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~wind syllables
a graphics journal
tutorial | part two 
3rd-Jun-2011 11:31 pm



Aaaaaaaand now onto Part 2! Picking up from Part 1, with this so far.



Step 7: Hair


Ah, the hair. Simultaneously both my favourite and most hated part of colouring due to the amount of detail that goes into it, as some have commented on before regarding my colourings. |D

First, choose a colour for the first layer of shadow, as per usual. With a 3-5 size hard round brush, start shading in the individual... strands? clumps? of hair, using the Smudge tool to smooth out the edges (make sure to smudge in the same direction the strands are going in!). Try to go for a halo-esque shape.









Remember to keep the light source in mind! I keep stressing this because, speaking from experience, it's a pain to finish something and then belatedly realize that you accidentally switched the direction of the light source halfway through. Having to redo half the colouring =/= fun. Also, try to avoid something like this, where the strands are the same length:






Compare the left to the right. Again, subtle differences here, but if you repeat what was done in the left over and over, it becomes a little more obvious. |D;

Real hair doesn't work that way. o/; This goes with all of the shading in general, to be honest, as varied lengths make the shadows look more interesting. Of course, that being said, try to be logical in the hair lengths. It's difficult to explain how long each strand should be, so... all I can say here is to use your judgment? Not very good tutorial etiquette, but, uh.

End result for the first shadow layer:






Still looking pretty flat so far, but if you've been following the tutorial up until now, you should know that that's the norm. So, add another shadow layer and colour in the finer details with a darker shade. This is also where I shaded in the shadows cast by the hair accessories.






Afterwards, add yet another shadow layer. This one contains the darkest shadows in the hair and thus has the finest details, so you should be mainly working with a small size brush for this one.






There, all nice and detailed... except we're not done with the shadows just yet (or the details, for that matter). Yeah. While we've shaded in individual strands/clumps/???, the hair itself overall doesn't look very shaded...? Time to rectify that. Create another shadow layer and set the brush opacity to 10-20% and the brush to soft round at about size 75. Colour over where the shadows tend to group, meaning you should be shading in, again, a halo-esque shape, give or take a few exempt areas.






And now we're finally done with the shadows (... kind of), so we're moving onto the highlights. Pick a tint lighter than your base as your highlights colour. Since we're already on the appropriate brush settings (though you may want to shrink the brush size—I shrunk mine down to 65), mimic what you just did with the shadows, except in the area where the highlights would be. The lighting doesn't necessarily have to reach all parts of the hair, however. For me, I chose to have mine end shortly before reaching the feather, like so:






Create another layer. As you might've guessed, this one's for the finer highlights in the hair. And yes, logically, it might make more sense to do this step before the previous one, but. Eh...

So, set your brush size to about 3 and hard round with about 30% opacity and colour in those highlights! /o/ You might want to pick a slightly lighter shade than before so that they're distinct from the soft lighting.






Great! Now we're finally done the hair... except no, not really. We're almost done, though. Create another layer—but this one goes on top of the lineart. Make sure the hair area is deselected.

... Sound familiar? It should, because this is essentially what we did with the feather. /o/ Using a mixture of size brushes (3 & 5 for me, personally) and shades with an opacity of 50-100%, draw in the individual strands using the Pen tool. Try to follow the general direction of the strands (but deviate with a few) and stick shadows next to highlights. And, opposite to what we were doing before, you'll probably want to have more highlights here than shadows. For this step, making the shadows noticeable but not odd-looking is a bit trickier than it is with the highlights.

Make sure to erase parts that go over the hair accessories.






After that, I went back under the lineart layer and added some more shine to the hair.

... And now we're honestly and truly done with the hair! \o/



Step 8: Background (Basic)

Now that we're done shading, we don't need the blue background anymore. As you've probably noticed from my icons, I tend to go with the same background for each, barring a few. Said default background is essentially this:

Fill the background with a dull pale green. Afterwards, add a blue gradient (making sure the other end is transparent) going from the top to the bottom. Then, add a very pale yellow gradient going the opposite way. I then use Color Balance and Levels to adjust the colours and values a bit.






That's the basic background for now. We might end up adding more to it once we get to the textures, but we'll see. o/



Step 9: Lineart

Huh. That black lineart is kind of distracting, as it doesn't mesh with the colours very well. Time to change that, shall we? Create a new layer directly on top of the layer and set it to screen. Take a dark red hard round brush at 100% opacity at whatever size you'd like and shade over the red/orange/yellow areas.






