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Working with line art

From: Photoshop for Designers: Color

Video: Working with line art

Here we're going to see how we can turn this piece of line art into a piece of colored line art, very easy and very effective and pleasing technique. So this is our starting point. Firstly, if you've scanned this, or if you've inherited this from somebody else, maybe it's in the Grayscale Blend Mode, in which case it needs to be converted to RGB or CMYK. Possibly it's even in the Bitmap Blend Mode, in which case you'll need to convert to Grayscale and then to RGB or CMYK. Step number one here is, we need to clean up the outline.

Working with line art

Here we're going to see how we can turn this piece of line art into a piece of colored line art, very easy and very effective and pleasing technique. So this is our starting point. Firstly, if you've scanned this, or if you've inherited this from somebody else, maybe it's in the Grayscale Blend Mode, in which case it needs to be converted to RGB or CMYK. Possibly it's even in the Bitmap Blend Mode, in which case you'll need to convert to Grayscale and then to RGB or CMYK. Step number one here is, we need to clean up the outline.

If you've scanned a pencil sketch, this is particularly appropriate, you're going to find that you have dark and light gray lines and you want to simplify the line. We don't have too much of that going on, but the black outline is not really 100% black and the white area is not 100% white either. We can confirm that with our Info panel, if we move over the area of the petals. We're not seeing 255, 255, 255 for our Red, Green, and Blue values, which would indicate pure white.

Nor are we seeing for our outline, 0, 0, 0 which, would indicate pure black. So I am going to go to a Levels adjustment, and I'm going to bring my Black point towards the center, darkening up the outline, and I'm going to bring my White point towards the center, forcing the light grays to white. And we can just confirm that with our Info panel where we see the before and after colors. Very good! We may also need to do a little bit of repair on the outline, as we need to do right here.

Before I do that, I am going to merge the result of my adjustment applied to the Background layer, I'm going to merge into one layer, Command+Option+Shift+E, and then I'm going to turn off Background and Levels. We may never need those again, they're just there in case we do. So now everything is happening on Layer 1, and I'm going to rename this outline. I'm going to switch to my Brush tool by pressing B, change my Brush Blend Mode to Overlay, my Foreground Color to Black, and then I'm going to paint over that outline.

And you can see that darkens it up. Remember, what Overlay does is if it is darker than 50%, it will be affected by painting in black. If it's lighter than 50%, you can lighten it up further by painting in white. You may notice that when you look very closely, we see some color fringing on the outline. Obviously we don't want that, so another step is to desaturate the outline, like so. Our line art is now ready to be painted.

And to paint it, we are going to add the color on separate layers. So I'm going to add a layer beneath the Outline layer. I'm going to hold down the Command key, click on Create New Layer, and I could just paint this. I could just get my paint brush and start painting and that will work fine, and that's what we're going to do for the areas of smaller detail. But for the petals, for the larger area, I'm going to select it using my Selection tools, Quick Selection or Magic Wand. I'm going to use the Magic Wand in this case. And rather than select the petals, I'm going to select the background, and I'm turning off Anti-alias and I'm also turning on Contiguous.

So I want my selection to go all the way up to that black outline, so that now when I inverse it, I have a selection that includes that black outline. And that's important, because the black outline, when it sits on top of the painted area, will overwhelm it, and we want to make sure that we don't have any misregistration problems of the color going almost up to the outline but not quite. Now, I do have more selection there than I need, so I'm just going to choose my Polygonal Lasso tool here, hold down the Alt key, and get it nice and tight with that bit right there, surround that, and that's now removed from the selection. Okay.

I now need to just subtract this area in the center, and I think it's probably going to be just as easy to paint that out as using any other method. So I'm going to choose the color that I want to paint in, hold down Option or Alt and press the Delete key. And yes, we can see it there on the Layers panel, but no, no effect in the image itself. So I'm going to come to the Outline layer, and here's the most important part of this whole movie, and that is that, if you're working with line art and you want the lines to show through on top of the colors, use Multiply as your Blending Mode.

Multiply neutralizes the white, all we see are the black areas of the Outline layer. So I can now come into Layer 1, make sure you're on the right layer, and using my Eraser tool I can paint out the bits that I don't want. I'm not even going to do that yet. I'm just going to add another layer on top of Layer 1, and I'm going to choose my Brush tool and come and choose a color that I want to paint in. And that's just going to go right on top of the red.

We don't even need to delete the red. But I need to make sure my Blending Mode is set to Normal and not Overlay, because that's not going to work. So let me just go around these elements. I am working with a brush that is set to 100% Hardness by the way. I don't want to introduce any softening anti-alias lines to the edges. Where I've painted too much of that color, I can switch to my Eraser tool by pressing E. I'm using my Eraser in Pencil Mode, again, so that it is not anti-aliased.

Let's zoom in nice and tight so that we don't get any softening of edges. Just paint out those areas where I was a bit sloppy. And now another new layer, and basically repeat the whole process. Switch back to the Brush tool. And while it would be perfectly possible to select these by area using the Selection tools, I find for these areas of small detail it's more fun and just as quick, often quicker, to just paint them in by hand, especially if you have a tablet and stylus, which I don't at the moment.

