Meg here for TUTOR TUESDAY! Just a quick beginning look at colors and some color theory! I’ve had a few recommendation for color palette stuff, so I hope this is a start! Paul has done some on color as well! If you have any recommendations send ‘em in here or my personal! Keep practicing, have fun, and I’ll see you next week!
Color Reference Guide to Recognize & Avoid Whitewashing
I’ve made a tutorial on how to color adjust to fix washed out colorings, but I noticed people aren’t always sure when their coloring needs fixing in the first place. So I’ve made a bunch of colorings you can use to compare your own to. It’s designed to help avoid whitewashing, but also help avoid over-correction.
If you’re not a content creator, you can also use this guide for reblogging as well. :)
Using the Guide
Each set comes in three: cool, neutral, and warm. If your coloring is bluer/whiter than the cool tone, consider readjusting.
Examples of what might be too pale/bright are beneath each set
There are various categories (daytime, night scenes, etc) for each type of scene you might encounter
Each coloring has a color palette beneath for the highlights, midtones, and shadows of the character’s face. If you’re having trouble eyeballing it, use the eyedropper tool to double check.
NOTES 1)For the sake of simplicity, I’ve used one character per category, but characters of color are not interchangeable. Identify the skin tone for the character you’re coloring and work with that. This is only meant to give a frame of reference for what is and isn’t whitewashing
2)If any of the colorings look different than what they’ve been stated as (i.e. the cool tones look too warm or some look way too dark to be visible) calibrate your monitor.It means your screen color and gamma needs readjustment.
So yeah, white-washing is bad, but more often than not unintentional.
As mentioned above, there have been a few blogs recently that make the claim of being against white washing, yet continuously misdiagnose and lack any fundamental understanding of basic color theory or anatomy. So, the intent of this post is to help give people a vocabulary through which they can address the issue of white washing, while presenting solutions in a way that other artists can understand and learn from.
White washing is inexcusable, but “too pale” won’t fix it.
color your flats like normal. i merge them all into one layer after i color. put it in a folder with your lineart and anything else (as you can see i put the gold hat trim in there as well)
clip a layer to your folder, and fill it with your selected color. i used this mid-tone indigo, but you could conceivably use any hue or shade depending on the mood and color scheme of the piece. i indicated the bean in red of the range of colors that i normally use.
set the layer to multiply and fringe. you can obviously go back and adjust the colors now. my opacity is usually set between 50-75%, depending on the effect i want.
begin erasing where you want your “highlights” to be. i usually use the default pen tool set to transparency (the checkerboard below the color swatch). i’ll sometimes blend out some parts of the shading (the bridge of the nose, etc). i’ll also erase the shading on the eyes but that’s obviously not necessary.
tada! we’re not done yet though. preserve the opacity of your shading layer.
plop on some colors, i used a pure aqua and a mid-tone blue, however like i said before you can conceivably use any colors depending on what effect you want.
blend those out.
make a new layer and clip it to your folder. set it to luminosity, and i’ll usually set the opacity between 5-50%.
plop on some glowy highlights. i used that pink shade and the default airbrush set to 20 density. erase the parts where it intersects (?) with another part. example below.
now i boost the colors. as you can see i added that rainbow smudge, the light blue, and light yellow, all set to overlay.
Could you give me some coloring and shading tips? I've started making tablet art recently and as far as coloring goes I am terrible at it. Others art pops and have really nice coloring and shading etc, and mine is so flat and bland. I want to fix that, so any tips? (if I could possibly have tips on making line art also that would be great)
Okay so, I havent drawn anything other then my final film for like weeks so I needed something else to draw so thank you, so here’ the process I went through to color this pic of me below lol (Please keep in mind that I work with Paint Tool SAI! but in general it might help with basics!)
Das me v v v
Then after all this, I fiddle around with Multiply and screen layers over EVERYTHING. Different colors have different mood effects so experiment! I also sometimes add in some lightly blended luminosity highlights with the water tool to make some dramatic lighting tm. Then I do a few tweaks and add in an overlay layer over everything and fiddle with the filter to get what I want and bam! That’s how I color lol
See how different colors can set different moods? warm colors for warm moods and cold colors for cold ones. Looking up color pallets is AMAZING and SUPER HELPFUL!! A lot of people know about complementary colors but the contrast can be quite harsh to the eyes sometimes. I like to use
Analogous colors myself a lot (near the same side of the color wheel) And I LOVE neon colors like a lot, but to REALLY make em pop is to put some muted colors around it. Having NEON against NEON can seem harsh to the eyes and look off.
