Here we are, this tutorial is dedicated to colouring!
I’ll try to be brief, simple, and straightforward…. er… maybe I won’t be brief, maybe not simple, either, but I hope at least I’ll be really straightforward! For any questions you can contact me on email@example.com
These tips aren’t a “Bible”, they are just part of a basic guideline which you CAN follow, but there are many different “techniques” and different ways to reach the same goals. I too seldom use a fixed technique, but I change it according to what I want to create or fine tune it on precision or speed. Anyway, these are things you will learn in time. If you have other ways you are welcome to post them and share them with others and me ^^. Let’s start!
Tutorial: anime style colouring with Photoshop
Introduction: I’ll try to explain how to colour in anime style, that is with solid colours without many shadows to recreate the Cell effect. I’ll try to show you that every digital illustration you make is just a union of different levels/layers (at this point, you should know what they are), with different effects such as opacity, and settings according to your needs. I also chose to use this method to colour Ruri because I put myself in a novice’s shoes who maybe doesn’t have a graphic pen tablet and this drawing can certainly be made without such a thing. Colour levels are fundamental, and to know how to use them well (for example choosing what levels set on “multiply” or what other on “normal” and in what order) is quite difficult but certainly not impossible. Below is the “visual”explanation of what we’ll create:
You’ll understand better after reading and seeing all the images, but it’s evident even now that the drawing will be made by (from bottom to top):
1- a level I called “white” but which would be better defined as “background”, set on “normal”. In reality this background is not needed, but I put it so removing the other levels you don’t see the transparency grid.
2- a level with linearts, which can be set on (in this case) “normal” or “multiply”
3- a level including all the basic color layers (Keep in mind that each thing you colour must have a colour for itself), set on “multiply”.
4- a group including all the shadows, each one set on “multiply”
5- a final level, usually set on top of the others and on “normal”, with lights, reflections and so on…
Next come the levels added for various things as that for the “red spots” on the face and that for copyright and sign (there are a lot of image thieves out there, I advise you to always sign your works if you don’t want to see them on the net under other names… next it’s better to write if the image is a fanart or not and, in the first case, give credit to the original author or artist).
To put it simple, the order can change, and so the settings between “normal” or “multiply”, but at the end you’ll always have: a background level, a second one with line art, a series of levels with the BASIC COLOURS, a series of levels (or just one, according to the complexity of the shadows) with THE SHADOWS – usually from the lightest to the darkest – and finally the LIGHTS/REFLECTIONS.
About the change of order, I also suggest you always set the line art over the other levels except the one reserved for the lights. In this case you must set it on “multiply” (at least I make so quite often, but you can try playing with the other settings) and, above all, the levels with the base colours may be set on “normal” and put in such an order to colour without being too accurate, but more on that later.
1) Open your file and the one from which you are copying the style, keeping one close to another. I suggest you to rename your work in a new file named, for example, “FanartColour1” or as you like using File->Save as. Remember to save often. If you make something irreversible (or which you think it is), use Save As and make a whole new file, then you can revert back to the previous save if something really has gone bad. At the end maybe you’ll have “FanartColour1”, “FanartColour2”, “FanartColour3”, etc… XD the important thing is to never lose the work!
2) I always start colouring the skin (my order is: skin, hair, eyes, cloths, accessories, shadows, lights/reflections). If you color freely you can choose the colours from the colour palette, but in this case we are colouring using the Gotoh style, so we pick the colors directly from the figure using the eyedropper (fig. above). Select the right shade of pink clicking on part of Ruri’s face.
Create a new level and rename it “base skin” or what you’d like most, and set it on “multiply”.
Now, there are two methods of colouring. I like to colour as I was colouring with pastels, free hand, following the borders but without a graphic tablet it can be boring and difficult, so I suggest you a second method, a mouse friendly method. 8D
METHOD 1: Select the brush and follow the borders XD
Take note of the importance to set the level on “multiply” rather than “normal” with these two images:
You can also follow the borders accurately (I do it almost always if I’m not in a hurry XD) or “go beyond” and then correct yourself with the eraser, or just “cover” the errors with the layer above (Obviously, setting the two levels on “normal”)
So you can:
- Colour accurately (Note well: I darkened the pink to make it more visible):
- Colour messily and then correct:
- Colour messily and “cover” with the above layer: download this psd if you want and once opened take a look at the layer window and notice:
a) the order of the layers
b) the setting of the layers (on “normal”)
c) the fact that the pink of the face “go beyond” the hair and the sleeve
d) now, if you make visible “base hair” and “base cloth” in order (look to the image below), clicking where the circle is… you’ll see the errors with the pink is covered! This because the two levels above the “base skin”, not being set on “multiply”, don’t overlap the colors below! Understood?
Alternative way for the coloring
Lasso! Select the “polygonal lasso” tool.
This is a work of patience, because there are many areas to select, but let’s start to create our selection following the line art. I started clicking where the red circle is, then I moved in counter-clockwise clicking each time where you see the point of the arrow. To put it simple, you must create a selection using an outline with some guide points. The outline closes when a little circle appear under the pointer/lasso.
(YOU MUST TRY AND LEARN)
When this is done and ALWAYS keeping pressed the Shift key, redo the previous step and create many others outlines (which will unite thanks to the Shift key) until you obtain:
We have now selected the areas where we want to make all pink (keep in mind you are in the “basic skin” level set on “multiply). Now using the paint bucket tool with the colour picked with the eyedropper from Ruri image, click INSIDE the selection made with the lasso and you’ll obtain:
When you are familiar with the lasso (It’s not needed to be too accurate… you can be quite rough and next correct the errors with the eraser or fill the void with the brush), it is easy to colour this way, isn’t it? Anyway, I find it quite “horrid”, and seldom use it . But if someone doesn’t have a graphic tablet this is the most rapid way to colour! AH! KEEP IN MIND THAT FOR EVERY ERROR YOU CAN USE ALT+CTRL+Z! It’s not important what method you use, the important is to obtain (more or less):
Colour hair and clothes.
3) Now… repeat what previously done for the hair (use the method you like most). Remember, if you think to go out from the border with the colour even in this case, there is no layer above to cover your error. So be precise!
Next, the dress
The Ruri back pack…
And then the eyes, the hair slide and the spheres… … Et voilà! Base colours done! The result should be similar to this:
Don’t you feel enlightened?
Other works of mine here