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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Coloring comics in Photoshop...royal pain!

   
Author Topic: Coloring comics in Photoshop...royal pain!
Greg B
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I often go back to basics to color in Photoshop.

Some people use one process, some another.

Normally it's the 3 tiered process with the selected ink overlay and color and background beneath.

Some use multiply to get ink on both the top layer and color layer some don't.

Flatting is a pain in the butt. Sometimes I just don't flat.

Optimizing the ink work is like adjusting the targets on a B 52 bomber.

I remember using x acto knives and rubylith and being done in half the time!

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Ganklin
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you're having trouble...flattening? you hit "flatten" and thats it. all your layers are now one layer unless its hidden in which case it asks you if you want to keep it or not.

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SNAKEBITE
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how could you possible compare the results of xacto knives and rubylith to the results you can get with photoshop?

can you do this with an xacto knife?
http://www.comicspace.com/snakebite/comics.php?action=read&file_id=98187

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Greg B
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Ganklin not THAT flattening. I'm talking about a coloring procedure where large or small areas of color are applied flattened instead of built up. Much like an undercoat of a painting.

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Greg B
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I can compare x acto knives and rubylith with photoshop as we would compare computer coloring to cel coloring.

It's called a comparison.

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Rupert Piston
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I'm not located someplace I can take a Snakebite class, but I use one of the methods you mention that I learned from the DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics.

I use the wand to select (check "use all layers") and then use the expand selection command by about 2 pixels to get it underneath the lines. Then I use either the bucket or the brush to paint the flat fills. It does get sort of dicey in places where there's a lot of detail, and that's where I use the brush without selection. Plus I use lots of layers to separate areas of the picture.

I also treat my scan to a few things before getting it going, like adjusting the contrast and brightness, then changing the file to two-color mode before turning it into CMYK.

Probabaly nothing new in this, and I suspect it seems simple to me because I'm not doing much in the way of lighting and effects.

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ApeLad
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quote:
DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics
A must read! Even if you don't color comics per se, that's a great book.
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-FP-
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quote:
I'm talking about a coloring procedure where large or small areas of color are applied flattened instead of built up. Much like an undercoat of a painting
Can't you emulate that by making the layers atop the "undercoat" partially transparent?
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Greg B
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Rupert you've made my point. [Smile]

I've used the same technique I figured out 10 years ago or more. Got into a rut. I don't paint with Photoshop. I'm a traditionalist so if I'm going to paint it'll be on canvas or paper. I'm aware of the brilliant work done with Photoshop but it's not for me. So I decided to take some time off this month and re-study Photoshop.

There are so many approaches and techniques.

I'm double checking the scanning process for inks and the optimizing. Some are simple as you've said and some call for more complex but to me useless procedures. I'm working on more comic books and was considering doing the color digitally but looking at the difference from watercolor I may just stick with watercolor.

Sometimes using Photoshop is fast on simple stuff and ridiculously tedious on others.

I did something tonight I don't know what the heck I did but the effect was spectacular. I had to save the PSD file as I've never seen anything like it before. Once I figure out what I did I'll delve into it more. I've often done something with PS and screwed something up and came out better.

Lots of tutorials out there though and some tutorials are just useless and some are brilliant.

I spent 3 days just getting tutorials.

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SNAKEBITE
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Well then if you're gonna compare PS to xacto techniques for JUST laying down flat tones, since I have done both, I can tell you that PS is way faster once you get the hang of it. easier on your wrists (this was before I mastered the art of MEtal Flesh technique)and you can change the flat tone endlessly.

So again, its apples and oranges.

Like you can't compare water color to photoshop, although I've seen some cats bust out some awesome looking PS mimic techniques.

Using organic mediums with PS is unstoppable.

But I find nothing tedious about PS other than it lets me explore every possibility which can drive a brutha insane..and thats my problem not PS.


Ultimately the more fundamentals I learn the better I am in PS. I miss the physical canvas, need to get back to that. I understanding liking one medium over another, though.

But royal pain, ps? naw, I taught it for a few years. I think I had two students who didn't get it and that was because they didn't practice at all and the whole time they were in my class they'd whine how hard it was.

maybe your kung fu is inferior...Im just sayin..
[Wink]

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mojodesign
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Snake, that pic isn't such a big deal...I once did a piece just like that using only a toothpic and some food coloring [Wink]

I'm kidding of coarse. I don't know that I'd be able to do that even with the flashiest of softwares. That piece ROCKS! Nice one, dude.

-J

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mojodesign
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P.S. Greg, have you explored the possibility of learning how to paint through some of the Gnomon DVD's? They are amazing. I recommend the Neville Page ones.

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Greg B
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Gnomon DVDs? Are they part of an art course? If so please point the way.

Ja, Snakebite, knowing the fundamentals is the plus side. I'm just venting.

