You've got a quasi-decent inking job completed on your sketch as a result of tutorial 3.0; and now you're ready to up the ante. You've got be willing to put alot of work in, and this is why.
The best way I know of shading black lines and forming a more realistic black and white base before you color a picture is to do something known as Smudging. Every colorer out there has their own techniques and styles that they use. I love Smudging. It's a simple but time-consuming process, and when you look at the finished picture of Ninja Styles at the bottom of this page you'll see why it's worth it (go ahead and take a peak now if you really want to).
As always, first we're going to open the inked project that we want to edit [FILE > OPEN]. Everything that you want out of the picture should already be taken out using the Crop Tool we talked about last tutorial. A small but important reminder, be sure to remember not to edit the size of the image before you shade, highlight and color it. You'll be setting yourself up for disaster if you do. Making the image smaller right now will make it harder for you to edit those small details. So try not to do it, you can resize it to be smaller later.
First off, you have to look at the picture for a second and realize what you or the artist had in mind when it was first drawn. Do you know what direction the light is coming from, how muscular is this person? And then you have to know the basic shapes of the parts of the body. Obviously a bicep is a bulge of muscle, so when you shade it you should go in a circular motion with the Smudge tool. After examining the picture, magnify in to the part of the picture you want to start shading and highlighting (the magnify button is located on the general toolbar).
The Smudge tool, a mighty feature in Photoshop. Select the little white hand with a pointy finger icon (see to the right) from the general Photoshop toolbar. Then start making small strokes with it, blending the black and white together. Take out those bumpy lines with a quick rush of the Smudge tool. You can also modify and add some details to a picture with this feature.
Take a look at this picture of Ninja Styles (to the right) that shading and highlighting has been added to. Originally it was the picture above (top left of the window). And through some time and effort it was transformed into this pretty awsome picture...feel free to click on it for a much larger version of it.
I want to make a few things clear though, you don't just start blurring the whole image; you have to magnify it and get up close and personal with it. You have to imagine that it's something that's real and is right in front of you.
Check out this close up of Ninja Styles' face. For his nose and eyes I couldn't blur it any more than it already was, and I actually even had to sharpen it by adding darker colors to it. Some blurring won't work out, but most of it will. Especially when you're talking about blurring costumers, fabrics, objects, etc. See the cloth flying in the wind at the end of his sword, to blur that I used a larger Blur Point Size and made faster strokes than I did on the rest of the picture.
Editting the size of your Blur Point is also a good option to use in Photoshop. The default size is to big for some very detailed areas and yet to small for larger areas like pecks and biceps. Choose your point size accordingly (after selecting the blur icon from the general toolbar, a menu should appear close to the top of the window, click on the dark circle to select your size).
Remember that you may have also lost some of your shaded areas in the conversion process from pencil to ink. When I blurred this image of Ninja Styles I added extra shading to many of the areas that I knew it was missing. I also tried to use curved strokes around his muscles; no muscles are flat. For the fabric on his costume I blurred the shaded areas but also tried blur the highlighted areas as well to spread them out. I didn't want it to have nice blending of black to white but then have rough-edged highlights.
The main key to acquiring great shading/highlighting abilities is patience, practice and more patience. If you mess up, just undo it (CTRL-Z) and try it over again. Some things, like swords and other very straight objects, are near impossible to blur well. After blurring them go back over the picture with the Polygonal Select tool and delete blurs that clearly jump out of the main content of the picture.
Good luck, and feel free to ask for help or offer your own opinions and/or ideas in the Blazedent Message Boards. See you in the next tutorial where we tackle the process of adding color to our inked, shaded and highlighted picture.
- Joseph Lookabaugh