Digital COLORING (Photoshop & Painter TIPS)

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Digital COLORING (Photoshop & Painter TIPS)

Postby Demongg » Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:52 am

I thought this would be a neat subject as a "Fan Resource" since many of us either DO or would LIKE to play around with making images for our games...

Photoshop is one of the neatest tools for cleaning and coloring inked artwork. I'm a pretty high-level Photoshop user and pro-designer (having illustrated and designed all the original HeroClix line from WizKids as well as a few images in FC2)... BUT I'm still teaching myself tips and tricks! I'm not a master comic colorist (yet) so I thought this thread could be a great learning and teaching tool for folks that are interested like myself.

Feel free to post ideas, questions, links to tuturials, images to talk about, etc ... etc...

If I can help answer a question I will. Perhaps others can do the same! I know we have at least THREE amazing artists that frequent the Atomic Think Tank (Storn, Mancer, and DMac) so perhaps they or others may offer ideas on their styles...


So any thoughts??
-kev-

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Postby Demongg » Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:56 am

THIS is a reply I sent the other day that got this ball rolling.
It's originally from Mancerbear's AWESOME art thread over at:
http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopi ... sc&start=0
If you haven't seen his work, go check it out NOW!



mancerbear wrote:Actually Newbie, it makes no difference in the colouring how complex the inking is. Jim Lees work would be as eask to clour as mine becuase of the layers that I use.

Cheers,



I bet Newbie has never seen a colored comic piece WITHOUT the ink lines. Mancer do you have one of your more complex characters in layers to throw up a jpeg of all the layers except the line art?

That might show him what you're talking about a little better. At least that's what I'm assuming...

What he means by his work (or other comic colorists work) being in layers is that one of the first best things to do with nice inks is to make them a seperate layer in photoshop - one with ONLY the ink lines so that it lays over anything behind it... That way all you have to do is color on a layer beneath it - OUTSIDE the lines and everything! and the black ink lines cover up anything outside the lines making it look really clean.

Here's a V&V Jeff Dee piece I was practicing with... I'm NOWHERE near Mancer and other colorists, but I'm teaching myself. I also haven't yet added in much shading or effects on this character. (any suggestions Mancer??)


Here's the image with it's line art and without for comparison... As you can see the non-line art one on the right looks like a sloppy kids art project, but layering on the art makes it look better...
Image



PS. Hope it's cool me posting tutorial type art in your thread Mancer. I'll remove it if you want...


PSS. Hey Mancer, I meant to ask... What's the fastest way you use to clean up your line art making it its own seperate layer? Do you multiply it? Or something else?
-kev-



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Postby Demongg » Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:31 am

One last reply post from Mancer's thread...
But I continue the thought.......



Newbie_GM wrote:WOW!!... everything is clear now Demongg, I had never seen a color piece without the inking.

So all I have to do is learn how to work with separate layers right?, then is only colouring.

so how about highlights and shadings??, do you use separate layers for those as well??

Greets!!



I thought that might help. I'm teaching myself (for now) but it's folks like Mancer that have been AWESOME giving tips and ideas on how he makes HIS that have helped me quite a bit.

Honestly - the first time I saw some of those colors without inks on them, I think it was from a print in a POWERS comic trade paperback with Mike Oeming talking about it... At first I thought "WOW that's an interesting new comic art style!?" before realizing he was showing what I just showed you... as a behind the scenes type thing.


As for layers - are you working with Photoshop?
I'm pretty high-end with Photoshop (although I'm new to comic coloring) so I know it pretty well... I know alot of comic colorists prefer to use Painter at times because of the different effects. For example I've heard that Painter's color quality makes organic objects look more natural, whereas Photoshop excels at hard materials like metals and such. I don't know if that's true though - I haven't used Painter as much.

Anyway... Layers. If you're familiar with Photoshop - layers will be an easy SUPER aid to your work. Open the Layers palet in Photoshop (view / layers) when you open a new photoshop file it usually starts with a "Background" layer. In the layer palet at the top right there's a small arrow-drop-down... Get familiar with the items on this arrow. You'll get alot of great use from them.

I love the "Duplicate Layer" myself. I tend to duplicate the layer I want to work on BEFORE making any modifications to it. The HISTORY palette (also a GREAT tool) is useful for going back but sometimes you just NEED that original along with the work you've just done.

Play around with the layers.
One fun trick I tend to do alot is to duplicate the layer of the image I'm working on and DELETE anything I don't want to effect... For example. Maybe I want to ISOLATE "Armada's" head (that's the villain up in this thread) or what if I want to isolate his cape?
I duplicate the entire original layer then highlight everything BUT the head (or cape) and delete it. Now I have a layer that ONLY has the Head (or cape) on it. Now I can use that layer to move it around on the figure, change Hue, Saturation, Contract, etc... and ONLY the selected area on that layer changes.

Crap... I suck at explanations... A picture's work a million words. So here goes...