But yeah, That’s my basic process on how I color all my pieces! I hope this helped some :)
EDIT: Also!! for lineart, I just have my stabilizer set up hella high lol
This is a trick that I’ve learned, and it’s been really helpful for me, so I thought I’d share it with my dear followers. In this tutorial, I’m going to teach you how to use the curves option in Photoshop smart and easy, without much work. This will turn your edits more colorful, vibrant, and brighter, without having to do much at all. This option is especially great when coloring dark and weird colored scenes! Please like/reblog if you found this useful in any way!
Under the cut I’m going to show you how to go from this:
Meg here for another TUTOR TUESDAY! I’ve seen a lot of confusion surrounding what exactly CMYK, RGB, and RYB are and I thought I’d take a shot at clearing it up! If you have any recommendations for tutorials send ‘em here or my personal! Keep practicing, have fun, and I’ll see you next week!
Stumbled across your art recently, and I totally admire your work! As a complete noob to the digital art scene, I'd just like to ask whether you have any tips on colour picking (like for skin tones, under varied/dramatic lighting and such!). I have a ton of other things I want to ask, but I'll limit myself to one question and then try to google the rest, haha/ Thanks for sharing your art with us! ^^
ahh thank you so much! ♥ welcome to the digial art scene friend, i hope you enjoy your stay and ctrl + z
now onto your question! (if you don’t know what layer and layer modes are and how they generally work you should probably google that before you continue reading)
we all perceive colour differently (thx science) and i trust my intuition a lot when it comes to colour picking because of that, and also because i feel like you can make pretty much every colour combination work within the right context. context is key! but still, remember that all of this is about how i perceive colour, so you might not agree with everything i say.
here’s a quick rundown of terms you’ll see around a lot in reference to colours and shading: the hue, which is the ‘colour’ itself, the saturation aka the intensity, and the brightness [or value] which describes how dark or bright we perceive a colour to be.
rule of thumb: when you shade don’t just add black (or white) to your base colours, that will make your drawings boring and lifeless. use different hues and saturation!
now first things first: which skin colour does the character have?
you’ll mostly be navigating in the red to yellow spectrum for the skin tone. so when i pick the base colours i usually start with the skin and adjust the rest of the colours accordingly. if you’re not sure where to begin it might help if you first determine the values (brightness) of the base colours in grayscale.
and here are a few colour variations—i stuck to the approximate values but played around with a lot of different hues and levels of saturation.
now compare 3 and 5: you’ll notice that 3 is very bright and leans towards orange hues, whereas 5 has a pinkish tint.
on the left i gave 5 the hair colour of 3 and in my opinion the pink hue of the skin doesn’t go well with the orange undertone of the hair. you’ll have to experiment a lot to find out which combinations work for you.
ctrl + u is your biggest friend (or image >> adjustments >> hue/saturation in photoshop, the shortcut works in sai and clip studio paint too). play with the sliders and see what happens. i do that a lot myself, because it’s easier to coordinate the colours like that afterwards instead of trying to manually pick perfectly matching ones right away.
for further adjustments i like to use an extra semi-transparent layer on top of everything with just a single colour to add atmospheric light. this unifies the colours and makes them more harmonious, if that’s what you’re looking for. this is about as far as i’d go if i didn’t want to shade the drawing.
if i do want to shade, especially with high contrasts and dramatic light, i darken the base by just adding an additional black layer, here set to 40% opacity. of course you could add a colour layer like the ones i mentioned previously too.
to create an impression of dramatic light you need a high contrast between light and dark areas (1). if i want additional visual intrest i often add secondary light which falls onto the main shadow areas. here i picked a faint greenish blue to balance out the yellow (2). and since light is at least partially reflected when it hits a surface you should add a faint glow that goes across the shadow/light border. i uses a mid-brown with a very soft brush on a layer set to overlay here (3).
for this shading style i like to use the layer mode colour dodge with lowered opacity + fill settings. for some layer modes opacity and fill do the exact same thing (e.g. for multiply or screen). however for colour dodge there’s a big difference:
a lowered opacity merely alters the transparency of the entire layer. that looks pretty awful sometimes, because the bright orange affects the dark of the hair much more intensely than the already brighter skin. but when you lower the fill percentage you primarily lower the amount of light that falls onto darker colours. so the layer’s opacity setting treats every colour equally whereas the fill setting takes their values into consideration. it might be hard to understand if you don’t try it out yourself, so just play around to get a feel for how it works!
and to summarise, here’s a process gif:
colour is an extremely big topic and i’ve only barely scratched the surface but i hope that still helped you out a little! the fastest way to learn is always to try things yourself, so grab a sketch and experiment. 👍