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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques! This week we are going to take this bright and cheerful piece of line art. Doesn't it just make you want to go out and buy a puppy? But it could be more cheerful still if we were to color it, and I am going to show you how to hand color this artwork inside Photoshop. Now this is kind of a long movie I must admit, but it's just chockfull of tips and tricks and features you've probably never even seen inside the program here. Let me show you exactly how it works.
All right, here is the final effect we are going for, just so you can see it on screen. And here is where we are going to start. This drawing comes to us from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you learn more at fotolia.com/deke. And if you take a look over here in the Layers panel, you will see that in addition to a few layers that I have created in advance for you, we have got the flat background which contains the entire drawing, so the drawing itself is totally flat. Now, we don't want that. We want to separate all the black lines on to an independent layer so that we can paint in back of them.
And you may think that the best way to select these lines is to use something like the Magic Wand tool, but that's the wrong approach. It takes too much work and we can get much better results if we use the image to select itself. So with just the background visible, switch over to the Channels panel and press the Ctrl key or Command key on the Mac and click on RGB. That goes ahead and selects all the white stuff and leaves the black pixels deselected, that's the opposite of what we want. So go to the Select menu and choose the Inverse command in order to select all the black lines.
Now switch back to the Layers panel and click on that color layers group, which contains a few layers of color that I have created for you in advance. Press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on Mac and call this layer line drawing and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac. Now press the D key to reset the default colors and press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill the selection with black. Now press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image, switch to the background layer and press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+ Delete on the Mac to fill it with white, and you can see that we are left with an accurate rendition of this drawing, in which all lines have been separated onto an independent layer.
All right, I will press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 to zoom out. Now let's fill in the sky, and we will do so on an independent layer, so click on the color layers group to make it active, and then press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N again, name the layer sky, and click OK. And the easiest way to fill in the sky is to use a tool that you probably don't use that often. Go ahead and click and hold on the Gradient tool and then select the Paint Bucket tool, which works a lot like the Magic Wand, except it fills in details as opposed to selecting them. And it's going to do a great job for our purposes.
Press the Enter key to highlight that Opacity value, then press Tab to highlight Tolerance and change the Tolerance value to 100. Then I want you to turn on All Layers up here in the Options Bar, so all three of the check boxes should be on. And what All Layers does is it allows the Paint Bucket to see all layers while it modifies the contents of the active layer. All right, go ahead and turn on the swatches layer in order to access these little color swatches down here in the lower right corner of the image, and then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac in order to access the eyedropper on the fly and click in that first color swatch in order to lift that blue.
Now you can click anywhere in the sky in order to fill it in. However, while things look pretty darn good, looks like we filled in all the sky region, we did not fill in anything that's not sky. I just ended up filling it a little bit of this cloud down here, and you may wonder, where is the leak? Well, it's the swatches themselves, and if you turn off the swatches layer, you'll see that we left a bunch of swatches unfilled, and that's because of that All Layers check box. Photoshop is seeing all layers inside the image and acting accordingly. So what I need to do is press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, and with the swatches layer hidden, go ahead and click in the sky again and that goes ahead and fills in things accurately.
All right, the only other region we have to fill in of the sky are all these little tiny holes inside the letter A, and I might be able to fill them from a distance like this, or I might have to zoom in. In this case I just made a mess of things as you can see here. I'll go ahead and zoom in on that area, because I must have clicked a little bit on the outlines, so I will press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac and click again. Notice that in Photoshop CS6 that little arrowhead is the hotspot; in CS5 and earlier it's the end of the paint that's coming out of the bucket.
All right, there is just one more A and it's just got a tiny fragment, oh, I missed it, that needs to be filled. I'll zoom farther in and go ahead and click inside of it. All right, now I'll press Ctrl+0, Command+0 on the Mac to zoom out. Go ahead now and twirl open this color layers group and scroll to the bottom of the Layers panel and you'll see a layer called birdies. Go ahead and turn that layer on, and by the way, click on it to make it active, that's very important. Now you might figure the best way to fill in the birds is to click inside them again, once again using the Paint Bucket.
But the birds have a lot of little stuff going on inside of them, so it takes an unnecessary amount of time to work that way. Instead what you want to do is switch over to a tool like the Elliptical Marquee and then just draw a broad ellipse around the bird, like so, and I need to lift the bird color, so I am going to go visit this bird right there, press the I key in order to get the eyedropper and then click in an area of yellow to lift it. All right, now let's return to the bird at hand and press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill in that entire marquee-- just got filled in, however, the sky layer is on top of it so it's hiding everything that's outside the bird.
All right, now I will press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. All right, now let's fill in the stripes in the balloon. I'll press Ctrl+0, Command+0 on the Mac to zoom out, and then I'll scroll up until I see this obvious layer right there, go ahead and turn it on. It's called obvious, and by the way, you want to click on a layer to make it active as well. It's called obvious because it represents the most obvious stripes in the balloon; the ones that are easiest to fill in. So I'll go ahead and click, since I still have the eyedropper here, in this red area in order to lift that shade of red and then I'll switch back over to my Paint Bucket tool, which I can get by pressing the G key, and I'll click inside this stripe in order to fill it.
