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X8's Photoshop Color Tutorial by Exate X8's Photoshop Color Tutorial by Exate
Please click the download button to view the tutorial image. Preview images don't work properly for me when submitting. =\

Out of many requests, I've written up a tutorial of sorts to guide people on how to colorize images in my own style. Very simplistic.

The number assigned to each section corresponds to the image number.

First off, I assume you know basic Photoshop commands and shortcut keys. However, I'll mention locations of some things.

Tools used:
- Pen tool
- Wand tool
- Brush
- Eraser
- Others depending on your situation

Windows used:
- Layers
- Paths

First step: First off, you open the original drawing (obvious enough, right?). Double-click the layer of the drawing and just hit okay, so it's no longer a background. Increase the contrast if the lines are bright and tough to see. With my scanned images, I increase the contrast by 20.
Next, create a new layer and call it "main" or "bg" or something similar to that so you know what it is. Create a color of an RGB of 222/222/222 and fill the whole main layer with it. I find that this gray color is nice for changing the opacity and such of colors if they come out to obright or dark and whatnot. Then, make this layer invisible.

And now...

1) Create a new layer and name it "outline" -- this layer is above ALL OTHERS, always (in some cases, the shading layers can go over this, though). Now, start with the pen tool. And set the opacity on the layer to 0%, as the pen tool leaves this annoying fill when going around that gets in the way of things. Trace around your picture as depicted in this image (around the outside, don't go in at all. You can start inward as I did, though). It doesn't need to be perfect, as I can guarantee the path here comes out nicely. But, if you want to be perfect with it and make tons of anchor points around, go ahead. You can also trace small pieces at a time, but it does technically "waste" time as you have to keep converting the paths and all, and deleting the shape layers.

2) Keep tracing around the whole image until you come to the end, as depicted here. Now what? Make a turn now, and go around the other side of the lines. =P I've circled where I made my turn, and I took this image after a bit of progress so you can see how the u-turn around this image is supposed to go.

3) As you go around, you can turn outward to select around other lines, then turn back around, as you can see I did here with the claws. And... uh oh. I need to continue on to the right, but there's no way to click over to the right without it screwing up the line. Of course, you could do that and fix it later with the brush tool, or...

4) ...zoom in a ton, and click into the filled area, then back down and continue. =P

5) I have finally come around most of the image. And now? Well, click the first point you began with to close the path and complete your path.

6) Time to convert our path. Click the path layer, and right-click your path and choose "Make selection". After you do that, the dancing ants will take the place of the lines that make up the path.

7) Now, create the outline layer if you haven't already. Then, rasterize the layer of the path, or click in the picture with the fill tool to get a notification asking you to do so. Afterwards, make sure the outline layer is selected, and click in the image with the fool till, using a RGB of 0/0/0 (pure black). This'll fill the whole selected area.

8) Now, you can deselect. Zoom out to get a good view of your image, then make the bg layer visible again to see a clear definition of the outline so far. See any errors? Erase them with the eraser tool, and go back over the erased area with the pen tool, repeating the same steps you did to make the path you have now. One error I see I took into account of circling.

9) Here's the circled area, zoomed in. The arm curved outward too much, so I erased it and redid the path. It should look better this time.

10) After fixing all your errors, I'm sure you'll notice all the little breaks in the outline where you made u-turns. Connect those small areas using the brush tool, preferably at a hardness of 50%. Brush size depends on the size of your image and outline (I usually use size 1/2).

11) Finish the outline, now. "But, wait. There's this kind of line that goes from thick to short, what do I do?" Well, not a problem. This image has a few of those lines, too. Observe.
Outline as normal, but when coming around, make it as thin as you can where it goes thin. After the fill, the black will gradually lighten to gray to give it that thing and sharp look.

12) Fixed all your errors? Did the whole outline? If so, zoom out, turn on the bg, and check it out.

13) Now, it's fill time. This is quite easy. Create a new layer and name it of the color you're going to fill first. Now, using the wand tool, with the outline layer selected, click in the area that uses the color you want. Hold shift and click to select multiple areas. After selected, go to the select menu... to modify, then to expand; and expand the selection by a pixel or two (this makes the selection grow into the outline a bit, but has your desired areas completely selected. But, since the outline layer is above all others, that's not affected when you fill) select the layer of the color, and then just fill in the selection.

