~Nessiah’s super cool digital drawing and coloring tutorial~

Hi there! I'll just assume you know how to draw; but aren't familiar with CGing. This tutorial is written for mouse users mainly, but this can apply to tablet users as well. Previously we talked about how to make your lineart. In this one we will talk about how to color that lineart! So let’s get started~

Color Theory
I know you want to jump right into coloring, but I really need to give some explanation about this because choosing colors are very important for a piece. Coloring digitally is not so different from coloring traditionally.

Primary Additive Colors are Red, Green, and Blue. When you add them together in an equal amount they make white, that’s why they are called Additive. If all light is absent, it creates black. Think of it as light diffracted through a prism.

Secondary Colors are created when you mix two primary colors: Red + Yellow = Orange, Blue + Yellow = Green, Blue + Red = Purple. Mixing two secondary colors yields a neutral grey or brown. If you mix a primary and secondary colors you’ll get tertiary colors. For example, Violet + Red = Red Violet, Green + Yellow = Yellow Green. At least, this is the case when you are working with paints, crayons and the like.

If you notice, in image editing programs, there’s what we call modes that are RGB, Grayscale and CMYK. When coloring, you color in RGB mode – where colors mix as they would on canvas or paper - and when printing what you’ve done, you set it to CMYK because of the mixing of ink.

Properties of color have technical names - Hue being simply the name of a color. Value and Brightness refer to the light or dark tone of a color. The dark colors (shades) are low values and light colors (tints) are high values, shown like this:
it gets closer to a black, showing more shade, on one end; and lighter, showing more tint, on the other. Saturation measures a color’s pureness – or, rather, how free of, or muddled by, other colors a given color is.

Warm Colors are bold and energetic, and advance in a given image. Cool Colors tend to recede and rarely overpower an image.

Complementary colors sit on opposite sides of the color wheel. For example, blue's complementary color is orange, and purple's is yellow. If they’re placed to each other in a painting, they create contrast, making each other brighter. For example; Red and Green create drastic contrast with one another. Using complementary colors is a really bad choice for text.

There are types of color schemes; I made a bad color wheel to explain the types of color picking.

1. Monochromatic Color Scheme - Uses variations in lightness and saturation of a single color. They are usually boring as they provide little contrast. Example:

2. Analogous Color Scheme- Uses colors that are closest to each other on the color wheel. Think of the color wheel above as a pie, 1/4 of that pie is analogous to each other. One color is used as a dominant color while others are used to enrich the scheme. They are commonly found in nature. A typical analogous color scheme should not contain more than three or four colors as it throws away balance.

3. Split Complementary Color Scheme – Uses one color then two colors near to its complementary.

4. Triad Color Scheme – Uses three high energy colors that are separated to each other by 120 degrees on the wheel. The primary (red, blue, and yellow) and secondary (purple, orange, green) are examples of these. Example:

5. Tetradic – Uses four colors arranged into complementary pairs. It allows more possibilities for variation and works best if you let one color be dominant and make sure there’s balance between warm and cool colors. Example:

6. Square - The square color scheme is similar to the tetradic, but with all four colors spaced evenly around the color circle. Works best if you let one color be dominant. . Example:

When using colors:
> Bright, high-intensity, warm colors advance in space. They appear as though they are going to jump out at you. They get your attention. Low intensity, cool colors, on the other hand, recede; they make a space appear larger than it is. By combining these colors you can create the appearance of dimension or depth to a one-dimensional picture.
> When choosing colors for your drawing, remember a few rules for mixing colors: The human eye cannot focus on red and blue at the same time. Try to read red type on a blue background or vice versa causes extreme eye fatigue. It just won’t work.
> Most colors go well together with members of the same "family". Warm colors of a “type”, such as red, brown, orange and yellow look better together in combination warm colored backgrounds; cool colored type like blue, green, gray and white with cool colored backgrounds. Using color families generally makes for a more appealing presentation, especially for large amounts of information.
> Contrast can be used effectively to accent information and draw attention to items. In general, keep the contrast low. Too much contrast makes your work difficult to look at, such as over using the dodge tool and burn tool.
> Primary colors used together won’t work in the computer because they are both high intensity colors and when side-by-side they appear like they’re vibrating. This color combination can be used very successfully if you use shades or tints of one of the colors, for instance bright red and navy blue.
> Dark on Dark is a no-no, consider contrast!
> Don’t overdo it. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t over use dodge and burn!

It’s a long section but I promise it’ll help you when making color choices in the future! So please consider reading it.

Different Types of Style
Before we start, we have to know what coloring style we want to do! There are two types that we usually do and what I can only teach, Hard Cell Shading and Soft Cell Shading.

>Soft Cell Shading

This is an example of soft cell shading, the colors are blended and traces of outlines are barely noticeable.

>Hard Cell Shading

The artworks are from Advent Cirno and by Alphes of Tasogare Frontier. As you can see compared to soft cell, you can see that the outlines are much more visible and the colors aren’t “blurred” and they are sharp. Hard cell is usually used in Anime because they’re faster and easier, especially if you have too many things to draw and color.