Then I'll Alt or Option+Click inside this yellow region, go ahead and click inside this stripe to fill it, then I will Alt or Option+ Click in the orange, click here to fill, Alt or Option+Click in the green, click here to fill, and then Alt or Option+Click in the cyan and click in the final stripe to fill it. Problem becomes, what do we do with all these squiggly stripes? The obvious ones are easy, but this area is a bigger challenge. Well, go ahead and click on the letters layer, and you can turn it on as well if you like in order to fill in all the letters, which I've done in advance. I'll go ahead and show you what that looks like.
If I turn off the sky layer, you can see that they're just these areas that I selected with the Polygonal Lasso tool, and then filled in, and then they get covered up by this guy, so everything looks great. The idea is, I need to create a new layer below obvious, and I'll do so by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac and I'll call this new layer lazy, because I am going to be lazy here. Click OK. And now I'll switch back to my Elliptical Marquee tool and I'll draw a big huge ellipse that completely encompasses, and then some, the balloon part of the balloon.
You don't want to drop down into the squiggly basket details. So make sure your marquee is above that region. It can totally cover up the stripes, that's no problem, because the stripes are on the obvious layer in front of this layer. And now I'll bring back the swatches layer, press the I key in order to switch to the eyedropper, and click in that final swatch in order to lift that shade of purple, and now I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill the entire ellipse with purple. All right, let's go ahead and zoom out a little farther here so I can duplicate this guy a few times.
I'll press Ctrl+Alt, that would be Command+ Option on the Mac to temporarily access the Move tool and clone the selection to a different area. And then I'll clone it up here by Ctrl+Alt+ Dragging, or Command+Option+Dragging once again, and then I'll Ctrl+Alt+Drag or Command+ Option+ Drag down to the balloon at the bottom. All right, now I'll press Ctrl+0 to reset my view and I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image. Now here I decided, gosh, I'm not sure I can be that lazy, so I switched back to the obvious layer and I figured, you know what? I'll take this cyan right here and I'll fill in this region, and I'll do so, once again, using the Paint Bucket tool.
And so with the obvious layer active, I'll click inside here and then I'll click down these tiny details at the bottom in order to fill them in as well, and we'll see if I can do this. By the way, if you want a more accurate cursor, you can press the Caps Lock key, but I'm not sure that helps me that much, so I'll go ahead and turn Caps Lock off and I'll click, and I lucked out, I was able to fill it. All right, now let's scroll down the list some more. There is this layer called scribbly right here, which fills in the basket details, which are very scribbly, as you can see.
And very simple layer, if I turn off sky for a moment, you can see there are just some rectangular marquees that more than include the basket details. But if I turn sky back on, you can see that we have a problem, we need to fill in that area of ropes that are holding up the basket. So I'll click on the sky layer to make it active. I'll go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click on the dark shade of blue, the first one, in order to lift it. And then I'll press the M key to switch back to my Elliptical Marquee up here at the top of the toolbox, and I'll drag around this region right there in order to select it, and I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+ Delete on the Mac.
I will drag around this region, and you have to create independent marquees for these guys because they're of different sizes. And I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill that and I'll drag around this area as well and I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill that as well. All right, just one more detail left here. I'm going to turn on this tail layer, because I went ahead and filled in the tails in advance, and I did this, by the way, using the Brush tool, so I just brushed in those colors. We're going to do the kite together however, so click on the tail to make it active, and then press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, name the layer kite, press the Enter or Return key and go ahead and zoom in on the kite, like so, so that you can see it at the 100% view size.
This time we're going to go ahead and fill in the details using the Lasso tool. So I'll select the Lasso, and then you can temporarily access the Polygonal Lasso function by pressing and holding the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then you just click, like so, in order to define your edges. So I'm just tracing around the kite, and then out here into the larger world using this Polygonal Lasso tool. And then once you've selected everything you feel like you need to select, go ahead and release the Alt or Option key and you'll create the selection.
Now I want to fill this region with cyan, so I'll press the I key to get my eyedropper, click in cyan, and then press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill in the selection. All right, now I'll press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image, press the L key to switch back to the Lasso tool, and this time I'm going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and start my selection down here a little bit, like so, and then I'll go up and into this area. So in other words, I'm being very careful to avoid these two regions of the kite, but I'm selecting well into the cyan area.
I can afford to be sloppy at this point and I'll show you why. I'll press the I key in order to switch to the eyedropper, load up the purple by clicking on it, and then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Fill command. You want Use to be set to Foreground Color, and you want Blending to be set to Behind, and that will go ahead and fill in the area behind that cyan region, and you can see that's the case as soon as I click OK. All right, now go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac once again. Press the L key to switch back to the Lasso tool, go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click around this region, so you keep the Alt or Option key down the entire time.
I'm going to select an absurdly large area there, press the I key to get the eyedropper, go ahead and lift orange this time around. Then we'll take advantage of the keyboard shortcut for the Fill command, which is Shift+Backspace, that's Shift+Delete on the Mac, you should see the same settings, just go ahead and click OK. And then finally, I'll go ahead and switch back to the Lasso tool and I'll just drag like this around the entire area of the kite and I'll press the I key in order to get my eyedropper, click inside the red swatch to lift the red, press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on the Mac, click OK, and you have completed the kite.
All right, I'm going to press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image and I'll go ahead and zoom out by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac, and of course I don't want to see those swatches so I'll go ahead and turn off the swatches layer here at the top of the stack. And that friends is how you hand color artwork without a single drop leaking outside the lines, here inside Photoshop.
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