Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:20 pm Post subject: A Comics Color Tutorial - Sara Turner
Having a black and white comic, I don't fully color pieces too often. Since the chance presented itself, I thought I'd show you how I color. And I'm not saying that this the right or even easiest way to do things. This is just the way I approach digital coloring.
This particular piece:
will be a future File 49 poster. Let's see how I created it!
These are the few thumbnail sketches that I did before actually attempting the piece. This was my first time trying a scene from a worm's eye view and I was a little nervous about how to appropriately distort my character's anatomy. But figuring that there is also a slight "fish-eye" look around the scene, I wasn't hung-up about perfect perspective.
My Work Area
This is where I work on my comics...my desk...my space.
First, I sketch my scene out with an automatic pencil with non-photo blue lead. Then go over the lines I want to ink with regular lead. It ends up looking like this:
Tools I Use:
Non-photo blue pencil, regular .5mm automatic pencil, stick eraser (for small areas), regular eraser, ruler, Speedball Super-Black ink, 102 crow quill nib, .35 Rapidograph and a regular Sharpie.
Now that everything is inked, I'm ready to scan and start coloring!
On to Photoshop...
I scan my piece in two sections (my scanner is small) at 850 dpi. Because this will be printed as a 2' x3' poster, i need it to be a very large file. Once in Photoshop I piece the sections together and start my cleanup.
First, I go to Image/Adjust/Brightness&Contrast and use the slider with the average adjustments shown below. (This may vary depending on your monitor and preferences.) Then, using my erase tool I will finely go around the image and clean up any stray marks, blemishes, mistakes, etc.
Once the lineart is clean, I set that layer to Multiply. This drops all the white from that layer, allowing your color (that we will be dropping in lower layers) to show through. (A side note...a lot of people assign proper names to their layers...I don't. I'm lazy like that. )
Using a layer below my line art, I start dumping "base color" into appropriate areas using the Paint Bucket tool. In the options section...make sure that "Use All Layers" is checked. That way color only goes within the lines you have designated. And I usually set my Tolerance around 75 so that it fills in all the smaller areas.
The Gradient Tool
For the hallway, ceiling and floor base colors I want to use a Gradient, to offer a more dimensional feel. A gradient lets you bleed one color into another within a given selection.
Using the Magic Wand Tool...I select all the areas of the Hallway. In the options make sure "Use All Layers" is selected and I set my Tolerance (again) around 75.
Then I slide my cursor across the area in the direction where I want my color to blend. Play around with the technique...if you're not used to it.
All my base color is now down...and we're ready to add shadow and highlights!
The Dodge Tool
On the base color layer, and using the Lasso Tool, I will select areas that I want to lighten. Setting the tolerance around 25% or so...I use the Dodge tool to create soft highlights.
I will go around the entire image selecting and manipulating color using this method and tool.
This is what the image looks like after all dodging is complete. I usually just touch on the hair...and pants to give them a worn look:
To layout shadows, I create a new layer.
Using the Lasso Tool I can essentially create shapes that I feel require shadow. This is the exact same technique as above.
I will select the color I want to shade with the Eyedropper Tool, then darken it a few notches in the Color Picker window. This color is what I will apply to my Shadow Layer.
This is an image after all shadows have been applied:
Again, using the same technique with the Lasso Tool, and again creating a new layer...I create my highlight areas. These I make yellow to reflect the color of my lighting. I also set the Opacity of the highlight layer to around 85% to let the color underneath show through a bit.
Here's Truely after Dodging, Shadows and Highlights:
And the entire scene after the steps:
Now all I have to do is add some logos and some lighting effects!
In another new layer (Yeah, I know...I put everything in its own layer) I create my lighting. I want this layer to be placed above my line art to make it appear as if the light is blinding the area. I set the layer at Hardlight so my lines do show through.
My logo was created in Adobe Illustrator as a vector file. Exported as a bitmap into Photoshop, I drag and drop it into my image and size it to fit the area.
For an extra lighting effect, I created another light burst in a layer above the logo and lightly erased the burst around the text.
I added the Make Like A Tree Comics Logo the exact same way. It was originally an Illustrator file exported as a very high-res (750 dpi) bitmap...then re-sized in photoshop.
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