Modes and Color Space

Most comic work is accomplished in RGB or CMYK mode with Photoshop. Each of these modes has a distinct color space with certain advantages and disadvantages, as discussed in previous chapters. What's important to note is that many of the modes that Photoshop supports have their own color space and translating a document between modes can truncate your color data. Photoshop uses LAB color as it's own internal color model, so it's becomes important to understand some of the advantages you can get...

File Formats

When saving your file, use the format which will best serve what you need to do. Some formats will alter your pixels during a conversion while others compress your image to save space. These are refered to as lossy formats because once you save image it will never be quite the same. Others formats leave your information intact so are refered to as non-lossy. Other file formats are compatible with other image modes, programs or even other computer platforms. To keep it all straight, here's a...

Setting up your image for coloring

Once you've got your clean scan you're ready to set up the image for coloring If you were to immediately begin coloring, any work you did could easily smudge or overwrite your linework. To keep the linework intact we'll elevate it to its own layer where it can still be seen but where you won't inadvertently mark it up. All your coloring will actually take place underneath your line work To do this, convert your entire image to grayscale image> mode> grayscale . Then immediately convert from...

Photoshopffor Comics Master Course PDuk.

Photoshop for Comics Master Course First Edition Photoshop for Comics Master Course published by Radio Comix, PMB 117 San Antonio, TX 78216. All contents are copyright 2003 Pat Duke. Adobe Photoshop is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated. All brand names and product names used in this book are trademarks, registered trademarks or trade names of their respective holders. Nothing from this book may be reproduced without the express written consent of Radio Comix, except for...

Color Space Theory

Computers are binary they store data in a series of 1's and 0's refered to as bits. Eight consecutive bits is refered to as byte. 1024 of these bytes is refered to as a kilobyte. 1024 kilobytes is refered to as a megabyte. For those curious this continues in the exact same manner with Gigabyte, Terabyte, Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte and finally Yottabyte. Graphics often described by the number bits used to define each pixel. A 1-bit image is monochrome. An 8-bit image supports 256 colors or...

I'm done coloring, now what?

Once you're finished coloring your image, you've still got at least one step left. If you'll recall when we set up your image in chapter 2, we floated your lineart over the background. Now that you've finished coloring it's time to merge the linework with the background so it can be sent to the printer. Unfortunately, most printers can't print your documents straight from a native Photoshop file, so they'll have to be resaved into a format they can deal with. In most cases printers ask for .TIF...

The Channels Method

Methods already discussed, but differs in that instead of putting the lineart on its own layer it goes on a channel. Follow the identical steps for scanning and converting the image from bitmap to grayscale and then to RGB. The linework can then be cut ctrl X . But instead of pasting it immedietly, bring up the floating channels palette window> channels and create a new channel using the create new channel button, which looks like a pad of paper. The new channel will be automatically be...

4 Coloring Part 3 - Anime-Style Coloring

That's the idea behind these visual tutorials. You can learn more about coloring so much more effectively by watching a colorist work rather than by reading a bunch of dry instructions. So, I've captured my entire Photoshop workspace as I worked and annotated it so you can see everything step-by-step. Cel-styled color is an excellent place to being learning about coloring. Composed of flat colors usually only two or three levels of shading which, when done...

5 Coloring Part 4 - Cuts-styled Coloring

Comic Coloring Airbrush Tutorial

Cuts-styled coloring is a little more complicated than anime color. Cuts refer to the narrow selections made with the lasso tool. These selections are then airbrushed and, when built up in layers, produce a very slick highlight. Cut-styled coloring is pretty popular you see it a lot in commerical comic coloring. Currently this style dominates the superhero genre and is probably the the style most synonimous with computer coloring. Understandably, there's a lot of interest in this style. Despite...

What is DPI? Picking the right resolution.

For those who don't know, the acronym DPI stands for dots per inch. Since all digital images are composed of pixels, DPI simply refers to the number of pixels which define one square inch of canvas. The higher the number of pixels, the more detailed the image can be. Most professional coloring work is done at around 400 DPI. This means that each and every inch of the image is made up of 400 pixels horizontally and 400 pixels vertically. An insufficient number of pixels will make your image...

