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shorescores
07-19-2003, 04:45 AM
Hello to all,

This is my first post - and I am hoping that the great minds and artists I have seen inside the halls of penciljack might be able to assist me. Forgive the verbose post, but some detailed background might help you to understand what I have researched, attempted and where I fall short:

I scoured the web to help me with my pathetic pencil sketches, which I wanted to digitize. Tutorials at www.polykarbon.com really got me going. Then I stumbled across the work of Brian Bolland (www.brianbolland.com) - and his stuff completely blew my mind... He has some very in-depth step-by-steps on inking and a bit (but not enough!) on coloring in Photoshop.

I am looking for some real detailed pointers on colorizing line art in Photoshop, using a Wacom tablet. I have studied and mimicked the tutorials at Polykarbon and have visited sites like: http://www.comiccolors.com/ - (I seem to only find really old tutorials here). Still, these aren't going in-depth enough to the subtleties (and secrets) that I am looking for.

Let's assume that I already have clean pencil art scanned into Photoshop at, at least 300 DPI/ My levels help me clean up the smudges - I have gotten my art into its own transparent layer and filled it with black. I have created a flats channel to easily select any part of my drawing I may want to color. I then use the pencil tool (as this is what Brian Bolland suggests) and on a new layer, begin the trying process of attempting to ink my sketch. Now I want to colorize it. I am using all the proper brush settings (I think) and once I have filled my desired selection(s) with cool comic kind of solid colors, I create a new layer above each area and attempt to refine and make the colors really have a lot of values and look "comic like."

This is where I lose it. I have used gradients (per polykarbon), I have tried using normal, screen, and multiply modes to my layers, but still I either get visible brush strokes in areas I am trying to shadow, or highlight, or I just can't mimmick the clean color transitions (i.e. light blue, medium blue, to dark blue) that so many of you seem to have mastered.

If say, I am attempting to colorize my action hero's chest - I have tried using a variety of brushes, a variety of opacity settings, and a variety of layer modes, with airbrush turned on/off. But how to achieve that look I am going for?

Can anyone suggest real specific methods, techniques and settings? - i.e. "I use a 12 pixel round brush, with airbrush turned on at an opacity of 22, the layer setting is normal. I then create a new layer for the highlights and use this kind of layer mode and this kind of brush..." Or any information, tips, tricks would be appreciated.

Thanks so much for reading through this - and thanks in advance for any help you may have.

- shore scores

Dash Martin
07-19-2003, 05:20 AM
Well...the flats should be the shadows. Just use the soft airbrush (not the hard airbrush) set to Screen and color your highlights on a Normal layer with the flats under it. Here's an example:

http://dash.serveftp.com/wip2.jpg (Linked to save on bandwidth) (http://dash.serveftp.com/wip2.jpg)

Notice the last panel hasn't been rendered yet. dark colors. You can see those dark colors in the shadows of the rendered parts of the page. Hope this helps.



BTW...I can almost guarantee this thread will be moved to Tips and Tech since you didn't post any finished color artwork. Just so you're prepared.

shorescores
07-19-2003, 05:49 AM
Methane,

Thanks for the response - and very nice artwork! I didn't realize I kind of blew the "threadiquette" by not posting colorized artwork, sorry... Uhh, now I am feeling even lamer - where do I click etc to include a cruddy little sample for you to look at?

So, the way I learned to generate a "Flats" layer was by creating distinctly different colors for the areas I might want to colorize differently. Like, so I could easily use the magic wand tool and select just the face, and give it fleshtones, select the hair and color & highlight only it, etc...

I am not quite sure what you mean by: "the flats should be the shadows."??

I have used Screen layer mode a lot, but do you use multiply, color burn, or just select a darker tint of the selected color to add darker shadow effects to a targeted area?

Your stuff is nice. Give me more, if you don't mind. In the first panoramic panel, I really like those violet tones going into that orange, clay, goldish color around the horse. How did you do that, if you don't mind?

