the most useful tricks to master in computer coloring is the ability
to create realistic flesh tones quickly and relatively realistically.
Nothing ruins the effect of a good fantasy portrait drawing more than
a shoddy coloring job on the hero or heroine. How many times have you
seen a wonderfully detailed pencil or ink drawing in an Elfwood gallery
completely flattened (literally and figuratively) by inept, hasty computer
coloring with the Fill and Airbrush tools?
fear, though! Make it through this comprehensive tutorial and you'll
be able to kiss those skin-coloring blues good bye. Pay attention now,
because Professor Maggie is going to share her secret techniques for
coloring the fleshy bits of everything from pale snow maidens to dreary
Some General Notes
techniques in this tutorial work best with finished, shaded pencil
drawings. This means that all shadows, details, and modelling are
already in place.
same techniques can be used to color other features as well--from
hair to clothing. The key is to have a solid grayscale drawing (or
digital image) first! I really can't stress this enough. If your shading
skills with pencil or computer aren't up to par, this coloring method
won't work for you. A badly drawn figure colored this way won't look
like a glossy masterpiece; it will look like a badly drawn figure
with a glossy coloring job.
tutorial uses Photoshop 5.5, but the features required to complete
the tutorial are also available in version 4.0.
the palettes and menus shown are from Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro 6.0
and above may also be used. Where appropriate,
alternate instructions for Paint Shop Pro (PSP) are shown in blue.
Before you do anything else, make sure that you have your Layers
palette open in Photoshop. If you don't see it in your work area,
go to Window|Show Layers to open the palette. PSP:
View|Toolbars|Check Layer Palette option, or click .
Open your black and white image file. If you originally scanned
the image in Grayscale mode, you may have to go to Image|Mode|RGB
Color to switch the image to a useable format. PSP:
Colors|Increase Color Depth|16 Million Colors or SHIFT+CTRL+0 (zero,
not letter "O")
Now make a duplicate layer of your image by either selecting Layer|Duplicate
Layer from the menu or dragging your background layer down to the
New Layer button in your Layer palette. Name this layer Blur. (Tip:
In both Photoshop and PSP, you can change the properties of each
layer by double-clicking the layer.)
Click on the new Blur layer in the Layer palette to start working
on that layer. Always keep a copy of the original drawing on one
of the layers in case the coloring doesn't go as planned and you
need to start over. It is also a convenient to compare your in-progress
work with the original to make sure that you haven't altered the
look of the image too much.
Select the Lasso tool
from your Tool palette. Using the Lasso tool, select all the skin
areas in your figure. To select non-adjacent skin areas, hold down
the SHIFT key while selecting. To subtract from existing selection
areas, hold down the ALT key while using the tool. (Tip: It is often
easier to select the entire face, and then go back and subtract
features such as the eyes and lips using the Alt modifier.) PSP:
Selection type-Freehand, Antialias-Checked. Hold down the CTRL key
to subtract instead of ALT.
Save your selection to an alpha channel by going to the Select|Save
Selection... menu. In the dialog box, use the following settings: