Create shaded areas

Use the gradient tool within path-based selections to add highlights, and shadows to the artwork.

1 I Enable the lock transparency function for this layer in the layers palette. Select the pen tool. Set it to create paths and enable the add to path area function in the tool options bar. Draw a series of path components to indicate highlight regions on the leprechaun's clothing. It is fine if the path components extend beyond the edge of the leprechaun's color fill.

2 I Click the load path as a selection button in the paths palette and select the gradient tool. Select the foreground to transparent preset and the radial option. Choose a light green foreground color then click and drag within the selected areas to add graduated highlights to the leprechaun's clothing.

3 I Because the lock transparency option is enabled, only painted pixels are affected, ensuring that the new highlights don't stray beyond the figure's edge. Use this method to add highlight and shadow areas all over the leprechaun. Vary the gradient colors and also create smaller, bright yellow highlights, within existing highlights.

Coloring Comic Art

Coloring Comic Art

7 I Repeat this method over and over again to add highlights and shadows onto the monster and the rocks underneath the leprechaun on the current layer. Remember that your paths can stray beyond the edges, because the lock transparency option will ensure that you do not affect transparent pixels. Select the magic wand tool. Ensure that the contiguous, and sample all layers options are disabled in the tool options bar. Click on a yellow region inside the lettering to select all regions of this color on the current layer. Choose select>Modify>Contract from the menu and contract the selection by a few pixels.

Envision light sources

Take a good look at the ink drawing before you begin adding any shadows or highlights on separate layers. In this drawing, the explosion areas will provide the brightest light. Therefore, for example, the leprechaun should have all his highlight areas based upon which side of him is facing the light source. That means his front is brightly lit and as a result of this, the shadow areas need to be created on his backside. It is very important that you examine the art, and make a mental note of the lighting situation before you proceed with shading, otherwise the results will be unsatisfactory.

8 I Select the gradient tool and enable the linear method. Choose a red foreground color and drag from the bottom of the selection upwards to create a red to transparent gradient inside the letters. Next, use the magic wand to select the orange outline color and then add a similar gradient into that area. Finally, use the pen tool to draw a series of path components indicating small sharp highlights within the letters. Load the path as a selection and fill it with white. Deselect, and then use the pen tool to create a series of path components within the water, defining regions of shadow.

9 I Load the path as a selection and select the gradient tool. Choose the radial method and use the gradient tool to add large, teal and green, foreground to transparent gradients into the selection on the current layer. Reduce the gradient opacity if you find that the results appear too strong. Now, use the pen tool to define regions of highlight within the water. Load the path as a selection and then use the gradient tool to introduce some gradients into the active selection, using very light foreground colors and varying gradient opacity.

Create a hand-painted selection

In Quick Mask mode you can create a complicated selection border by painting with the brush tool. This creates a temporary channel, which loads as a selection when you exit.

1 I Create a small selection in the explosion area using the lasso tool. Click on the Quick Mask mode button in the toolbar. Immediately, you'll see that the surrounding areas are covered with a red overlay. This indicates masked areas. Removing the red overlay from certain areas creates selections.

2 I Select the brush tool and choose a hard, round, brush preset. Set the opacity and flow to 100 and select the background color, which is white. Carefully paint with white to create selected areas of the explosion and crackle effect. Increase and decrease the size of the brush as required.

3 I You'll likely end up removing the overlay in certain areas accidentally. To remedy this, simply paint over those areas using black, to mask them once again. You'll find yourself unmasking and masking, back and forth, until your temporary Quick Mask is complete, looking something like this.

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Coloring Comic Art m

Chapter 8 f

10 I Take your time and exercise care when creating your selection area within the mask. Be careful to ensure that the letters are completely masked even though they're surrounded by the area you wish to select. When you have finished editing your temporary mask, press the Quick Mask button once again to exit Quick Mask mode. When you exit Quick Mask mode, your mask is converted to a selection border. With the new selection active, create a new layer. Fill the active selection with white and change the layer blending mode to overlay. Reduce the layer opacity to 40% and deselect.

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Do not be alarmed

It may seem illogical that in step 11, we're including the letters within our selection that you meticulously masked previously to ensure that they would not be included. But do not fret. All of that work was not a waste of time. We'll be using the fruits of your Quick Mask labors shortly to mask a group of layers, revealing the words once again and staying true to the spirit of what you created within your mask.

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11 I Click the add layer mask button in the Layers palette to mask the new layer. Select the gradient tool and a black foreground color. Within the mask, create a series of radial, black to transparent gradients to soften any hard edges you wish to blend into the background. Control(PC)/Command(Mac)-click on the layer's thumbnail (not the mask), to load a selection from the layer's contents. Use the lasso tool to circle the word area while holding down the shift key so that the new selection includes the words too. Choose Select> Modify>Contract from the menu and shrink your selection just like you did earlier with the lettering.