- shorescores

Dash Martin
07-19-2003, 06:08 AM
Just as it sounds...the flat colors are the shadows. They're used for more than just selecting sections of the picture. I usually change the flat color by a few shades when there are parts that are the same color but touch eachother.

Just use the airbrush set to Screen and put the highlights over those dark flats on a seperate layer set to Normal. You see the flats in the last panel? That's the actual flats layer. See how the colors are dark? That's because they'll be your shadows when the highlights are done. You don't have to go back in and put shadows in. Give it a try. You'll see what I mean instantly. As for what colors I use for highlights...in this particular page I either used a lighter version of the flat color or I used a highlight color like orange or yellow over the flat color. Example: the flats for the smoke are purple...which you should be able to see pretty clearly...and I used the Chalk brush set to Screen with Orange selected and colored in the highlights.

I'm not sure how I can explain it any simpler so hope this helped you out.

P.S. Directions on how to post artwork is in a sticky-thread either at the top of this forum or/and the top of the Drawing Table forum.

shorescores
07-19-2003, 03:07 PM
Methane,

Thanks for your help. I'll give it a whack!

- shorescores

WarLocKsS
07-19-2003, 04:05 PM
My advice would be not to look for any tutorial .

The best thing you can do is learn everything by yourself .

Artist dont start as super pro in every aspect . You have to learn ways to do thing , and with time you just discover new way to do certains things better , and so on .

If you wonder how do do something specific , just look around you . Everything is there . ;)

WarLocKsS

shorescores
07-19-2003, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the reply, WarLocKsS.

Yea, believe me, my little pencil work is very.... unrefined (lacks great anatomical detail, lighting etc), and I know it is a long process to get any good at any thing in life. I am having fun with it, and not expecting miracles.

I posted my thread because I have been attempting to colorize my own line art in Photoshop - night after night, but no matter what I try (and I have tried several approaches), it is just not looking like comic book colorization. I have brush strokes that are visible, or if the opacity is turned down with a soft brush, I still get visible gradiations in colors, as opposed to smoother color transitions.

For example, I have seen some of Inkthinker's work (he seems to post all the time) - and he very much gets the look I am aspiring to...

shorescores

Ninjai
07-19-2003, 06:13 PM
I disagree with Warlocks. Tutorials are important because it gives you an idea of different perspectives and approaches to doing the same thing. By no means am I saying copy everyone's technique and create multiple clones, but even Mozart took cues from those that went before him. Use tutorials as a point of reference and a way to learn mistakes so that you're not making the same mistakes.

However, no tutorials will make you a great artist. The best way is to get the know-how. Take art classes, actually paint and draw and look at real life objects to figure out how they interact with light, etc. Coloring especially takes a lot of knowledge about how light works and how objects interact with light. In coloring it's a lot of mental work as it is physical work.

Ramsar
07-19-2003, 06:31 PM
About what WarLocksS said: I think he meant to say what I would say as well. Tutorials are not the same thing as looking at other poeple's work to see what they do. Tutorials always show how exactly to do it. Of course there are exceptions and when you don't have any idea of how to achieve a certain effect, of course you can go look it up somewhere or ask other artists. But if you see an effect in an image you like, it will help you improve your overall skills more if you find out how you can achieve the same effect by trial and error instead of just copying the artist's technique blindly. This way you actually think about what you are doing. It makes it much easier to develop new techniques and methods that are best or easiest for you.
This way of learning also just makes you practice more because you spend more time on the pic, which is what actually improves your skills: spending time exploring possibilities and trying them out.

Ramsar

WarLocKsS
07-19-2003, 07:29 PM
Originally posted by Ramsar
About what WarLocksS said: I think he meant to say what I would say as well. Tutorials are not the same thing as looking at other poeple's work to see what they do. Tutorials always show how exactly to do it. Of course there are exceptions and when you don't have any idea of how to achieve a certain effect, of course you can go look it up somewhere or ask other artists. But if you see an effect in an image you like, it will help you improve your overall skills more if you find out how you can achieve the same effect by trial and error instead of just copying the artist's technique blindly. This way you actually think about what you are doing. It makes it much easier to develop new techniques and methods that are best or easiest for you.
This way of learning also just makes you practice more because you spend more time on the pic, which is what actually improves your skills: spending time exploring possibilities and trying them out.

