***GROUCH’S COLOR ART SCAN EXPLANATION***
Forward: The post to just the finished artwork of Mortem3r can be found HERE.
For those who might be curious, this is an mild tutorial on how I deal with my scans of my illustrations. I use a Canon LiDE 110 scanner that was around $30 and recommended on amazon.com. I use a custom set up of Color Photo, no auto-adjustment, and 600 dpi ALWAYS. The scanner does pretty well, but it really makes things yellow and washes out reds a lot.
Images 1: This is what the raw scan looks like. Sometimes I’ll work on tinted paper, but Suzy most certainly was not so you can see how dramatic and frustrating scanning traditional work is! Luckily I own Photoshop.
Image 2: Image<Adjustments<Color Balance
After pulling the image into Photoshop CS5, first thing I do is is crop and reduce the image size by around 40-60%. Color Balance is great to reign in that yellow tint. What’s pictured is the main adjustments in midtones, and althought I will sometimes adjust the highlights and shadows.
Image 3: Image<Adjustments<Curves
Curves is used to adjust the value balance (white, grey, and black) and the saturation (how greyed out or righteously overblown a color is) of an image. The easiest way to learn what manipulation the curves does is to move it to an extreme. Making it super wavy blows out a color or can make is really grey. Curves is tempermental so for my work usually gets a very slight adjustment. Basically this made the skin tone more true to what the illustration looks like when you’re holding it in your hand.
Image 4: Image<Adjustments<Levels
Levels is basically a simplified Curves. While you can skip Curves and use Levels, Curves really is a better tool for balancing color. Nowadays I use Levels just to get the background to be more white.
Image 5: Stamp tool!
My artwork is always very dirty with speckles and smudges on it so I use the clone tool to find a spot and clean it up. This is definitely the most time consuming part, but it’s worth it for a nice even background without affecting the color of the artwork.
Image 6: Finished artwork and watermark
I always put a watermark on my work that’s very simple. In this case it’s just “Artwork by smiling-grouch.tumblr.com” and put in a spot where it can’t be cropped out but won’t be distracting. I use Gotham as my typeface of choice and put the color usually to a grey, but it really depends on the image. I also make sure that they watermark’s layer transparency is set to around 15-30% so it’ll show up but not dominate the image. If it’s a dark image, the watermark will be white. If it’s a light image, black will do. Since Suzy is both black and white, I used a grey color.
So that’s pretty much it! I hope this helps you fellow artists out there. Please feel free to shoot me a message if you have questions, and don’t forget! The worth of art is completely subjective so don’t worry about making “good” art or “bad” art. Making art is the important thing! As my friend @thegorgonist told me, “Done is Beautiful”. Once an artwork is done, the imperfections don’t matter. You made a thing, and that is beautiful!
PS: Yes, I was watching Game Grumps, and Dan and Arin, if for some reason you see this, people in Portland say “Cheers” all the fucking time. I can’t tell you how many guys would say that to me after I handed them their latte.