Gimme a scanner!!
In case you don’t own a scanner ask your friends, or you can look for a stationery or a copy shop which could have a scanner to import pictures.. but of course it’s not for free! I’ll show you my scanner window here below, so you can easily choose how many dpi, or Dots Per Inch, you need to make the drawing look neat.
If you’ve drawn on A4 paper, like I have, 300dpi is enough, while if it is smaller it should need at least 400dpi, and if it is detailed and very small sized you could use an even higher dpi. It’s up to you to deal with your computer’s possibilities. Better not to give too much advice since I’m not a total expert!!!
How to set up the scanning:
1) Let’s start setting up the scanning in order to colour it in the end. First of all, Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. We have to make the drawing as white and neat as we can. Let’s increase brightness enough to:
1- make the background clear white
2- hide the eraser marks (scratches on paper or pencil spots). It’s up to you how much to increase brightness. Don’t exaggerate! I increased it +28.
Here, I’ve highlighted how it looks different with brightness increased +28. Those marks on paper are lighter now. (it’s quite evident next to Ruri’s shoulder and nose).
2) As you can see, the inking too was affected by increasing brightness. If you want to make the lineart darker now, you should use Auto Levels. Use it each time you think your lineart should be sharper. Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels
Here’s how our pics looks like before and after Auto Levels:
3) Now it’s better to set up the saturation in order to delete those little coloured spots that appeared while scanning the pic.. (they’re quite visible, too, if you use the same settings applied for photos, like I did! But it is necessary to obtain a pretty representation of the original. If I’d set the scanner on b/w, the scanning woud have had much worse quality!!)
… then we should add a bit of Blur, to make the lineart more smooth: Filter > Blur > Blur
Here, again our pic before and after blurring:
The editing is not that evident, but all of these advices are useful when the lineart isn’t neat.^^
Here below is our drawing how it looks like now. Pretty sharp, isn’t it?
Now we’ll try to make adjustments where the drawing looks messed up. For example, the imperfections of the circles of Ruri’s hairpins or that terrible mess in her hair. (you’ll adjust where it is needed, of course ^^)
Now, we’ll start using more features and tools, so we need to know our window better.
The window should look like this. I marked the most important tools you’ll learn how to use while reading this tutorial. In this software, it’s basic to know how to use Layers. One advice: use them as much as you can. In each file many layers can be put, since they work like transparent paper sheets in order to add details to the drawing without editing the ones below. You’ll understand it better when we’ll learn how to colour You can add or delete Layers, and make them transparent or opaque (multiply). You can edit their order, too! Or make copies of them, or merge all of them in one. But we’ll see how to step by step
Making lines with the basics of Photoshop
Let’s adjust the hairpins
First of all, a new layer is needed:
Select Ellipse Tool (the tool we need to make perfect circles) just right-clicking on the icon marked in the following image, then choose Ellipse Tool from the menu that should have appeared:
Go to the upper ellipse menu now and click where marked (Paths):
Now, using the Ellipse Tool, go next to one of the two circles to be made and imagine it put in a square (I tried to make this clearer drawing a dashed square). Click on the upper-left angle of this square, this way:
now keep left-clicking and SHIFT at the same time, go to the lower-right angle of the imaginary square and make a circle, upon the drawn one. Make the same for the other hairpin, then click on “Paths”:
Now we have the “Paths” menu selected, but the circles we made aren’t visible until we “fill” them with the lineart colour (stroke path with brush). To make them visible, select Brush from the tools:
Now follow these instructions:
Now you can see the actual circles!! Right-click on the work path from the menu and delete it, we don’t need it anymore. You can also click and drag it in the bin icon, inthe lower part of the little window:
As you can notice, now we have two couples of circles: the ones we had already drawn on paper and the perfect ones we’ve just created. Our goal now is to keep these last ones and delete the old circles, and we can do it easily since they’re on different layers. Now you can understand how useful can be a layered drawing
If I’m not wrong, the scanned image should be on the background layer by default, so now we have to rename it to continue.
…I hate seeing those transparent “holes” while editing… if you hate them too, just follow the instructions below, if not go to the next ones!
How to create a new layer and fill it with colour
Create and add a new layer like explained before. Then:
Now, let’s start putting everything in order
Let’s rename our Layers.
It’s important to give names to the layers because it’s easier to make quick edits this way. Put simple and understandable names, so you can easily remember what’s in that layer… I guess I’ve already said it: to rename a layer just click twice on its name (in the layers menu of course), or right-click > layer properties > name.
How to merge layers
Now make the white level invisible just clicking on the eye icon, it will be necessary to merge the other ones without affecting it. It’s useful to keep the lineart on just one layer, and the circles we made for the hairpins are part of it!
Now merge Layer > Merge visible
When two ore more layers are merged, the result has got the name of the layer that was selected before. Let’s rename the layer that’s born from the merging with the lineart.
How to make adjustments on the drawing
Now that the hairpins are done, we have to adjust the imperfections of the lineart (like smudged or twisted lines). Now I’ll explain how to fix that little mess I made on Ruri’s ponytail, then I’ll clean up all the lines I don’t like to make them neater and sharper. We’ll delete those little eraser marks or shades caused by dust on the surface of the scanner, too ^^ The final result – remember! – must be as clean as possible. It takes a lot of patience, so never give up because of laziness!
Here’s the mess to be fixed:
I made a pretty mess, didn’t I? Working on the lineart, select the eraser and, as already explained, set up shape and size as you wish (just to start, I’ve chosen Hard round 13 pixels, then I’ll use a smaller one). Start deleting the twisted and heavy lines, making them straighter and sharper.
Keep where needed making the eraser smaller and smaller (9-5-3 pixel). Maybe you’ll need to remake a line or to erase too much:
well, now it’s the easiest part choose the brush tool, set shape and size as always to make it look similar to the original lineart, and remake the lines you didn’t like! and so, brush-eraser-brush-eraser… you’ll fix the line!
Keep doing that for all the ugly lines.. see you when you’re done!
It’s all done, finallly! (now I’ll show you the ugly part we were talking about before, just for fun…)
Now let’s clean up the sheet Use the eraser and wipe away all the impurities (I’ll show you just a corner of the sheet, but you’ll have to find out all the impurities all over it!):
Well! Now your drawing is ACTUALLY ready to be coloured!!
Method to “isolate” the lineart (very useful when you need to put a background on the illustration)
Hide the background layer (“white”) clicking on the eye icon, select the lineart layer clicking on it and choose the “magic wand” tool.
… using the magic wand (with the settings I’ve marked in the pic below. notice that they could change depending on the darkness of the lineart, but we’ll explain it better later, since this is just an extra..), then click on a black line of the lineart (for example, where I did).. be careful, click on black!!
Move to the layer window and click the folder CHANNELS. Now click on the dashed cirle icon below, to make a selection. Done? well, you’ll notice a different selection next to the lineart. Then just click DEL (Delete) on your keyboard.. et, voilà! You’ve separated the lineart from the background! Click CTRL+D and admire XD
If “seeing” transparencies bothers you while colouring, click again on the eye icon next to the “white” background to make it visibile! (however, each time you want to hide transparencies, all you have to do is to add another white layer below!). Remember that, once you’ve followed these instructions, you can set the lineart layer on “multiply” rather than just “normal”. This is not important, I’ve made it after, just to whow you how to moreover, a tutorial to explain this methos better will come soon! ^^
In the next tutorial we’ll talk about colouring in Anime style, or cel shading, that means without making shades. I decided to show you this method because not everyone owns a tablet, and this way your drawings will look nice like you had one
For any questions or problems, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find more artworks by me here