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Coloring/shading guides?

 
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Kail



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 424

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Coloring/shading guides? Reply with quote

Does anyone have any advice or a link to any guides about choosing colors for shading?

I'm trying to wean myself off of just throwing a partially transparent multiply layer over the flat shaded pic, but every time I try to pick the colors by hand, it looks shitty. There's got to be some rules or guidelines or something behind it, but I'll be damned if I can figure it out on my own.
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Casual Notice
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could be wrong, but I gather most digital artists just create a multiply layer. You can get some great effects for ambient light and intrinsic subcoloring by selecting different colors for use as the multiply layer. If I have time, I'll throw some examples of what I mean together and edit them into this message.
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smbhax.com
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Joined: 10 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welll there's the "temperature" method, where if your main color is a "warm" one (red/orange/yellow/etc) then you choose something with a "cooler" color (blue/green/purple) for the shadows. And vice-versa, I suppose.

And that's pretty much all I know about picking colors.
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Metruis
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Joined: 14 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
I could be wrong, but I gather most digital artists just create a multiply layer.

You are wrong in that 'most digital artists do this'. It's frequently used for cel-shading because it's fast and can give good results if you don't use black and white! But most digital artists (not just digital comic colorists) hand-pick colors because it gives you greater control.

Using a multiply layer for shadows and a screen layer for highlights is a good fast way of laying down cel-shading but it's a bad habit to get into because it decreases the control you have in the end result.

I frequently suggest launching into more dynamic shading by trying blue or purple for shadows, and warm tones for highlights... that's how things generally are in real life, naturally. And yeah, you can even do this with multiply/screen.

smbhax mentioned the temperature method and it's a great way to add depth. It is a good trick, and definitely the easiest way to start shading with something other than a multiply layer.

Now, I'm not saying don't use layer styles at all... I make frequent use of the linear dodge, overlay, multiply, hard light, hur, color, saturate, basically any layer styles I think look neat for various lighting effects, but I use them strictly for lighting effects after I've done my shading and keep my shading to manual, hand-painted shading. I sometimes apply the lighting effect to the brush in Photoshop, which can be selected in the top bar, because this makes great highlights, for example, or I'll use a color on a multiply layer to deepen shadows, or a color layer transparent to neutralize colors that got really weird.

So, this is more or less how my shading technique works. Here, I make you a tutorial. I'm a painter, but the basic idea can apply to cel-shading too. Basically, transparent everything, pick new colors as you go, you can't go wrong with what colors you pick as long as you pick temperature contrasting highlights versus shadows because even if it looks weird you can fix it with layer styles later. Be confident because honestly, you can't really go wrong!



I also found this tutorial particularly inspiring when it came to being wilder with colors... http://aquasixio.deviantart.com/art/Tutorial-10-How-to-have-six-with-colours-116533582

And oh yeah, I guess you might want this bit of advice because it does answer your question.



Draw a line across your circle and pick colors only from that line. Use one side for the highlights and one side for the shadows.

If you pick colors only in a straight line (warm to cool!) when you're starting out you'll always stick to the warm/cool ideal and always have a decent color pairing. This is "complimentary color theory". Then move on to triangles once you're confident with the basics of warm/cool contrast. You'll notice that I used three colors for shading... the first two were in a straight line across from each other and I triangulated into purple. This was a choice based on the triad color theory.

That's really basic color theory right there. Smack a triangle over a color wheel and pick what you like. Sites like this will help you visualize it and can be a handy way to launch into picking colors to start with. http://colorschemedesigner.com/
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TSanders



Joined: 03 May 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What sort of end result are you looking for? I would have to know that and perhaps see some examples of your work before I would be able to knock out any tips or advice.
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Kail



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 424

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TSanders wrote:
What sort of end result are you looking for? I would have to know that and perhaps see some examples of your work before I would be able to knock out any tips or advice.


Nothing specific at the moment, I'm just noticing a lot of pieces by other people that I can't really duplicate with my current methods, and it's frustrating that there's a lot of stuff I can't really seem to do currently.

Thanks for advice so far, guys, it's been very productive. I've got a lot of promising stuff to try now Smile
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Casual Notice
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry it took me so long to reply. I don't have a lot of time lately.

So, an example of multiply layer. A bad one, because my brush control still sucks and I don't have the time to lay out the kind of thing Kail deserves.

As a caveat, I should point out that I use a lot of layers. I use different layers for every element of the process (pencils, ink, color, shading, highlights), and I use extra layers for effects and for the simple fact that I have no line control and often have to use a layer just so I can erase crappy work without endangering hours of labor.

That being said, here is my example of simple shading using multiply/screen. It's not as artsy as the example above, but I think it serves as an example that multiply is not simply a cel-shade technique if you have a passable eye and know what you want.


Okay, to begin, I plan my shading while I'm pencilling and still looking at my model. I do this by hatching where I want shadows (in a different color than my line pencils). Once my color layer is in, I create a shadow layer and a higlight layer on top of it.

I use different brushes depending on what I'm shading. I find an airbrush setting works well for skin, since it usually carries diffuse shadow edges. For hair, I use an air brush for general shading, and a pressure-to-thickness brush for details. And so on, depending on the surface material.

For the shadow color, I have to admit, I do not subscribe to the cool/warm philophy because it's pure bullshit. Shadows are the result of the dominant object color combined with the color of the ambient light. Highlights are the result of the directional light source and any surface (specular) colors in the object. For most surfaces, I use a 50% Black variation of the base color for the main shadow (that is, the shadow I mapped out earlier on my pencil work), and a 75% version for any secondary shadows. For every percentage point I go down in lightness, I go up one in saturation.

Highlights depend on the surface of the object. I tend not to highlight skin, because hightlights, especially hard ones, make th skin look waxy or greasy (the example above, with its blue skin and waxy highlights, looks to me like a drowning victim). Again, I use the base color as my guid, and alter the lightness and saturation to create the highlighting effect I need, more or less reversing the selection process for shading.

Again, any hard edges or errors in the shading of my example are the result of my own issues with brush control. I'm getting better, but Ihave a long way to go. They are not the intrinsic result of the multiply method.
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