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Need help with Photoshop- drawing and colouring cartoons (Forums : 2D Graphics : Need help with Photoshop- drawing and colouring cartoons) Locked
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May 22 2013 Anchor

I've been struggling to use photoshop for ages now, having tried to use it multiple times for game graphic development/ general cartoon drawing, since I've slowly starting forming ideas for a game. Problem is, I need help doing this.
So I looked around for a bit and couldn't find any simple tutorials at my level, and I had the idea of maybe setting up a blog designed to aggregate simple, easy to follow tutorials that I can get.
So what I want to do is:
Take a cartoon drawing, scan it into photoshop, add black borders and colour the whole thing in.
Please post tutorials below (remember, they have to be VERY simple and hand-holding, with all steps mapped out clearly and all names explained.)
Thanks in advance!

Yuki.Kix Concept Artist
May 22 2013 Anchor

have you tried youtube yet? (im assuming you've been using written tutorials with screenshots, since you really cant miss anything with video)

I don't know about everyone else, but I also had trouble getting started with these programs. i had a similar problem where tutorials were either 1. way too complicated for me to follow or 2. so simple the tutorial could have been made for ms paint.

the way i finally broke in was that i followed one of the more 'complicated' video tutorials (how to extract subject from background). for some reason, it didnt work the first 2 times i tried, and i had to restart. once i got it, i began to understand the effects of each step and exactly what they did. following that, all ps tutorials became easy to follow.

For what you're trying to do i would suggest some of the vector/path tutorials. unfortunately, i'm not very proficient in either of these.

May 23 2013 Anchor

Okay, I'm being way too nice here. I made a tutorial Image of how I go around doing this:

I appologize for my spelling mistakes, I didn't really bother look it through :P I made it quick, but I hope it gets the point across ^^

May 25 2013 Anchor

Thanks for the replies guys, and good job on the drawing lineart! Im actually thinking not handdrawn style, more logo ish, dogotal picture look, but thanks anyway!
I've started doing a bit of pixel art for a game concept I have, one piece is on my tumblr.

May 25 2013 Anchor

Here's my method:

I've tried just about every coloring method out there, but here's what I finally came up with through a lot of trial and error, which I think is the fastest and most reliable coloring technique out there. This is the method I use for my comics, video game work, and children's book work and I've never had a problem with it or any printer issues ever arise.
Anyhow, here it is...Before you begin, set up your tools. Go through and Uncheck Anti-Aliasing on your selection tool, lasso tool, and paint bucket. and set them all for 0 tolerance, and 0 pixel feathering.
1. Start with your black and white image, RGB mode in one layer, minimum 300 DPI, you can resize it smaller after your finished. And, you can always switch it to CMYK when you're finished if it's for print with only minimal color shift after your finished coloring as well.
2. You want to get rid of any anti-aliasing (All the gray fuzzy pixels between your black and white) so your image is either only black or white. To do that go to Image> Adjustments> Threshold. Click OKAY on the dialog box using the default setting, which I think is 128.
3. Okay, your image is now aliased, meaning it's only black and white, no gray pixels. Now Duplicate your layer by clicking and holding down on your layer and dragging it down to the New Layer icon (second to the right on the bottom of the Layers dialog box.) It looks like a page with the corner bent down. That will duplicate your layer.
4. You now have 2 layers of the same thing. Go to your top layer and using your magic wand (make sure Contiguous is UN-checked) select the white in your image and hit Delete. This will remove all white in your top layer. But wait!! You can still see white.... That's on your bottom layer. lol!
5.On your TOP layer, Lock the Preserve Transparency button, which is directly above your little thumbnail pictures of your layers where it says Lock. It's the button on the left that looks like a transparent checkerboard. This protects your lines on your top layer so they can't be destroyed. The cool part to is that you can use this layer for color holds too, which is when you do the colored line work, but that's another post.
6. Now go back down to your bottom layer, this is where you'll do 99% of your work. Now, for UN-checked to fill an area, it has to be enclosed. It doesn't matter if the colors are all the same or not, as long as the area is enclosed. So for example, say you want to fill a circle that's not completely in closed, but you still want the finished art to look like it's NOT enclosed... What you do is take your Pencil tool, NOT your Brush, and using the color you want to fill the circle, you draw a line, enclosing the circle, then Fill it, using the same color, and there you go. So go around your whole drawing, using your fill color to enclose areas, then fill them. If when you click the fill and your whole page fills with color, that means you're missing a gap. Sometimes clicking the visibility of your top layer on and off will help you find the gap.
7. One thing you'll notice if you hide the top layer and look at your bottom layer is that you're drawing all over your black lines on the bottom layer, don't worry about this, because your black lines on the top layer are protected. Another great thing about this method is that, if you have an intricate cross-hatched area, instead of having to zoom way in and fill each spot, you just use your pencil on the bottom layer and color them in with a big size pencil. And with your lines on the top layer protected, once again, no problem.
8. Now, to add shadows and highlights to your colors, you use you magic wand to select a color, make sure Contiguous is Unchecked, so it will select all of that color throughout the whole picture, like skin tones for instance. Press Ctrl+H to hide your marching ants around the selection.
9. Now is when we switch from the Pencil tool to the Brush tool, you can use a hard brush if you want the more animated cell type coloring, or a softer brush if you want the softer shading, it's up to you. Using your Eyedropper tool, select the color you're working on, your skin tones, then open your color picker and choose a slightly darker shade for your shadows, moving diagonally down and to the right with your color picker.
10. Now you can either reduce you Flow of your Brush down to around 40 or 50% so you can model your shadows more, or just keep your flow at 100% and make it simple, whatever you like. Start brushing in your shadows on your color. Once you've gone through your whole drawing and added your shadows to everything that color, then do the same thing for highlights using a lighter color than your base skin tone color.
11. Once you're finished with that color, hit Ctrl+D to deselect the color and move on to the next color. If you make a mistake and need to go back and select a color that's already shadowed, set your Magic Wand Tolerance really high to around 50, then select the area that you need to work on again. You may have to adjust the tolerance amount to get it just right to select the area you want.
12. That's about it. Once I have the whole picture colored that way, I Duplicate the image, Flatten the duplicate and change it to CMYK at that point, then save it as a TIFF. If I want to make a copy for the web, I Duplicate my TIFF, resize it to 72DPI to whatever size I want it, then Save for the Web and save it in whatever format I need. I then close that copy, don't save it. Close my Tiff, and Close my Layered file.
13. Last thing, Always, always, always save a Layered version of you artwork in case you have to go back and make changes. If you want to save either Flattened or Web versions of the artwork, always do that with Duplicates. It will save you a LOT of frustration later on.
14. You can also do your shadows on a new layer and highlights on another, and that way your flats are on their own layer an easy to go back and select if you make a mistake.

