before i start on it, though, i have an announcement to make: since i'm in need of some extra cash lately, i turned to webdesign, which is basically the only thing i'm good at besides chemical engineering (well, i can write decently, too, but i don't particularly think that will keep me out of poverty any time soon). so, if you're ever in need of a good layout for your site, visit she seems webdesign and place an order! our prices are very affordable and i will make sure you get exactly what you need ^_^ i'll still be making free stuff and posting it here, but if you're looking for custom stuff, she seems is the way to go.
alright, then! onto the tutorial now! this one was requested by cinzina, who wanted to know how i did the coloring on this graphic.
all of this was done in PS7. it pretty much revolves around selective coloring, so it's not translatable. sorry, PSP & GIMP users :( BUT! feel free to check my tutorials guide-- some other talented graphic maker might've made a tutorial that's able to replicate this effect in other programs.
if you DO have photoshop and CAN use selective coloring, keep in mind that this still does not work with every picture. in fact, i'd say it's heavily image-sensitive, more so than any other tutorial i've made. everything depends on the quality of your original image and its inherent coloring, and more than anything on the contrast. there are some unconventional steps here that work in my case, but might make your graphics look absolutely psychedelic. i wouldn't recommend using this on whole batches of icons or such, because you'll end up with some really weird stuff.
***PLEASE DON'T COPY THIS EXACTLY!*** try to learn what i think while i'm making these instead of just copying and pasting every single layer onto your images, ok? remember it might not work for every single image out there, fiddle with the settings if you have to.
base_ for this graphic i manipped two images together, of calleigh duquesne and ryan wolfe from the tv show CSI miami. i did my usual tricks to make the base look nice: the auto tools as necessary (image> adjustments> auto contrast & image> adjustments> auto color), then i selected the blur tool and a soft, round brush and went over their skin at 30-50 strength, to make it look even and soft. here's what my base looked like after all of that.
inverted base_ now comes the main trick. i felt the image was a bit too contrasty, and i thought that wasn't good. from past experience i knew that after selective coloring, ryan's skin, especially if it was too shadowed, tended to go bright orange while calleigh's skin remained fair, and it drove me up the wall, so i often try to reduce the contrast before actually going into the coloring. here's what i do: duplicate the base, desaturate it (image> adjustments> desaturate) and then invert it (image> adjustments> invert). you'll basically end up with a black & white negative of your image. then, i set this layer to soft light. like i've mentioned in previous tutorials, what soft light does is that the light parts of the inverted images will lighten the dark parts of the base, and viceversa, effectively reducing the contrast. you can also set it to screen at a very low opacity, like 10-20, and it will have a similar effect, though screen only works by lightening the dark parts; i do that sometimes when soft light is too drastic on my image base. one con to this trick is that soft light will also affect your coloring sometimes-- which is why i mentioned that this REALLY depends on what your original image is like. there is the distinct possibility that your characters will end up looking like aliens; not kidding, i've ended up with purple skin before. generally you can salvage that by lowering the opacity of the soft light layer to something like 50 or even less, but remember, this trick doesn't work for every image, though i have to include it because it was crucial to the colors of my outcome. anyway, i left my inverted base at 100%-- no purple skin in sight, and i liked how it brought out the light blue-- but that opacity is up to you. here's what my pic looked like after this step.
new base_ i copy-merged for organizational purposes. from now on, this will be my new base.
screen_ it was looking a little dark, so i duplicated my new base to go about lightening. before that, though, i decided their skins were looking a bit too yellow, so i thought i'd balance that. i went to variations (image> adjustments> variations) and added more blue to my new base duplicate. rule of thumb: blue balances yellow and viceversa, green balances magenta and viceversa, and red balances cyan and viceversa. here's what that looked like. then i set that layer to screen; the effect of the variations is subtle, but it's there. this is a cool, simple trick to know if you want your colors to be more balanced but don't feel like getting in over your head with all the numbers in a color balance layer. i left this screen layer at 100% opacity and was pretty much satisfied with that, but feel free to fiddle with this opacity or you can even duplicate the screen layer if your image is still too dark. here's what mine looked like.
selective coloring_ i wanted to give their skin a bit more of a fleshy color, so i needed the "blush factor"-- and that meant selective coloring (layer> new adjustment layer> selective color). here are my settings:
why those? red settings are for the "blush factor," which, quoting myself on my last tutorial, means: you reduce the cyan by a lot-- this means the dominant colors are magenta and yellow, which make orange. this basically makes the red parts of the image to still be red, like [...] the blush on their faces, which is why i call it the "blush factor." increasing the yellows on it only makes it pop out a bit more. increasing the magentas is optional, it really depends on if you want your reds to be more orange-y or pinkish. the yellows i went into because... well, remember that i'd mentioned their skin was too yellow before? it looked nice after the screen layer but i still thought i could reduce a bit more yellow, so i upped the cyans in the yellows; this makes the yellows darker, because they take on a green tint (cyan + yellow = green), and then i reduced the yellows in the yellow, so that they leaned more towards the cyan side instead of the green. the settings for the neutrals was just to bring out the light blue tones in the background. this is what happened after the SC.
unfortunately, ryan ALWAYS seems to give me problems with selective coloring, and this was no exception: some parts of his face were looking distinctly neon orange, like the shadow under his fringe, one side of his nose, his lips, his ears (OH GOD, ryan's ears NEVER FAIL to give me trouble >.<). luckily for me, the selective coloring adjustment layer is always linked to a vector mask, which means i can solve this quickly. what i did was go over these parts with a soft round brush in black. this is a good thing to know-- on a vector mask, you can go over it with any color and the darker the color is, the more the effect of the selective coloring layer (or any other adjustment layer) will be "masked." i used black at a low opacity (i think it was something like 30-40?), which pretty much means a medium gray, and this reduced the effect of the SC JUST on those parts, but not completely. here's what the outcome was.
color burn_ i quite liked how it was looking. now that i was done with selective coloring, i could bring back more contrast. i added a new layer (layer> new> layer) and flood-filled it with a grey color, #CCCCCC in my case, then set that layer to color burn at 100% opacity. as always, the opacity is up to your own taste. what color burn does is easy-- just turns the dark parts darker. make sure the color you use isn't too dark, or it will turn day into night. grey is a good color to use with color burn because it's neutral and it won't affect the hue of your coloring, just the tone. sometimes i use light blue, but that's only if i want to add some blue to the image. in this case, i didn't want that. here's what it looked that after this step.
multiply_ i thought it could stand to be a little less bright, so i added a new layer, flood-filled it with a light tan color (#E5E0CF) and set that layer to multiply. the multiply setting basically darkens your whole image. make sure if you're going this way, that you use a light color or your graphic will disappear in the darkness. tan colors always produce a nice effect, because it looks good on skin colors. here's my result for this step.
last touches_ to bring it 'round to the end, i copy-merged and pasted the copy twice. the first one i lightly gaussian-blurred, because it was looking a little too sharp for my tastes. the one on the top i set to screen at 30% opacity, because i'm horridly indecisive like that xDDD for some reason i decided i wanted it to be a little bit lighter. even after i had darkened it. i'm just weird like that. ANYWAY, et voilà, there's my final result! ^_^
here's the layers palette, in case my incessant rambling made you get lost somewhere. as always, i hope you found this tutorial useful, and i would love to see your results, so please comment! and if you like my icons/graphics and/or want to know how i made them, be sure to step by wakizashi_. i'd be glad to help you with anything ^^
i'll be back soon, 'cause i've got two other tutorials to do, and hopefully some graphics are coming as well! =)