Knockouts or "Holding a line in color" (aka Color Holds)

A knockout is an effect where you replace the normally black line in an image with another color. This can be a very handy effect. It can be used to show an object is transparent, glowing or just to give an image a softer feel. If you use it on characters they tend to look more like they were animated, which can sometimes be appropriate. I use it quite a bit for distant background objects to give them a sense of distance and atmospheric perspective. Knockouts are also an excellent technique for...

Resolution and Screen Tones

Screen Tones Dots

In our example you might have noticed we used a very high resolution. In fact, the small 2 inch pattern we made was about 4 megs. A full comic page done at a similar resolution could be as large as 70 megs There's a specific reason for this a high resolution is needed to prevent a moire pattern. Pixels are square. Dots aren't. Since Photoshop images are comprised of large numbers of square pixels, to render a small dot and make it reasonably round requires a fair number of pixels. Let's zoom in...

Screen Tones

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is How can I create Zip-A-Tone in Photoshop For those of you who are not familiar with Zip-A-Tone, it's the trademark name for a now defunct screen tone that came on transparent sheets. Even though Zip-A-Tone isn't manufactured anymore people still use its name to refer to a wide range of similar products. Zip, as it's commonly refered to by artists, is a clear adhesive sheet with a halftone on one side and a sticky, adhesive on the other. By...

Trapping

Photoshop Trapping

Printing is a four plate process, one plate for each for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, otherwise known as Key. Each color page has to be run under each of the plates, so registration becomes a big issue. If the paper shifts even a little, there will be gaps between the linework and the color. While you design something to look like it does on the left, misregistration at the printer may make the final version look like the example on the right. Your printer may ask you to trap your images....

Television Interlacing

Interlace Pattern Photoshop

Here's a cool effect which is a variant of the speedlines technique simulating the interlacing of a television screen. To start, create a new document ctrl N that is 4 pixels by 4 pixels at 72 DPI. Magnify the tiny document to 1600 so you can see it easily. With the Pencil tool B or shift B fill the top half of the image with black. It should look like this when you're done Next, we're going to capture this little tile as a pattern. Select All ctrl A and then edit gt define pattern . This...

Anti-aliasing, the secret menace of coloring!

This is antialiasing. Avoid this. Notice the blurred lines. This is antialiasing. Avoid this. Notice the sharp edge with no gray pixels. This is perfect Notice the sharp edge with no gray pixels. This is perfect Anti-aliasing refers to the gray pixels adjacent to sharp black lines. These gray pixels smooth rough edges, softening the line. Photoshop has a habit of assuming you want this effect. In low-resolution images it helps reduce the visual effect of jaggies....

Flattening Your Image

To flatten your image, simply open the floating layers palette windows gt layers and open the pull-down menu on the side. Choose Flatten Image. Your image should now only be one layer. It will now be possible to convert the image to CMYK for printing. image gt mode gt cmyk color . It is important to only send files to the printer which contain no layers because most printing software can't deal with them. With the layers gone, you can also save the file properly in several new formats,...

Speedlines

Comic Speed Lines Photoshop

Speedlines are a graphic way to indicate motion. They're used a lot in Japanese comics, but they're starting to enter the visual vocabulary of comics everywhere. Speedlines look great, the only problem is rendering all those lines can take a lot of time. Here's a great technique for making them quickly in Photoshop. Create a new document ctrl N with the above settings. Note that the width is only 1 pixel, while the height is 10 inches. This is going to create a strange looking document, since...

Coloring in RGB or CMYK? The Great Controversy

Divide Cmyk Colour Pick

You might have noticed all of the techniques I've outlined set up the images for being colored in RGB mode. However, for professional offset printing files must be in CMYK mode. In fact, many colorists prefer to color directly in CMYK mode. Do you convert the image to CMYK before or after coloring This is a hotly debated topic amongst colorists. RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue, for the three channels that all the colors are divided into. RGB is the native color mode of computers, allowing...

The Lasso Tool

The actual techniques behind coloring are relatively simple and easy to learn. Mastering them, however, will take practice. The primary tools used in coloring are the Lasso Tool L , the Airbrush B and the Fill command shift backspace delete . The Lasso Tool is a selection device, acting like digital frisket. Areas which are selected can be edited. Areas outside the selection won't be edited. The Lasso Tool works in several different ways. First and foremost is in freehand mode. Freehand mode...