Color Enters the Picture
Photoshop tutorials including Photoshop and Fireworks. Tutorials for digital image editors and digital colorers. How to use Adobe Photoshop, how to digitally color images and artwork.Now is where it gets alot more exciting, but the pace slows down a bit to in comparison with the previous processes we completed to prepare the picture for color. Its a good black and white picture with nice highlighting and shading, and now we're going to add color to it.

There is alot to cover as far as coloring a picture, so we're just going to go through the steps of coloring Ninja Styles' leg wraps around his ankles and shin. Like most projects, you have to study the artwork before you jump in. One of the first things I did was select a color that I thought would be a good neutral red; not to bright and not to dark. In selecting your color (using the color boxes as shown to the right) remember that coloring an already shaded and highlighted page includes creating more Layers and editting their Opacity. So don't choose to dark of colors that will cover up your inked lines.

We'll get into Opacity later, but for now we're going to add a new Layer to the image we're editting. In many cases, you might have as many as fifteen or twenty layers, so be sure to name them. Right click on the layer in the [LAYER WINDOW > LAYER PROPERTIES] and then a window will pop up where you can rename the layer.

Their are thousands of ways to add a Layer to an image, the easiest is to just go to [LAYER > NEW > LAYER]. The default setting is that new layers will be put on top (think of those transparency pages in encyclopedias that you flip through to slowly show the parts of the body). Once you understand the idea of layers, it's easy to see how they can be of great importance; especially when coloring a picture.

We've got our new Layer created, now we're going to use the Polygonal Select tool to outline the wraps on Ninja Styles' right leg. Usually you want the outline to be right on the edge of the black lines but not past them. Once you've got your area selected, use the Paint Bucket tool (see to the right) to fill in the area with the color that you want. An important note is that you must have the Layer that you just created selected before doing this or it will cover up the original artwork. (simply click on the newly created layer in the Layers Window. Now wait a second, what on earth is going on here...this looks horrible. I know, we're not done; next we need to edit the Layer Properties.

Again, make sure you still have the correct layer selected, we're working with the newest one that should only have one color in one spot on it. If it's selected then we can get to its Properties by going to [LAYER > LAYER STYLE > BLENDING OPTIONS].

There are a few things we want to take care of in the Layer Properties window. First off, on the left bar of choices, click on [BLENDING PROPERTIES]. The Layer Properties window should have the image in it. Where it says Blend Mode: Normal; click on the drop down arrow and change Normal to Color.

Wow, I know; it looks alot better doesn't it? But we're not done. Now in that same little area, right under Blend Mode, you should see Opacity. Start to decrease it from 100% to about 80% or so and see how the picture looks. Play around with the Opacity until it looks right to you; but don't spend to much time on might have to come back and change it a little later.

Again, we're still in the Layer Properties window, but on its navigation bar select Bevel and Emboss. Add a Pillow Emboss to the layer and increase the Soften amount to about 80%. Note the area in each of these settings where it says Global Lighting next to the Circle where you pick what direction your light is coming from. If at all possible, try to unselect the box next to it whenever you can remember to. If you don't it usually ends up leading to more problems further down the road.

Note that you can also mess with the settings known as Inner Shadow to help change the appearance. Most of the time, Bevel and Emboss is only used to help bring out some texture and highlighting on muscles. Alot of things don't look right with it, and no matter what you use it on you always have to play with the Depth, Size, Opacity, Lighting and Softness attributes that are incorporated with it.

The Inner Shading feature is usually used with parts of the picture that are shaded quite a bit more than the rest, or if you want the color to look a little different then you would play with this. Other than that, don't mess with to many of the Layer Styles properties or you might end up screwing it up.

- Joseph Lookabaugh

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