This is a quick break-down of my SIMPLE layers. Remember I'm still learning and this is a new trial, no shading or anything's been added... I'm hoping with some suggestions I will contine this pic along in this tread. :)

So you can see the individial layers I'm currently working with. The top layer (layer #1) are only for the inks. I currently make this layer which is actually just a cleaned up scan of the art that is full black and white. Meaning it IS NOT just the black inks... I chose the "MULTIPLY" option on this layer (located at the top left of the layer palette) which basically makes all the non-black lines overlay ontop of anything beneath it, making the WHITE areas of the picture (anything NOT black in this case) ttranslucent.
This layer lays on top of all the others, which as you can see are seperate. SO I can easily take the layer that is the CAPE and change it's color, contrast, etc... without effecting ANY of the other layers/colors...

I do the same sometimes if I want to turn or move things on my original artwork. For example. If I wanted to tilt Armada's head so that he's looking down at the ground... Or maybe raise one of his arms. I can select just that area make it it's own layer and move it as I like...

Image



any thoughts or questions?
I'm not going in any order, rhyme or reason here...

Once Mancer or another power colorist jumps in on this thread I'll ask some questions of my own... :)
-kev-



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Postby Silverback » Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:07 am

For links to tutorials there's a comprehensive thread I started some time ago entitled Digital Artwork Tutorials which should prove of interest.

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Postby Tipop » Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:23 pm

I've done a lot of digital painting before, mostly for Talislanta books. Here are some samples:

http://tipop.net/art.html

http://tipop.net/rpgs/mr/art.html

On the second one there, be sure to click on the "Click to see full size" links under each picture, so you can see the before and after versions.

I'm more than willing to help out if anyone has any questions.
Image
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Postby Demongg » Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:30 pm

Tipop wrote:I've done a lot of digital painting before, mostly for Talislanta books. Here are some samples:

On the second one there, be sure to click on the "Click to see full size" links under each picture, so you can see the before and after versions.

I'm more than willing to help out if anyone has any questions.



If you have one of those in the original photoshop file, why don't you take it in layers and describe how you did it start to finish?

I'd dig that!
-kev-



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Postby Tipop » Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:43 pm

I'll check and see which ones I still have in the original. A lot of those were lost in the famous Hard Drive Failure of 2002.
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Postby Tipop » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:28 pm

Well, I found the layered version of the Brood picture:
Image

However, it's nearly 40 layers deep (over a fourth of those layers JUSt for his leather skirt!) So I don't think I want to go through a step-by-step on each bit. Which area would you like me to cover?
Image

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Postby ART! » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:47 am

Demongg wrote:This layer lays on top of all the others, which as you can see are seperate. SO I can easily take the layer that is the CAPE and change it's color, contrast, etc... without effecting ANY of the other layers/colors...

I do the same sometimes if I want to turn or move things on my original artwork. For example. If I wanted to tilt Armada's head so that he's looking down at the ground... Or maybe raise one of his arms. I can select just that area make it it's own layer and move it as I like...


I simply have a "Flats" layer, which which would be all these individual layers as one layer. The Magic Wand Tool let's you select just that area, and then you go to your "coloring" layer to lay in shading and effects.

generally, my layers are, in order of top-most to bottom-most

FX (special effects, glowing lights, etc)
Color Holds (changing black line art to some other color, as a separate layer so you still have the line art layer there so you can select it)
Line art (the black line art, set to Multiply)
Trapping (a printing thing, to get black blacks)
Highlights
Shadows
(I often don't have these last two as separate layers, or they get merged into the coloring layer at some point. I often just do all the shading in the Coloring layer)
Coloring
Flats (the coloring layer starts out as a copy of this layer, which is just flat, unshaded colors, enabling you to select any area)
Large area flats (for larger images or complicated images, so you can select the whole background, or all the foreground figures but not the background figures, etc.)

a lot of colorists use Channels, but I find them annoying.
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Postby Tipop » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:54 am

I'm currently working on a Photoshop tutorial for the Brood picture above. It's only about one-third finished, but here it is:
www.tipop.net/art/tutorial
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Postby Tipop » Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:29 pm

Ok, the tutorial is pretty much finished, barring any updates or revisions down the road. Let me know what you guys think.
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Postby Tipop » Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:49 am

Anyone have a comment/criticism on the tutorial? I spent a lot of time on it to help folks.
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Postby bblackmoor » Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:10 pm

Tipop wrote:Anyone have a comment/criticism on the tutorial? I spent a lot of time on it to help folks.


It's a good tutorial for people who are already somewhat familiar with Photoshop. I personally would have made some different choices, artistically, but that's a different matter. :)
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Postby Tipop » Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:45 am

Well, I was originally thinking of doing a whole series of these tutorials, like I did on the old EverQuest Beastlords forums, but there doesn't seem to be much interest here.
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Postby Silverback » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:01 pm

Tipop wrote:Well, I was originally thinking of doing a whole series of these tutorials, like I did on the old EverQuest Beastlords forums, but there doesn't seem to be much interest here.

You may want to add a link into the thread I specifically started covering digital tutorials (see my post above). There was a fair bit of interest in the links I posted there so maybe some people would be more likely to pick up your tutorial from that thread?


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