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tstevens
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Photoshop can be a pain when you accidentally start painting on the wrong layer or you have the wrong thing selected. One of the things that always gets me is if I think I have deselected something but haven't and I try to paint in an another area: that can get confusing.

If you really want to screw with someone do a screen capture of Photoshop with an open document, open it back up in PS and then bring it full screen (F)at 100%, get rid of the tool bars etc (TAB), and then you lock the layer. If you do it while someone steps away they usually think thier machine has frozen up!

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Greg B
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tstevens, that's evil!

See, I've read the Photoshop books, got PS when it first came out yadda yadda yadda.

One has to play with it and sometimes can find a new way of doing things or doing things better.

I only use it minimally but have to use it more hence the re-study of the software. What I'm finding is there are more than one way to skin a cat.

Preparing scanned lineart for one. There are like 5 different ways already and I knew of 4 but just found an easy, simple way to clean up the inks. Saves me misery.

I get 'Menu-itis' after going from one program to another sometimes. I work in so many areas and each one has it's own software they can turn into a blur if one doesn't get new skins or make new skins for each program.

I figure from what I've learned this week I should be able to cut a step out and save me more time in one area. 10 hours a day devoted to studying PS is torture but proving itself worth it.

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mojodesign
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http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/

...and the Neville Page DVDs:

Neville Page DVDs

Now I don't think these quite have the style of painting you are looking for since they focus more on realism, but the techniques and aproach they teach are priceless. One of Snakebite's lectures would be ideal for you, since his stuff is probably more of the style that you're striving for. I believe that he'll be giving a lecture soon at the Animation Academy?...not sure. Regardless, check out Gnomon...some good stuff there.

Hey Snake, didn't you mention a while ago that you were looking into making some educational DVDs of your own? ...any progress on that?

-J

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Jason Thomas Campbell
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I bought this one, it shows doing flats all the way through to color. Not bad at all.

Comic Coloring Tutorial

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SNAKEBITE
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hey, I don't focus on realism? hahahaha lets be realistic.

yeah, my dvd has been the thorn on my side. I wanted to work with another artists on it. someone pencils then I color. and its taking longer cuz of the additional artists factor.

and the biggest thing is the only program that records real time PS and doesn't take forty thousand years to render a few minutes is PC based and Im a mac dude. so its hard to find someone with the software and the computer power to work big files.

that and the fifty cagillion other things Im doing.

man, we need more hours in aday.

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Greg B
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Thanks Mojo!

Snakebite, I hope you do put out a DVD set of tutorials. If you're being a Mac dude only then check with the parent company as well a Adobe. They know who you are and if they don't I'm sure I know someone there that would be glad to meet you and perhaps sponsor your efforts. It don't hurt to make pro friends.

I know you're well enough known because most if not all my assistants I've hired or worked with know you as well as Charles. They didn't know of Animation Nation though which surprised me.

Go for it Snakebite.

Anyhow, after a full week of study I've gotten the procedure I was overlooking in one area and have cut time and effort out. Now I can go on to the fancy-dan stuff. There's a Japanese fellow who emailed me long ago who does the most outstanding paintings in Photoshop. I have to go get his name again. Now it's on to testing different brushes again and other techniques. I'm happy to see I could pull myself out of that routine rut. There are different approaches to a result and some have changed over the years especially cleaning up line art. Wasn't using Curves before. Now it's easier, much easier.

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SNAKEBITE
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I just need mac based recording software that doesn't take forever to render. then Im good. or I find a PC with mad power and the software to record.
which is harder for me.

So if your people know of Mac based recording software for PS I would appreciate any kind of heads
up.

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Greg B
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http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/351533-REG/Primera_62930_Bravo_2_Recording_and.html

Don't know if this helps Snakebite but it's the first response I've gotten from my guys. I should have a full list, if any, within 24 hours.

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Greg B
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I can't believe how expansive the Photoshoppers have become.

Some great tutorials and techniques out here. Awesome artwork too. I've got enough data now to just have fun with the software all day long. Now it's not some tedious pain but like a video game with lots of adventures to be had. Sorta like when I first started with the software with a version # so low I dare not mention! [Smile]

Next it's on to Maya...

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mojodesign
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Well Snake, I'd consider your stuff more of HYPER real than "realistic", which I prefer. I don't know what software you've tried that takes really long to render, but I found this one by Adobe:

Adobe Captivate

It's Adobe so you know it's pobably mac based too. I downloaded the demo a while back and it seemed pretty damn easy to use. The only thing is that it's used for ALL kinds of educational purposes from recording your lectures to slideshows to presentations of all sorts....so it's got wayyyyy more buttons and features than I really care for. Because of that, it kinda clutters the software. I guess it just seemed that way to me because I only needed it for that one task. Try it out though...might be what you're looking for.

-J

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mojodesign
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...don't know if that read well....I meant to say I prefer hyper-real.