Selecting path components

Generally, when loading selections from paths, I recommend that no single path component be selected so that the resulting selection is based upon all of the path components. However, when adding gradients into selections, especially when working with more than a single gradient, you may wish to generate a selection from only select components within a path and not all of them. Use the path selection tool to select the components you'd like to load as a selection. With your components selected, then load the path as a selection. The resulting selection will be based upon the selected components only.

12 I Create a new layer and ensure that it is targeted in the Layers palette. Select the gradient tool and use it to create numerous radial, foreground to transparent gradients within the active selection on the new layer. Use a variety of yellow and very light yellow foreground colors. Change the blending mode of the layer to overlay, deselect and create a new layer. Select the brush tool. Choose a large, round, soft brush preset. Paint light yellow into the area at the center of the explosion and into the area surrounding the leprechaun's hands on your new layer.

13 I By now you've become very good at creating path components. So go ahead and draw some path components inside the explosion area that add detail, and also create horizontal streaks going across the lettering. Load the path components as selection borders and fill them with radial, foreground to transparent gradients on another new layer. Use an orange foreground color for some areas, and use gold and yellow for others. Also don't be afraid to add smaller, different colored gradients on top of existing ones. Deactivate the selection when finished.

Chapter 8

Coloring Comic Art

Chapter 8

14 I With your current layer targeted in the layers palette, hold down the shift key and click on the lowest explosion layer. This targets both layers as well as all layers between, effectively targeting all of your explosion layers. Type Control(PC)/Command(Mac)-g to group them. Expand the group and Control(PC)/ Command(Mac)-click the bottom layer to load a selection from the layer's contents. Target the group and then click on the add layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers palette. Once again, your words that were originally masked, as well as the leprechaun's arms, become clearly visible. Collapse the group.

Embellish the explosion

Continue to work on your explosion outside of the masked group, adding bursts of light and hot centers.

1 I Use the pen tool to draw a series of path components to represent streaks of light emanating from the large explosion's center. Load the path as a selection and add radial, light yellow to transparent gradients into the selection on a new layer.

I Deactivate the selection and create another new layer. Use the gradient tool, with the current options and foreground color, to create a small radial gradient over top of the leprechaun's hands on the new layer. Reduce the opacity of the layer slightly.

I Target the black outline layer and enable the lock transparency option. Select the Brush tool. Use a soft, round brush preset to paint over areas on this layer that are at the center of both explosions. Use red and orange foreground colors as you paint.

15 I Next we're going to add a bit of color into some of the streaks indicated by the black line art. The top half of the background is looking a bit too monochromatic. To remedy this, examine the image and try to visualize what outer streaks you'd like to alter the color within. Use the Pen tool to draw a series of path components in these regions. Load the path as a selection and choose a blue foreground color that is quite different from the background.

Add streaks of color

Use the gradient tool to add different colored streaks into the background, then mask your layer to avoid covering any main elements and to soften the effect.

1 I Create a new layer and drag it below the black line art layer. Set the blending mode of this layer to color and then use the gradient tool to add large, radial, foreground to transparent gradients into the active selection on this layer. Deselect.

2 I Keep the current layer targeted, and Control(PC)/Command(Mac)-click on the solid color layer thumbnail to load a selection from the contents. From the menu choose. Layer>Layer Mask>Hide Selection so that the streaks do not overlap the monster.

3 I Target the new layer mask in the layers palette. Select the gradient tool and set the foreground color to black. Create black to transparent, radial gradients within the mask, to gently blend the layer contents into the background in the image center.

Coloring Comic Art

Coloring Comic Art

16 I Drag the lock on the background layer into the trash within the Layers palette, converting it to a normal layer. Target all of the layers, except the black line art layer, and add them to a new group. Now, use the methods employed so far to create a number of new layers containing the artwork for the inset, text box and speech bubbles. Fill selections with color and gradients. Paint and erase to fill specific areas with solid colors. Fill path-based selections with gradients to add highlights and shadows. When you're finished, add all of these layers to a second group.

17 I Now that your comic book art is complete, it does not mean that you cannot make further adjustments. Simply expand either group to access individual layers and masks. I added a mask to the layer that contained the explosion streaks, and used it to soften the effect in areas where they overlapped the tentacles. However, this is just one example of what can be done. Take a good look at the illustration and feel free to edit and embellish however you like.

Adding and adjusting

Although this file is built on a series of separate layers, do not feel limited to embellishing or altering just those layers. You can add more details or different regions of color on additional layers. Also, feel free to create adjustment layers to alter regions of color on underlying layers. Once you've created an adjustment layer, move it up or down within the layer hierarchy and examine the results. It is though this type of experimentation that results, which may have never occurred to you, can be achieved.

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Unconventional Methods v y x;


Chapter 9

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