In this tutorial I’ll teach you how to do hard cell shading.

>Actual Process

And now to actual fun part! This drawing is colored in Photoshop using a mouse and the purpose is to show some techniques on how to color a picture differently. If you notice that I changed photoshop versions all of a sudden, that is because the tutorial is made at school and at home with different photoshop versions. The same procedures still apply so don’t worry. Have some music ready in a playlist! After that, make straight lines and circles to get your hand ready!

>Preparing the Lineart
> First we will prepare our lineart, let’s say you accidentally merged the layers into a white background just like this:

And you’re wondering how are you going to color beneath it? There are numerous ways to do this.

a.) Set the layer to multiply and put it above all layers.
b.) Remove the white via channels:

Then press delete.

b.) Using Color Range:

to cut the lines out and make a new layer and paste (Ctrl+V) it there.

Any of these procedures would work. After you’re done…

>Set Layers
First I set my layers, this is just a personal preference so that I won’t get bothered to make a new layer every time I add something. If you go to the layers tab, this is what I have set:

So many layers! But there’s something good about Digital coloring and that’s Clipping Masks. To set that, you have to hold alt in photoshop and put it between two layers like this:

And press it with left click you’ll see it like this:

Do the same with Shade Light to Shade Dark. After you set that, you’ll see the layers like these.

You’re probably wondering what it does. It’ll become clearer after we finish the next section:

>Color Picking - is mostly trial and error and there’s a large chance you’ll change your colors for at least five times to pick the right “aura”. But if you still aren’t too sure, I suggest getting some existing colored pictures you like, eyedrop it and see the hue value and saturation for each shade, this way you’ll get more ideas on how to pick your colors. But usually, yellow for highlights, blue or purple for shadows. Don’t pick overly bright colors! Consider contrast!

I set my colors in a palette or something like this:

>Base Colors - first you set the base colors for the picture. Use a hard round brush to color your picture and of course it can be of any size.

If you want to quickly fill the lines, you can use magic wand on a section and fill it in and just brush some parts. You can also use lasso tool like this:

And fill it in with paint bucket tool (G). You can zoom in and out freely by holding Alt+ Mouse wheel.

It’s ok if the colors go out the lines as long as you can “paint” over it with another layer. Example in this case:

The color went out of the line and is in the part of the hair, you can just not erase it and just color above it in the “hair” layer. Sometimes, I hide the other layer so I can color some parts easier and see if I missed any lines or overlap the others.

Above, you can see some gray areas in the hair, those are actually missed areas. So be sure to check and be cautious! Sometimes those gray things are caused by a fault in the lineart. During the process, you might notice you need to add more layers as you go. Don’t be afraid to zoom in to areas that are hard to color, such as these:

If you notice, there are some dirty lines, but they’re not noticeable when you resize it, that’s why drawing and coloring in huge dimensions is encouraged!

Once you get used to it, filling up base colors will take less than an hour. At this point I have already spent about 10 minutes on it using the brush tool. During the process you might change layers around, for the next one I just moved the wing layer way below. There is a way to move layers easily without doing them one by one.

Do you see the chain icon near Shade? If I move the highlighted part, “Wings” and move it down, the “chained” layers will go down as well. Just click the chain icon again to “unchain” it.

Setting base colors is the most boring part in CGing, usually, I shade some parts first before base coloring the others, but for tutorial’s sake I gave base colors to everything first. After that you can go to the fun part!

After 20 minutes I finally finished.

>Light Source and Edges
I’m not sure how to go in-depth here but the nearer it is to the light, it goes on from Hard -> Firm -> Soft -> Lost when it comes to details. Maybe this will help better:

Edge basics 101: (Thank you Elwell)
There is a scale of edges, just as there is a scale of values. It goes from hard>firm>soft>lost. Just as with value, you can use the whole scale in one picture or just a piece of it. The careful manipulation of edges is one of the most overlooked, but most important, tools an artist can use to create form, atmosphere, and believability.

In general, edges are:
Harder in the light, softer in the shadow
Harder in bright light, softer in dim light
Harder in focused light, softer in diffused light
Harder in the foreground, softer in the background
Harder on smooth forms, softer on textured forms
Harder on hard forms, softer on soft forms (Duh, but really)
Harder on flat forms, softer on rounded forms
Harder on thin forms, softer on thick forms
Harder on still forms, softer on forms in motion (on moving forms they are harder on the leading edge and softer on the trailing edge)
Harder at the center of interest, softer as you move away

The above are additive. So a kitten, far away, in the dark, would be really soft.
Of course, any of these guidelines can be ignored/modified for pictorial effect.

This is a tutorial from Gregpo:

A more in-depth Light Source Tutorial can be also found here:

Hopefully the above information would help you figure out how shadows are cast!

