Color Holds!

4 02 2015

(A little “how to” at the bottom, if you are wondering yourself)…

After the crap experience in my previous post, I knew I had to learn how to color line art once and for all. For some reason, the best I was coming up with was CTRL + ALT + 2 to select whites, then invert it to get your black line work. But I couldn’t get the line art off the background (therefore coloring the line meant also coloring everything around it), so I had to marquee/lasso certain sections so the color wouldn’t bleed and use fill instead of paint for the lines. Stupid! I even did this whole extra-stupid practice piece to see if I could make that technique work:

Sloppy, but the point was to get differentiated line color (e.g. the lines of the dress green; lines of the skin flesh toned). It works, but not efficiently or cleanly!

Sloppy, but the point was to get differentiated line color (e.g. the lines of the dress green; lines of the skin flesh toned). It works, but not efficiently or cleanly!

Uck! So I wasted a bunch of time reading about alpha channels and annoying things and finally found the one way that’s quick and easy.

Used a quick traditional sketch for a test. From pencil/ballpoint line work:s curve back

…to colored line art (color holds) with blocked color:

s curve back color hold

Eee! 🙂 This is the fastest (albeit slightly rough) way to go:

If you’re doing a scanned sketch, inking first is best, but if you did pencil like my example and don’t mind a bit of mess:

  • Scan/open your image into Photoshop (I use CS6 in Windows.) Clean the image: remove some of the grays, messy pencil lines, and smudges by opening Curves (Images > Adjustments) and tweaking the line into an “S” shape. If you want to be really good, play with levels and the clone stamp, but you can see in the pics above the S-curve-tactic does a pretty good job.
  • Your image will be on a locked background layer. Duplicate the layer (so you can edit the dup), and trash the original.
  • I like to make another duplicate here, just in case.
  • On your layer showing the line art, do CTRL + ALT + 2 to select the white area of the image.
  • Invert the selection (to select the lines) by going into the “select” tab and choosing “inverse.”
  • On your layer, CTRL + C to copy the lines.
  • Make a new layer (not a duplicate); keep the default layer settings. This should appear above the other layers.
  • Go to the new layer and CTRL + V to paste the lines onto it.
  • Still on the new layer, lock your pixels (to keep the non-line space transparent). In your layers section on the right you’ll see the little mini checkerboard box; that’s what you click to lock it.
  • Now on your new layer, you can paint any color(s) over your lines. If you want to color your image, do it on a layer beneath that.

Ta da!!

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