|Final Fantasy World -- Tutorials -- How to Colour in Photoshop by FFFreak
Hi, I'm FFFreak and in this Tutorial I'll be demonstrating how to colour
in line art using Adobe Photoshop CS Version 8 in four simple stages.
You can probably use a similar or previous version to do the same job,
but all the tools and shortcuts will be from Photoshop Version 8.
Which means that you need to pick fairly light colours for your base layer. If they don't look right, try picking another colour, if it doesn't work you can go over the area later and fix the problem.
Although Multiply can help a lot for making the lines more transparent, it has the unfortunate side effect of darkening the colours if you have lots of shading in the original drawing. However, shading can definitely make a difference to the finished result of a picture, while I will demonstrate later on.
So you can either have black lines and no shading set to Multiply and duplicated two or three times for dark lines and hassle free colouring, however you'll have to pay extra attention to your 'Smudging' which I will explain later, this technique is best for simple Anime or cartoon drawings.
But having black lines with shading set to Multiply, duplicated once with the Opacity lowered on the second copy makes it harder to pick the right colours but easier to 'Smudge' it later on and there is a very big difference. You'll see later. This technique is better for pictures that you want to give a more realistic feel.
Ok, now that I've discussed the Multiply feature thoroughly, I'll move on to the finished result of the Base Colour. You should now have a layer underneath your art, covering every area that you want coloured, filled with all your base colours.
Here's my result.
That's the base colours by themselves.
This is the lines with the base colours underneath, notice the effect the shading is having already?
Stage Four - Smudging, Shadows and Highlights
Now that we have our lines and our base colours, it's time for the fun part.
Make a new layer above the base colours but below the artwork. Open your pallette or image that you're using for a colour source and let's start with the hair.
I prefer working from Dark to Light, so I pick a dark hair colour first, select the Brush Tool and pick a size 5 brush from the Basic Brushes set and begin painting the colour onto the darker areas of hair.
You can use the Polygonal Lasso Tool and Paint Bucket Tool combination to put the colour in like on the Base Colour layer, but the Brush Tool can be a lot easier.
So you just keep selecting different colours and build up layers of colour with the Brush. Of course, it will look very messy at first with splashes of colour mixed everywhere like this.
Very scruffy. So what you want to do, is after you have all the colours you want on the layer above your base colours for the section you're doing, pick up the 'Smudge' Tool, set it to Strength 40 and simply smudge the colours together.
It's that easy!
So, using the Smudge Tool to neaten the rough edges, (you can also use the Blur Tool now and again set to Strength 9 to help tidy up areas) you'll gradually smooth the colours out.
This is why you need a steady hand. For the hair, you will want to smooth along the direction of the hair, and not just in any old fashion. For more blurred areas, like skin, a circular Smudging motion helps a lot. Sometimes you might over smudge areas though, in which case you can re-apply your colours or you can use the Sharpen Tool set to around 20 Strength to carefully pick out the sharper highlights. You'll need to re-Smudge afterwards though.
This is what your Smudging efforts should look like.
Ok, so that was was how to apply the shadows and highlights to your drawing, but actually deciding on the shade of colour and where to put it can be tricky, remember for this one colours will appear darker due to the Multiply lines, but the shading helps cover up bad Smudging.
For starters you need a permanent light source. This will be where the light will shine down on the art and help you decide where to put shadows.
Now, hair is very reflective, so you want lots of dark areas and highlights. For this piece I tried to pick out individual strands here and there instead of doing big blocks of colour.
Skin is usually very smooth and doesn't have very harsh shadows. Clothes look good with folds and creases and plenty of shadows and not so many highlights to make it more authentic.
Metal can be quite tricky as it has many shadows and loads of highlights in unusual places, so you need to figure out yourself how it will look and, (remembering where your light source is) where the highlights will go.
Orbs, Spheres, or small beads in this case have a dark center with a slightly lighter outer rim and a nice circle of white in the direction of your light source for a reflection.
Eyes are done quite similar to Spheres, although there are no eyes that need colouring in this drawing, I'll do a short section on it anyway. For eyes you want a nice dark shade for the top part of the iris and the center of it. The pupil can just be black. Then you want a mid-shade for the bottom half of the iris. The first highlight, which is usually the biggest and brightest goes in the direction of the light source and usually covers part of the iris and part of the white of the eye. Then you have a slightly darker highlight for the bottom rim of the iris. For the whites of the eyes you want it fairly bright in the middle with a darker grey towards the edge where the eye lashes are. As for the eye lashes themselves they should be quite dark, but shouldn't be done as if they're covered is heavy eyeliner unless it is required. Have a look at this eye example from my Fanart of Sora from KH2.
Sometimes the first light source isn't the only one, you may have multiple light sources or even a weaker or stronger reflection from something, so keep you light sources in mind at all times.
Also remember that, like in this artwork I'm using, if the character has something going over her, there is a small shadow beneath it, facing away from your light source like this.
Although this stage is the most long and laborious, it's actually quite fun to see it come together.
When you're smudging the colours, you may find that the shading on the artwork is a little rough, so just go over it with the Blur Tool on around 20 Strength to even the shading a little.
Due to the Multiply technique, some colours may look strange underneath the darker shading, so one way around this is to make a layer above your lines and set it to Overlay, Normal, or something else you think looks good, it depends on the colour really.
You have to be careful on Normal mode though, as you don't want to paint over the lines and you'll need to be extra thorough with your smudging to make it look right.
You can apply the colours any way you want, you could do all of the shadows and highlights on one layer, or do shadows on layer one, mid-shades on layer two and highlights on layer three, or you could have a layer for each type of colour, it's entirely up to you. Just try not to clutter your layers panel with too many layers!
Once you have added all of the shadows and highlights and smudged everything to perfection, you're almost done! Here's my result at the end.
And there you have it, now all you need to do is add a copyright, save the image and show it to people or upload it to online art communities such as DeviantArt. As for File type, I recommend '.JPG' on high quality or '.PNG' if you want to impress.
Thanks for reading, if there is anything that you think needs explaining in further detail, please E-Mail me via FFW's Contact Us page.
For more artwork, please visit my DeviantArt page: AmberDust
Written by FFFreak.
Art by FFFreak.