Repeat this process with all the other areas except with the brush colour set to match each area. Avoid shading in large areas of black, however. If you don't already understand why, you'll see later on. Otherwise, don't worry about being too exact with this, since it's a fairly subtle touch.

Merge the layer down with the lineart one (if you want to be on the safe side, you may want to duplicate the lineart layer first and turn off its visibility).






If you get weird splotches like this, it means that part on your lineart layer is translucent/transparent. To correct that, undo the merge, fill in a white layer underneath the lineart layer and merge the lineart layer with it. This will fill in any translucent spots with white.

But going back on track—oops! If you look at the eye, it looks kind of funny now. This is because the eye colour area doesn't take up all of the black area of the lineart, so where it appears lighter, that's actually the eye white showing. To fix that, I just undo the merge and erase that part from the screen layer.






Ta-da! Doesn't that look a bit nicer than our plain ol' black lineart from before? C:



Step 10: Lighting

On top of all the layers, create a new layer that I've dubbed soft light. As the name indicates, we'll be setting the blend mode to soft light. Using a pale yellow-orange colour, shade in where the light will hit the most. I actually get lazy here and instead of using the brush, I use a circle gradient, erasing where I don't want light. You'll have to think about your light source and how light and shadows work here.

Conversely, if I want to darken areas, I set the colour to a dark grey/blue and repeat the same process, except where the shadowy areas should be.






This step helps make the direction of the light source more obvious, giving the colouring more depth. o/



Step 11: Colour Adjustments

Remember how at the beginning, I said we'd correct Zen's skin tone later on? Well, 'later on' is now, and 'Zen's skin tone' is 'all the colours, really.' Create a Color Balance adjustment layer on top of everything and modify the colours to your heart's content. I personally made the shadows redder and more blue and the highlights redder and more yellow.

We're not done just yet, though. Create another adjustment layer on top of everything, except this one's Selective Color. Again, adjust accordingly, and voila~






If you were perceptive enough, you might've noticed that I've actually been adjusting colours this entire time without mentioning it. :D;



Step 12: Soft Light/Screen

This step is admittedly more a personal taste thing, to be honest, so feel free to skip it.

Making sure your History works and whatnot, flatten the image, select all of it, and copy. Undo the flatten and paste the copied image on top of everything. Set the layer to soft light and down to 30-60% opacity. Afterwards, add a Gaussian Blur to it—I generally go with about a radius of 4 pixels.

Paste the image over top of everything again, but this time, set the layer to screen and the opacity to 5-20%.







Step 13: Colour

Now that we have a general idea of how the finished product is going to look, it's time to add more subtle effects. /o/

Select the skin area and create a new layer above the skins and highlights. Set the blending mode to color. With a soft round brush with 10-20% opacity, set the colour to green-blue. Lightly shade in the area where the neck meets the collar.

The point of this step is to help all the parts blend in with each other. That being said, careful not to wash out the colours entirely or make the entire colouring look like one giant rainbow, which is why I set the brush to a low opacity.

Repeat this process for most/all of the parts, adjusting the colour accordingly.







Step 14: Textures

All right, texture time! We'll be using this texture by erniemay. Set it on top of all the layers and set the layer to overlay with an opacity of 75%. In my case, it was anywhere where I wanted the area to stay dark, and the bottom left-corner in order to keep the original colours. I also blurred it using Gaussian Blur.

I then added this texture by misarte, blurred it, set it on top of everything, and set the blend mode to screen. Then I moved it around and, again, erased parts I didn't want.







Step 15: Finishing Touches

As the name of the step implies, we are almoooooost done! I just added a levels adjustment layer to add more contrast, a hue/saturation adjustment layer to brighten up the image, and a greyscale gradient map to desaturate the edges of the colouring, along with tweaking with some of the colours some more. At the end, I shrink the image slightly to hide any minor mistakes. Nothing that needs an explanation, really.

And so we're done! \o/






Admittedly not the best colouring I've ever done, but I hope this helped somebody? ♥ Again, I apologize if my explanations made no sense whatsoever, in which case, feel free to ask questions! o/;

... This is the lamest way to end a tutorial and I am sorry. /)_(\
◦ akari — i.
Comments 
4th-Jun-2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
asalskd thank you! ♥ I've never used a tablet before, so I have no idea how much easier it'd be with one. |D

And you're welcome! /o/
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