I am just doing this with a mouse, but the mouse is perfectly up to the task for something simple like this. Again, you can fix up any areas where you went wrong using the Eraser. Now, all that remains to be done is for me to add the green of the stalk. I am not going to do that, but I am going to do this, just point out that once you have applied a color, it's very easy to change that color. If you need to paint more in that color, first of all, you might just want to turn off all other layers, Option+Click or Alt+Click on that layer, and then you can press I to go to your Eyedropper enabling you to sample that color and then go in and paint in that color.

Or if you just need to switch one color for another, make sure you're on the right layer, choose the color that you want to switch to, and let's go for a green there. And then the press Option+Shift+Delete or Alt+Shift+Delete, and that's what you'll get. And the reason that's working is that Option or Alt and Delete fills your layer with your Foreground Color. Holding down the Shift key is equivalent to clicking on this button to lock the Transparency.

I'm going to undo that, I don't like that as much. But very easy to switch your colors once they have been applied. So three points there. The first is that you need to take a little time to clean up your line art outline. The second is that you need to have the Outline layer above your color layers, and that it needs to be in the Multiply Blend Mode. And the third is that once applied, colors can easily be shifted or switched for other colors by locking the transparency of the layer and then filling that layer with another color.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Color
Photoshop for Designers: Color

75 video lessons · 17459 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 25m 26s
    1. Defining color terms
      2m 38s
    2. Understanding the color wheel
      4m 3s
    3. Understanding color relationships
      1m 7s
    4. Using Kuler to understand color harmony rules and create color palettes
      4m 2s
    5. Using the Kuler web site
      3m 10s
    6. Colors on screen and on paper
      1m 42s
    7. Color as a signifier
      3m 14s
    8. Color inspirations
      2m 39s
    9. Color and accessibility
      2m 51s
  3. 38m 22s
    1. Demystifying the Color Picker
      2m 57s
    2. Understanding the role of foreground and background colors
      5m 39s
    3. Choosing colors
      6m 41s
    4. Managing swatches
      7m 40s
    5. Transparency
      9m 42s
    6. Color channels
      5m 43s
  4. 41m 4s
    1. Understanding additive and subtractive color
      2m 57s
    2. RGB mode
      1m 56s
    3. CMYK mode
      2m 41s
    4. Lab mode
      3m 49s
    5. Indexed mode
      2m 16s
    6. Grayscale mode
      5m 0s
    7. Color management
      14m 15s
    8. Color depth (8-, 16-, 24-, and 32-bit)
      4m 19s
    9. Monitor calibration
      3m 51s
  5. 26m 43s
    1. Evaluating color with the Histogram panel
      3m 18s
    2. Evaluating color with the Info panel
      1m 48s
    3. Boosting color with levels
      3m 48s
    4. Auto Tone and Auto Contrast
      7m 38s
    5. Manually setting the black and white point
      3m 50s
    6. Curves
      6m 21s
  6. 18m 30s
    1. What is color correction?
      5m 45s
    2. White balancing in Camera Raw
      1m 46s
    3. Color correction with color balance
      1m 34s
    4. Color balancing using photo filters
      1m 26s
    5. Color correction with variations
      4m 27s
    6. Color correction by the numbers
      3m 32s
  7. 33m 14s
    1. Selecting color with the Magic Wand
      4m 43s
    2. Selecting color with the Quick Selection tool
      2m 26s
    3. Selecting color with Color Range
      4m 0s
    4. Neutralizing whites with the Multiply blend mode
      2m 55s
    5. Neutralizing blacks with the Screen blend mode
      57s
    6. Masking colors with the Blend If sliders
      2m 54s
    7. Masking hair with a channel mask and removing contaminant colors
      2m 58s
    8. Shifting targeted colors using Hue/Saturation
      5m 4s
    9. Matching colors using Hue/Saturation
      3m 16s
    10. Matching colors using the Match Color command
      1m 36s
    11. Matching colors using the Color blend modes
      2m 25s
  8. 21m 8s
    1. Saturating colors
      4m 9s
    2. Desaturating colors
      1m 57s
    3. Desaturating in Camera Raw
      3m 1s
    4. Creating a color accent with selective saturation
      2m 38s
    5. Enhancing a sunrise with a gradient map
      5m 49s
    6. Increasing vibrance
      1m 19s
    7. Using selective color
      2m 15s
  9. 32m 42s
    1. Designing with spot colors
      12m 15s
    2. Adding a fifth color to a CMYK image
      5m 0s
    3. Adding spot colors to a grayscale image
      5m 24s
    4. Create a metallic print effect
      3m 8s
    5. Creating duotones, tritones, and quadtones
      6m 55s
  10. 30m 45s
    1. Creating a silkscreen print look with a limited color palette
      7m 59s
    2. Combining color with black and white
      2m 22s
    3. Creating a nostalgic travel poster using the Cut Out filter
      6m 27s
    4. Mapping an image to a color look up table (CLUT)
      7m 56s
    5. Converting to black and white
      6m 1s
  11. 48m 34s
    1. Creating a hand-tinted portrait (the easy way)
      3m 29s
    2. Creating a hand-tinted portrait (the harder way)
      11m 23s
    3. Creating an Andy Warhol look
      4m 44s
    4. Applying a gradient map
      4m 4s
    5. Sepia toning an image
      8m 41s
    6. Color tinting an image
      5m 15s
    7. Split toning an image
      2m 9s
    8. Working with line art
      8m 49s
  12. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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