14) Filled all the areas? Good, next step. Now, there are probably tiny corners that didnt get filled. Use the brush tool to do that until the colors are placed. With that done, try this. Turn off the outline for a second. Interesting, right? I always figured you could do this to... "paint" things that can be placed on texture or something.

15) Time for the final phase. At least, MY final phase in my work. The shading. Create a new layer called shading, and set its opacity from somewhere to 15-25%. Screw around with it after shading is complete to get your preferred look. Also, make the main bg invisible again if you have shading on the main drawing, so you can follow it; and boost the contrast up the arse, like about 60, so you can see every shaded area on the drawing.
The color used for this layer is pure black. Take note this shading layer doesn't look right on everything, so you may need to make other layers with higher and/or lower opacities so it looks right over some colors. I'm lazy, though, and always use one.
Now, how do you shade? Why, same way you did the outline. Use the pen tool. Some people wondered how I did the spiky shading in my colorings. Easy. Just like how I taught you with the thin lines above, that's all you do. Just putline spiky, going thin at the top. You can shade that way on anything if you want, but it's best in cacses with animals, like Zangoose here.
After meeting the end of the area where it shades, if it's at the edge, curve around to the front by going through the outline.

16) After it's all shaded... you can do a "lighting" too. I recommend using a brighter color of what you'll be brightening, but pure white works on some colors with around 60-80% opacity.
Technically, the image is done.

17) Final step. Turn the bg layer back on, so the drawing is hidden. Also make sure everything else needed in this image is on. Starting at the top layer (outline), keep merging down the layers until there is the image, the bg, and the drawing left. Now. Get the wand tool, and on the image layer, select the outside area (background), and any multiple areas that didn't get selected (parts of the bg between areas, separated from the rest). Then, click down to the bg layer, and hit the delete key. There you go, the image is done!

18) You may now copy the image and paste it into scenery, or whatever. What I do with colorings with no scenery, is just make a layer below the image and fill it with white, save as png, and submit it to dA.
Welp, your image is complete, either way. :)

There are many ways to color, and this is only one of the more simpler ones. I hope this was informative to you, as it was a pain writing this and taking all those screenies. =P

Zangoose © Nintendo
Add a Comment:
melsr007 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Hobbyist
NICE! :-)
GexomanTV Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey,you colored a shiny zangoose!Yay.
RogueShadowNinja Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2009
I would probably do this, the only problem is, I don't think that this would work on photoshop elements 7.
skx Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank You for making this.

I been looking for simple tuts for quick refs.
Exate Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2008
No problem. :)
Anti-pathy Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
thanks for the awesome tutorial. I just made my own drawing... and it turned out great, thanks to you. :D
Exate Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2008
Thanks. Glad to hear it helped you. :thumbsup:;)
MikeAlibi Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2007
As soon as photoshop is on my laptop. i am going to study this some more.
JetMalek Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2007  Professional General Artist
This is such a great tutorial. I was able to follow it well with thanks to all that you did. It's a different approach from what I've done before (modeled sort of after =jisuk's tutorial, which you can see here: [link] ), and so it has me curious to give it a try.

I've never used the pen tool for outlining and felt any good about the results (I tried basically the same thing in Adobe Illustrator, and hated how I did it), so your comments on making certain areas thinner and how you did so is really helpful.
SaralaAnne Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2007  Hobbyist
This is a lovely tutorial, very discriptive. I however am just retarded and still can't get it.
Exate Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2007
Well, you have to know the Photoshop basics, first. =P

Then again, I've always considered myself a crappy explainer. I'm pretty sure I could have made this tutorial better if I tried, but I'm just... too lazy. :P
SaralaAnne Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2007  Hobbyist
LoL. Yeah, I know the basics, but I'm just a little...slow sometimes. I'm still trying though!
GreenChronic Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Man... Ive been trying to color in Ps forever... Its always the pen tool that give me trouble. Im definally going to study this tutorial.
Spade03 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2007
Im going to have ta look this one up. When I get a faster computer
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
July 31, 2007
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