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Greg B
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Snakebite: "Metal Flesh Technique"

Hey Snake, is that an industry term or something you use to describe the way comic characters' skin is done nowadays. Reason I'm asking is because I can't find a reference to it and the guys at Gutterzombie have no clue to what it means. Can ya' link to an example in case I'm off track.

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SNAKEBITE
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that was sarcasm.
as in, Kung Fu sarcasm.

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SNAKEBITE
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thanks for the links!

looks like captivate upgraded their slow process. I'll look into it.

thanks again!

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SNAKEBITE
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athough, Greg, outside of the sarcasm of "metal flesh" that could be a technique used to make flesh look metal, ie organic robots and what not.

but when i said it I was referring to damaging ones wrist with xacto tedious actions and how my metal flesh technique counter acts those effects...ie, being such a physical stud and all. hahahaha, I know, silly jokes.

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Greg B
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ROFL!

Snakebite you've accidently invented a new term for the coloring community!

I asked the gang at Gutterzombie what 'Metal Flesh Technique' was and it started a thread of confusion and speculation!

We sort of figured out what you had meant. As for me I saw it as akin to what Dick Giordano once told us whilst giving an inking lesson at the old Acclaim/Valiant Comics office back in '97. He was showing us his legendary style and as we all hovered around like kids waiting for Santa to speak I asked him about the then new wave of inking and he quipped how inkers nowadays make everything look like metal instead of the true textures we see and are losing the finesse of what inking was really about.

So the skin techniques used in comics today vary and the popular stuff is still looking too computery to me. Sometimes the Photoshop is in the hands of a Jedi and other times in the hands of a Padawan.

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SNAKEBITE
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hahaha, yep metal flesh is kinda the look some people end up when using PS.

My metal flesh is better for fending off machetes.

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Sketchpad
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GregB, it just takes a while to get use to the tools of PS and get the hang of it. It was hell for me working with Photoshop at the beginning. A couple of years have passed and I'm now use to it and I love it (and I'm still using a mouse).

Snakebite (the real and true ambassador of AN) and his work on the Red Star is what got me motivated to work with Photoshop. The pages of the Red Star knocked me out the first day I saw it, and that was on the same day that I met Snake for the first time.

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SNAKEBITE
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I'm honored, Im really happy my work inspired you that way..and in return you have given me inspiration.

...but Im no ambassador. oh man, thats a scary thought.

more like unchained guard dog.well, Im sure thats how some feel..but they shouldn't be trespassing.hahahaha

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SNAKEBITE
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and I was using a mouse for the first 5 issues of TRS.

good times good timess.

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SNAKEBITE
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Heres a fun exercise to get use to the brushes and to indulge in self. HA!

Scan a picture of yourself. using the lasso tool manual select your face. then go to the top menu, EDIT, DEFINE BRUSH or DEFINE BRUSH PRESET. Name it whatever you like and now its a brush that you will find in your brush palette.

now depending on which version of PS you have you might have unlimited tweakability or limited. PS7 and up, unlimited. the brush window is your window to pure painting bliss. this is the tool that defines everything in your works.

so tweak your face brush. click on the different options in the brush palette and go into those and tweak all the sliders to become familiar with the joy.

but whatever you do save that new brush preset or you will lose it once you change tools.

now paint and display you face brush painting here on AN for a good laugh.

GO!

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Greg B
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Ha! Snakebite! I just went through the brush tutorials! I made a few funny brushes of my own! Sending off for Wacom Tablet this week.

Sketchpad, I'm re-familiarizing myself with PS. I had studied it before but I use so many programs I'm menued out. Like burnout. I've been doing computer stuff now for almost 30 years.

That's why when I looked at Maya I almost keeled over.

Yes, Snakebite is inspring because of his brilliant work. You can tell from a glance he enjoys it. Lots of enthusiasm in his work and that stands out. I love color work. I was one of the few guys who first started using Macs back in the 80's to convert to doing color with web presses and offset presses. I was working for the Gannett News Service at the time with USA Today. Gannett had some kick butt graphics people at that time. We did anything we could.

Then when Microsoft came out with Paint we maxed that out. Then Paint Shop Pro and PS.

I had just gotten into a rut as I didn't use PS on a daily basis. But due to expansion and less time being an egghead I can now go back to being more artist and have regained much of what I had learned about PS. I'm cramming like crazy with PS, Flash, Illustrator and MAYA. I'm really piling it on because my workload is one of pride and volume. Just non-stop art and writing. I have 4 properties to update and at least 10 properties to create. At same time I have offers to do mainstream comics and in case I do I want to be prepared.

On top of all that, I have to still get to a traditional animation class preferably at Animation Academy.

I have been pushing myself to the limit mentally and physically like I used to. Friends and family used to panic at how hard I would work. I've been in the gym everyday pumping iron and didn't know I could push the body this far as well.

Way I look at it, no guts no glory.

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