Ask A Colorist- Advice, tuts, etc...

As you know if you follow any of my posts on the pre-derby and derby threads, I really enjoy giving color critiques, doing over-paints, etc. I spend anywhere from 40-80 hours a week just coloring, so I feel like I should share some of what I’ve learned with the community. So, I’m making this thread where anybody can come to ask for advice, request an overpaint, request a video tutorial, etc.

I’m a little swamped this week, so I can’t promise to do a whole lot right now, but I promise I’ll do my best to get to everybody’s requests (if anybody even has any)

I’ll sign up right off. Though I have no designs ready right now…

So in the derby thread you had mentioned a technique of creating a new layer and changing the mode to “color” and changing transparency in order to get color choices to go together better. Do you already, or can you make, a youtube tutorial showing an example of this in action?

I’ll try to put one together in the next day or two. I need to figure out the best way to illustrate how it works.

It looks like I won’t be able to get to that video tutorial till next week.

For now, I put this image together to show how choosing different color or lighting can change the mood of an illustration. The art is from a comic called Herogasm, drawn by John McCrea.

That’d be great when you get the time. I read the post and went ‘huh’? So visual aids would help. :slight_smile:

I watched your youtube videos a short while ago.

I’ll link them here for anyone stumbling on this thread first cause they are very helpful IMO.

Link to Coloring for shirts

Link to Inking

Ok, here’s my latest “color and ink” job. I’m debating on changing the shirt color to brown, deleting all my black lines to let the shirt color show through so I can free up one color for effects.

any advice/help is greatly appreciated.

Frik, sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you on this one, I’ve been out of town. I’d let you know where I went, but the sensitive nature of my work for the government demands utmost secrecy.

I’m uploading a video tutorial on exploring color with layers and photoshop’s color adjustment tools. I’ll post a link as soon as it’s up.

Exploring color tutorial

Thanks so much for putting this together. This is an area of PS I haven’t explored yet. Neat.

I hope you find some use for the ideas in the video. Let me know if you have any questions about anything.

While it’s great for people who are just getting into photoshop to know all the adjustments you can do for color, the problem I see is that your not addressing the issue of spot color printing using PANTONE colors that Woots requires. Many of the colors you show in the vid are not to be found in the acutual PMS color books. It’s really freustrating at times to want a specific shade that your piece needs and discover that while yes the color is feasable if you do a custom ink match (either by eyballing it or sending off to the chemists at the ink company), it doesn’t use the PMS system so most likely Woot or any other printer is not going to try to match it. Keep the vids coming though. Your providing an invaluable service to those getting into graphics :slight_smile:

You are 100% right and it totally wasn’t my aim with the video to provide an easy solution to picking PMS colors. I’d like this discussion to be more about color theory and how to put things together than the technical production end of things. It would actually be great if you could put together a similar type of thread where we all can benefit from your technical-production expertise.

This specific video is intended to be more of a jumping off point for some of the novice types here who need help with color issues. I find that it can be overwhelming for some to just pick colors out of a swatch book/pallet and have everything work together. Some of us are professional artists, so through repetition, we’ve committed lots of color combo’s, layouts, or whatever to memory.

I’ll generally color my derby pieces by coloring in a way that I find organic, getting a result that I’m happy with, then finding a PMS equivalent for each color. This may involve tweaking and adjusting the overall color scheme if necessary, when there is a non-match for a particular color.

I make my living coloring for CMYK printing. Much like picking PMS colors, not everything you see on screen translates to something usable in actual printing. There are some colors and ranges of colors that are just impossible. Having to color a scene in all reds can be one of the most frustrating things, until you have a system that works for you. It’s easy to go out of gamut and get back a page that is muddy brown. With time and experience you start to learn what is and what isn’t printable.

Yeah I’ve been there :slight_smile: Like I said keep it up. I want to do a long thread with lotsa pics but I start to have an anxiety attack when realize how complex and time consuming that could be :S

baby steps man, baby steps.

sTyLeS, I did a quick overpaint of your current derby piece. I think the execution was great, you picked good colors and followed your established light source.I’m here to offer you an alternative lighting scheme, to help in a story telling and general design sense.

In your version, you have the light coming in from the left, with all of the shadows facing right, while your punchline is on the right side of the design. You’re brightest most saturated color is leading the eye away from the punchline.

Do this: Close your eyes then look at your design. Where is the first place your eye wants to look? Is it that big clump of color on the left? That can be fixed, by shifting the light source to between your “weebles”

In this overpaint, I put the light source in the middle of the figures. I also cooled off and desaturated the shadow areas and added a little secondary light in the shadow areas to round things out.What this should do is draw they eye more toward the “action” and help the joke read a little better. I probably could stand to tweak things a bit more to help the focus, but I think this at least gives you an example of how to do something a little different.

When I talk to young colorists the biggest issue is what I call “pushing and pulling”. Meaning, you need to use color to push some things into the background and pull other things into the foreground. Cool color and shawow will recede, while warm colors and light will come forward. The further the viewer is from an object the lighter and more desaturated it becomes. Look at the better designers here, they are masters of these concepts, and create designs with amazing depth and focus.

Really great comments. I’m not seeing your overpaint version however.
I can visualize what you’re saying though, and I completely agree about the eye being drawn to the fleshy blob of color on the left.
Can you double check the post of your overpaint so I can see the comparison?
Thanks so much!

I really love the shapes of your shadows. How do you go about determining the shapes? I know you sort of have to visualize the underlying shape first before you can shadow it…

Additionally, how did you “cool off” the shadow color? Just added some more blue to it?