I hope that helps! If you have any questions, let me know! : )

May 26 2013 Anchor

Geoff, was this is cs4? Juss checking.
Edit: since I've scanned in a drawing, the lines aren't completely black. Any ideas on how I can do that?
Another edit: tried changing the threshold, completely removed all the lines, because they were grey.

Edited by: Butterblade

May 26 2013 Anchor

Hi hgnhfseae, (is there something else I can call you that's a little easier to type? lol!)

I think when I wrote this tutorial I was using CS4, I don't remember. But it should work fine no matter what version you're using.

If your lines are grey when you scan in your drawing, like if you're scanning in a pencil sketch as opposed to inked artwork, the best way to get them dark is with your Levels. If you open up your levels dialogue box, move the arrow on the bottom left toward the center and that will darken your grey lines. You can play around with the other two arrows to fine tune your results. You can also use your Brightness/Contrast too, but Levels will give you a lot more control.

Give that a try and let me know how it works. : )

Edited by: geofftoons

Nightshade Technical Artist
May 27 2013 Anchor

Well you want it basic so I suggest you look up and learn the following things if you want to start concepting in Photoshop. This is not a post containing any tutorials - instead I'll point at what you should learn and in what order.

-The toolbar is the first thing you should become familiar with. 90% of the things there you will need in some way or another, but start with focusing on the following: Move tool, Polygonial lasso tool, Magic wand, Quick select tool, Marquee tool, Eliptical Marquee tool, Brush, Pencil, Eraser, Paint bucket tool, Gradient tool, Dodge and Burn, Sponge, Smudge, Blur, Sharpen, and the Clone stamp tool. These are all very important tools for anyone who wants to do concept art in Photoshop. If you don't understand them fully, google on what they do.

-Layers and groups. Without understanding of these, your workfile will be a mess.

-Layer styles and Blending Options

Blending Options are actually not so complicated. You have four different groups of pixel blending and they all come after each other. You have the darken group, the lighten group, the contrast group, the math group and the component group. There are many many places where they are all explained in depth, but here's a crash-course:

Piece of advice here: Paint with grey colors (0 saturation) when trying out the blend modes. It makes them easier to understand.

Adjustment layers. These are a GODSEND for working non-destructivly. (google destructive vs non-destructive image editing)

-Look up history states, filters and customized workspaces. They are all very important for concepting. History states saves you a lot of trouble/time as you can create "checkpoints" everywhere in your workflow (no longer have to go through 200 steps in the undo-queue), Filters gives you important post-effects (such as adding noise to paintings that are too clean) and a customized workspace is important to speed up workflow: especially if you have a wacom.

Look up the Brush -panel and how to create custom brushes. Then go to deviantArt and search for Photoshop brush and download some concepting brushes.

All of this you can skim through in an hour. Most people just don't know what to search for because they are not familiar with the software. But now you have all the expressions you need.

Edited by: Nightshade


Technical Artist @ King - an Activision Blizzard division
Portfolio | LinkedIn

May 27 2013 Anchor

I tried out your method LineArt, and while it wasn't exactly what i was looking for, it turned out really nice! See the result in my new profile pic.

May 28 2013 Anchor

I'm glad it worked out for you man :)

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