){};
\node (face.275)[yshift=-3in] (text){\Huge \textbf{\LaTeX}};
\begin{pgfonlayer} {background}
\draw [line width=4mm] (4.4,1.3) arc (-80:315:1);
\draw [line width=4mm] (-4.3,1.3) arc (-80:315:1);
\draw [line width=4mm] (3.05,-7.8) arc (-70:80:2.3);
\draw [line width=4mm] (-3.05,-7.8) arc (250:90:2.3);

The alien looks like this one:


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