>Shading- Now that we talked about Light source, I’m going to proceed on basic anime shading. I bet you’re wondering what those clipping masks are for. Basically the easiest explanation would be:

Without Clipping Mask:

With Clipping Mask:

Now you can see why it’s very useful! For shading I used a hard round brush tool and considered which parts are blocking the light and cause a shadow to the skin like this:

I think about the structure of the hand when shading and from this point, I change my brush sizes from 1-3:

Then I erased my guidelines:

For an easier way for some areas like the hair I used the lasso tool:

Erase some areas:

Then I did the same to other areas:

To add a blush, I use a 13 point soft brush tool:

Afterwards, use the erase tool at 20 pt soft brush and 76% opacity and clicked at this point:

I added a new layer for the lips, just below the shade skin and used a hard brush tool at 2pt and erase the excess blobs:

Then back to shade skin, I used a 13 pt. soft round brush with 30% opacity and filled the lower part of her face:

Then I added another layer above named shade skin 2 and shaded the darker areas using a soft round brush tool which resulted to this:

I smudged the hard edges because they looked off and lowered the opacity of the lips to 71%.
This will apply to the clothes as well, but before that I wanted to finish the eyes first:

Then I used a very small dodge tool pt. and Burn Tool could work:

And above all layers including the lines

Now for the hair. I used a soft brush tool for it.

Afterwards, I used a hard brush tool.

For the darker shade, I used a purple color:

Then I set the layer to “Multiply” and changed the opacity to the desired color. In this case, upto 65%

Since using a mouse doesn’t generate sharp points unless you work hard for it and I’m not a big fan of pentool in Photoshop 7 for some reason so I used a technique for the highlights.

Then I set the layer to overlay. If the angle isn’t right, just use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and select the area of the highlight -> Free transform -> Rotate -> Double Click and then it’s arranged properly! I set the layer to overlay.

You can see what it looked like over here:

I realized that I didn’t like the shading so I changed it again

I decided to make the bow next, since Diviners are pretty much colored via gradients, it was the fastest one. I just set purple and white like this:

Set my gradient properties to radial:

And went to the clipped mask layer and set it there. I lowered the opacity to 47% and you can see it here:

You can take a break for a while if you want and do some backup.
For the dress and cloak, I used a soft brush for eraser and brush and set some soft spots for areas where the joints are and what areas I want to be dark.

After that, I made a new layer above and used a hard brush for the eraser and brush and made the shadows over the folds and it looked like this.

As for her dress, I started with a hard brush tool:

Beneath it, I made another layer and used a soft brush tool and tried to make the dress look “soft”

For the black dress I just used one shade using the soft brush tool.

Then the shoes, I just changed the soft brush size to smaller to make the little sharp edge.:

Then the ribbon and the hand cuff

For the wings what I did was basically filled an area and just erase it with the circle tool until they looked like this and the lasso tool for the long parts.

I also set the background off so I can see if I missed some areas during the base coloring. Then I finished off the remaining areas such as the belt:

For the arrow, I used the same base color as the hair and set it to overlay and placed it above the all layers and played around with it until I felt satisfied. For the thread, I just had two straight lines with opacity lock on them and colored them yellow and had an outer glow set on them.

Afterwards I made a backup and merged all the layers except the last one. Then I thought it needed some adjustment with the colors so I went to Modes -> Adjustments -> Brightness and Contrast. I only adjust the contrast bar and not the brightness.



And then I added some random sky background.

And we’re done!

Total Amount of Layers: 36 (including rejected ones)
Total Amount of Time for Tutorial: 24 hrs (2 hrs for forum form)
Total Amount of time to finish drawing: 6-8 Hrs

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Me - For finding time to make this tutorial for you blasted kids.
Ocean's Dream - Part 1 Grammar Fix
ChaosProductions - Part 2 Grammar Fix
Ayawolfmon - Yes. She's very important.
Dajhail - Guy who told me that you don't need complex thingies and for the OST I'm listening to right now.
Karsuman - He approved part 1 so he might probably approve part 2
WIP - for making RMN and giving me a hard time to upload this tutorial with sensitive BBcodes
Wolfcoder - For making me do a real tutorial.



Pages: 1
Well I still can't get color range to work properly, but the first method comes thru nicely.

I'll give the coloring thing a whirl this weekend.
Good job Ness.

Might try this myself, just to see your process.

It won't be far for me to come up with CG scenes then... yet I still kinda sucked on drawing hands.
I mean press delete after you go back to the layers tab*
@Neok, those are 3 different things, for the second one with channels, go to channels tab, click the ...broken circle like and then the circle inside a grey rectangle and then press delete.

For color range after you invert, ctrl+x and then paste it on a new layer
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
Certainly, the longest article on RMN deserves the most comments?

Comment people! I had to proofread this!p/size]
Ness Sensei~! Ness Sensei~!

I'm having trouble preparing the lineart.

a.) Set the layer to multiply and put it above all layers.
b.) Remove the white via channels:

How do you do step b.)?

b.) Using Color Range:

I have no idea what to do after Invert.

Cool tut btw.
I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
Pages: 1