Tutorial for Colorists.

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Tutorial for Colorists.

Post by Aki11 on Wed May 09, 2012 1:13 pm

Hello everyone, Aki here. This is a colouring tutorial that features a method that is catered for animation. I'm sure some of you here who want to help with colouring can already colour prettily. But the method I'm showing today is the one all our colorists are to use if they want to help us with this project. So I urge you to read this, beginner or not.

This tutorial is specifically aimed at Sai Paint tool users; but the essential effects needed should also be available for photoshop users. Nonetheless, if you use windows; I urge you to get Sai; it'll be much easier for you:)

Also, you can do this with a mouse, though it will be a little harder as compared to using a tablet. But there shouldn't be much of a problem up until base colouring for mouse users.
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So first we have this. As you can see I've already finished the bug catcher. I didn't really put in that much effort into imitating Mato's style for this since they are just side characters; but anyway. We're going to colour the girl. (right click view image/open image in new tab if the full picture is too large to be displayed for you.)



So in the past, the method we used is to separate everything into different layers. The hair, skin, clothes etc; all of them get a layer to them each.



And each of them get a layer clip, with a different shade colour applied to them with each object. This is a common method used by illustrators, and can be rather visually appealing if the right colours are used. But in our case we won't be using this method anymore, in order to save file size and make it simpler to colour in bulk.



Which brings us back to the girl. The colours on the left are all the base colours used for her. Hair, skin, eyes, clothes etc. The colours on the right are the shade and highlight colours.



Before we start, an important thing to do is to group your layers, click the folder looking icon, name it (in my case, lineart), and drag your line art inside. Then, the important step here, is to select the group, and check selection source.



Then go the bucket tool, and click selection mode: Precise (or the first one, since different sai english patches might have different translations), transp +-0, 0, selection source and anti alias. For colouring in sai; this is one of the most common and useful tools you will be using.



After you're done with the above. Make a group below your lineart one and call it colour. Make 2 other groups above your colour group. Shade and highlights respectively. Check Layer Clip for your Shade and highlights group. This will ensure that you won't colour out of line later on. There should a pink line at the left of your group name when you did so.



So inside the colour group, create another group for the girl. We will now start colouring.



Using the bucket tool, fill in all the colours for the girl. All on one layer. The good thing about Sai's bucket tool is that, with the right settings, it can be a lot more precise compared to photoshop. The selection source option also helps save a lot of time without need to go back and forth between layers.



But, as effective as it is- the bucket tool is not perfect, and will almost always miss out some spots. Especially small areas. Using a pen tool with maximum opacity, colour in and fill up those gaps. Always zoom in to check for those areas bucket tool missed out. Once you did this, you're done with the base colours.



Now we will move on to the shades and highlights. Notice that we only have 2 colours, one colour for shade, and one colour for highlights.



create a new layer in your "shade" group. Make sure that your shade group's colour mode is set to "multiply" (usually it would be "normal")



We're done with the girl's shading. Compared to the previous colouring method used. This method only requires one shade colour and one base colour layer. It would save everyone lots of work to colour this way.



Lastly, highlights. Set your group's colour mode to "addition" this time.



Apply to the hair, and we're done.



For photoshop users, some of the differences you will notice is that; you will not be able to layer clip groups. Therefore, when you colour, you might get something like this, but there's no worries about that; feel free to go out of line; it won't be a problem.



This is more for the compositing stage, but I will add it here for information purposes. If you have after effects. Save out your pictures separately in png format. All pictures will be composited like this; even the ones done in Sai. There is a script in photoshop that will help save out all files in bulk, which will make saving out animation files easier. But I'll save it for another tutorial.



Import the files into after effects, and drag it to the layers/sequence. The top layer should be the lineart, followed by the shade, then the base colours.



It will initally look messed up still, if not worse; like this:



The key is to set the "shade" layer to "multiply" and then click the small checkerbox on the same layer. And then you will get the same result. The good thing about after effects is that. The layer clip (whether the shade goes out of line) applies across the animation/image sequence- and you can import an entire animation as a single animation. In summary, it simplifies lots of things.



And that's the end of the tutorial. I hope I wasn't being too confusing here...


Last edited by irisfate19 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : stickied)

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Re: Tutorial for Colorists.

Post by Memieko on Wed May 09, 2012 3:51 pm

Just out of curiosity, I also use multiply with SAI. Can I still use that, or does it have to be in After Effects for this?

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Re: Tutorial for Colorists.

Post by Aki11 on Wed May 09, 2012 4:36 pm

No problem, use multiply with Sai by all means!Very Happy The after effects part of it was more for the photoshop users who are not able to layer clip groups- and are troubled by it. It's totally fine to use multiply for both Sai and Photoshop users:D

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Re: Tutorial for Colorists.

Post by Red_the_knight on Wed May 09, 2012 5:47 pm

Dear Zucion. The way I see, I remember trying out for coloring, and it seems I got the same problem as before: getting spots missed. Oh yes. Gaps. That's going to be a little easy and a little hard, so moderate. Just need to get the hang of trying to get Addition set.

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Re: Tutorial for Colorists.

Post by Memieko on Wed May 09, 2012 10:07 pm

Thanks Aki! I'm excited to color. pikachu

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Re: Tutorial for Colorists.

Post by Tsurugi on Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:03 pm

Mind if I suggest to sticky this thread? It'll make things easier, I think

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