calliope_love: (Break: Um heeeeey)
Callie ([personal profile] calliope_love) wrote2011-03-18 06:33 pm
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Coloring Tutorial

With the disclaimer that this is how I do it, and how I like to do it, and that this is mostly to show you how I do it and I don't really care if you want to do it this way or not, I made a "tutorial" of sorts. Here is the way I color the images I use for my icons.

First of all, here is my basic set-up. I use CS3 for the most part, on an iMac with a pretty big screen. I have colored on a mouse -- recently, even -- but I have a pen tablet.

It is over a decade old, a model that isn't made anymore, and it has packing tape across it because it has a huge cut right down the middle. You use what you have.

The first thing I do is the flat colors. I put my patches on separate layers for ease of use, and each of those layers is in "multiply" mode. This mode shows the colors, but darkens whatever is under it at the same time, so the lines show through beautifully.

I do all of the flats at once for entirely practical purposes -- if I bothered with shading and such as I filled in each part, I would have to keep switching my brush settings back and forth, and bugger that. It's much faster to do everything that needs the brush set a certain way, change the brush, do everything that needs the brush set that way, change the brush, etc.

The flats are done in a hard round brush on 100% opacity and flow. Simple and standard. You'll also notice I don't put every single patch of color on a different layer -- this is a habit left over from older computers, where so many layers would slow the whole program down and I had to learn to conserve their use. I do not use any layer modes other than "multiply", so in my case it's okay to have more than one color on the same layer so long as those colors are not touching. IE, the skin and the jacket can go on the same layer, but the bow and the jacket cannot.

PROTIP: If you're working on a mouse, or even if you're having a shaky-hands-day with your tablet, don't bother trying to stay in the lines. It's a lot easier to just have lumps outside them and erase what isn't supposed to be there later. By "easier" I mean "you'll hate everything less than you would if you kept trying to undo and redo over and over".

Notice I do not have a flat color for Break's hair or for the shirt and pearls. These will stay white, so we don't need an additional base color.

Now, shading. For this, I change the brush to a fuzzy one on 40% opacity and flow. Because that is how I roll.

The first thing I'm going to shade is Break's hair, because that is my favorite. If this were Liam, there would be a flat shade of brown here to work from, but for Break, I consider white the base color and go from there. You may notice I ran outside the lines here. Like I said, I don't care. It'll be easier to just erase the overflow later.

It's okay that this shading is messy. It will be covered over in texture momentarily.

Go to the brush tool; hold down on it. It will give you options for a pencil tool and some other thing I never use. Select the pencil tool, and make it one pixel in size.

And now we are going to scribble all over Break's head with it, using the same color we just used for the shading.

The important thing to remember here is that because Break's hair is long, use long strokes. You don't have to start at the top and make one line that goes all the way down; and for pity's sake, please don't try to make every line perfect. I mean it when I say "scribble". We're going to tidy this up later, and we want a bit of chaos here. I will do a Liam hair tutorial later to show you some differences.

Also, be sure to go with the flow of the hair. Hair curves around the head. See how most of my lines here all start in the same place at the top of his head, and don't go straight up and down?

For the sake of bringing texture to the shaded areas as well, I flip back to white and scribble there a bit, too. Here's how he looks at his proper size instead of zoomed in.

Pixelated, isn't it? Go down under the eraser and get the smudge tool, and set it up like so, noting that 40 happens to be the size of the brush I clicked on and I change sizes as I use it:

And very, very gently, blur the lines in his hair.

Now, in this part, you DO need to be very careful. Follow along the curves of the lines, and don't just swish around. Try not to overlap -- you don't want to loose the texture, you just want to make it soft. You want one stroke for every little bit of hair, from top to bottom.


With the burn tool set like so, bring out some more of that shading (I also like to shade a bit towards the top of the head, around where the part is):

And with the dodge tool set like so, add a nice slightly curved bit of shine. Erase the parts where I went outside the lines, and shiny pretty hair is a go.

Due to size of post, to be continued.

[identity profile] 2011-03-18 10:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooo~! Shame I don't have Photoshop. I don't have time to play with it anyway, sadly.