Ramsar




Exactly .

WarLocKsS

Baloodoo Bill
07-21-2003, 07:35 PM
Originally posted by shorescores [B the way I learned to generate a "Flats" layer was by creating distinctly different colors for the areas I might want to colorize differently. Like, so I could easily use the magic wand tool and select just the face, and give it fleshtones, select the hair and color & highlight only it, etc [/B]

You're use of "Flats" is correct except it's a Channel not a Layer. Flats should be colored using the Pencil or Lasso set at 0 feather NO anti-ailias. Copy and paste into a channel (reducing Flats to Grayscale). When selecting from Flats use the Wand set at 0 tolerance. Flats have NOTHING to do with shadows and any shadows you have should NOT be on the Flat channel. Shadows go on the Background Layer. Shadows on the Flats defeat the purpose for which it's intended.

For molding or shading your forms, leave the Layers Overlay Mode set at Normal. Use the lasso tool to select an area, let's say the drop shadow under the nose. Choose your shadow color and use the gradient tool set to "Foreground to Transparent" Click at the top of the selection and drag down until you're just outside the selection and release. If you're modeling the rib cage you'd drag at approx 45 degrees down and out from the armpit so the form gets darker at the edges and darkest at the armpit. If you use Airbrush, use a brush size larger than your selection to avoid strokes.

You'll save massive amounts of time if you keep your image to ONE layer only with Line Art and Flats as channels 5 & 6 (assuming your working CMYK as channels 0-4) With Command Z, Erase to Saved, Save As, and the History Palette any mistakes made to your one layer are easily corrected. Multiple Layers will chew up massive amounts of Ram, Disk Space and Time to no appreciable advantage.

Dash Martin
07-21-2003, 09:27 PM
Originally posted by Baloodoo Bill
Flats have NOTHING to do with shadows...

That really depends on the coloring technique actually. As you can see in the image I posted earlier, the Flats layer(yes, I use them as a layer) also serves the purpose of being the dark parts of the colors which is where the shadows are. Obviously there's more than one way to color...and I was illustrating one of those ways.

Aaron Hubrich
07-22-2003, 05:06 PM
Shorescores-

Could you post some work so we have an idea of where your at? It sounds as if you have a basic grasp of what to do, but I think you may be "over thinking" it a bit.

It almost seems as if you want to get an "airbrush" look. I personally like to do this style in layers myself. Channels are cool, but serve a better purpose for production style work you see all the time in comics.

If you are doing personal stuff and aren't really working with a team, try layers. Computers now a days don't bog down as much so you'll be fine.

-Aaron

Xirus
01-20-2004, 07:36 PM
Originally posted by shorescores
This is where I lose it. I have used gradients (per polykarbon), I have tried using normal, screen, and multiply modes to my layers, but still I either get visible brush strokes in areas I am trying to shadow, or highlight, or I just can't mimmick the clean color transitions (i.e. light blue, medium blue, to dark blue) that so many of you seem to have mastered.

If say, I am attempting to colorize my action hero's chest - I have tried using a variety of brushes, a variety of opacity settings, and a variety of layer modes, with airbrush turned on/off. But how to achieve that look I am going for?

Can anyone suggest real specific methods, techniques and settings?

Photoshop just has those visible brush strokes because of brush spacing. I suggest you get painter 8 (or test the demo). Drop all those multiply and screen layers and just paint your colors by picking them one by one. Try the digital water brushes in painter, they're probably what you're looking for. With a little bit of pressure on the wacom it's easy to make nice smooth color transitions. Once you're done with painter just load up the psd into photoshop for some tweaking. This is how I do it, works great.