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dcjosh's avatar

Wreckers Page Process

So I havent submitted anything in awhile now, figured i'd put something up for you guys :D

First, a little update! The artbook "INTRODUCING vol3" is coming out soon and i've got 8 brand new pieces of original art inside! No Transformers, just all new stuff from mah brains! Would love for you guys to check it out and pick up a copy or two! There's some other AMAZING artists who have contributed to the book as well that just blow my stuff away! Yall should definitely check it out!



But now that thats outta the way! Onto matters at hand!

What I have here is a breakdown of all the major steps in my process of coloring a Transformers comic page!

This here is a page from Last Stand of the Wreckers [lines by Nick Roche!] and yeah!

So begins my breakdown!

1- INKS! Here's the page as I got it. Generally I dont do too much, but i like to adjust and play with the levels a little bit. Make the blacks as black as they can be and the whites as white as they can be! Usually I just hit CTRL>SHIFT>L and do the autolevels. Then when thats done i hit CTRL>L and bring up the levels sliders and play with it a little bit til i get it lookin good!

2- Background flats. I usually flat my pages on two different layers. Backgrounds, and characters. I generally always start with the background first. Just helps me get an overall feel for the environments these characters are going to be inhabiting! [and to do my flats, and my rendering!, i just use the brush tool and paint it all in

3- EXPLOSIONS!!!!! lol. Generally i place any explosions or glowy type special effects stuff on another layer as well. Just makes it easier if i have to select it later for whatever reason or who knows. Never know what the process might make ya do so its good to sometimes give yourself options! Never know when inspiration will strike! lol

4- And like i said, i flat my bkgs and characters seperate. This one here is my character flats!

5- And here's a look at my naked flats! i just turned the line art layer off and here's how it looks! this is actually pretty sharp for my flats. generally my flats often look kinda blobby and not destinguishable as well...anything. lol. it all depends on the inks i guess. the more black is used the less precise my flats get. i just flat what parts will be actually be seen with the lines

6- color holds! i know a lot of people have different methods and who knows, i'm probably doing it wrong! but theres generally two ways i do color holds. if im wanting to hold the lines as a certain color what i'll do is manually select the lines with the lasso tool that i'm going to change. [or if my flats are precise enough, which they often arent lol, i can just select using my FX flats as a sort of mask]. So anyways! once i've got my lines selected i open up the hue/saturation window with CTRL>U. [This is all done on the line art layer, mind you! i'm colorizing the actual line art itself here] Click the "colorize" check box, up the saturation and lightness appropriately and use the hue slider to find my color! and voila! its basically just fiddling with the sliders til I get the look i want.

7- Flats, holds, and a sky! The sky I used here isnt just some kind of gradient fill. Its something I actually made combining like stock textures of watercolors and stuff like that. i just slipped my sky there behind all of my flats

8- And now that the hard part is done! [i hate flats! lol] its on to rendering! woo!!! Like I've mentioned a couple times before, i like to work from background to foreground. So I start by taking my magic wand tool, selecting the big block of color i'm wanting to render, i pick my shadow color and highlight color for the particular element i'm working on and i'll fill the whole block as my background color. What i did for the backgrounds here is I sorta painted from my shadow color, and brushed my highlight color on top of it [using the Rough Round Bristle brush!]. Varying my brush opacity and all that jazz. My main lightsource for the canyon here was actually the explosions so I rendered accordinglly

9- To add a little pop i then used the moon as a secondary lightsource and started to paint in some blue to pop those canyon walls out from all the warm colors i been using

10- EXPLOSIONS AGAIN!! lol. I just rendered my explosions here, going from that pink color outside to white towards the epicenter of the explosions using a custom brush I have [to give it some texture]. Fun stuff!

11- Character rendering! Now for this book I wanted to mix styes here. I used my "painty" kind of style for all my backgrounds and I used a cartoon cel style for my characters. Helps to pop 'em out and just looks cool! I think Nick's style lends itself really well to this kind of approach. Now for the characters, I basically handle them the same as the bkgs. I select the block of color i'm gonna render first, I pick my shadow color and highlight color and I render accordingly! For the cel style stuff I just use the Hard Round brush [and shift key for those nice straight lines!]

12- And now its time for a little glowage! On a new layer on top of *everything* [lines included!] is where i'll do my glows, like the explosions and headlights. I set my layer to Hard Light and using the Soft Round Brush [and varying opacities again] i'll brush in my glows until I get the desired looks i'm going for!

13- This step all I did was added a kind of torn white border around that first panel there at the top. Since this page was a flashback I usually always tried to add that border and some other stuff to help it feel a little more aged and less clean than the "real time" stuff

14- And here's where that "other stuff" comes in! I made myself a texture overlay [combining different stock textures of things like grungy old paper, and concrete, and dirty canvas. stuff like that] and I layed it over the top of the WHOLE entire page. The textures itself have a kind of aged yellow tinge to it, which is exactly what I wanted to help make the feel a little more aged! And it just gives the page overall a great lookin kind of roughness

15- And here's the final page! At the end of every pic I do I always open up the color balance and mess with the inputs on all of the shadows, midtones, and highlights, to really push my pics to the next level. It might not be entirelly noticeable here in the little jpgs but messing with the color balance ALWAYS helps to make me look a lot better than I really am as far as color choices and color moods and stuff I can create with it.

but yeah!!

There ya go! lots of pics and lots of words to go with it!

Hope you guys enjoyed the little look into how I tackle a typical Transformers sequential page!
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© 2011 - 2021 dcjosh
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gamer2736's avatar


Thank you soo much for the breakdown and process explanation. You went into such intimate detail. It has really cleared up a lot of things for me.

Sokka's wave

TFfan1's avatar
I apologise for all the questions, but you're really helpful. How do you prevent the color of the backgrounds from messing with the characters?
dcjosh's avatar
Its no problem! I keep my background colors and my character colors on seperate layers as well :)
TFfan1's avatar
I've been using Photoshop Elements 12, and I've been using this and some of your livestreams for tutorials. How do you organize the layers so the colors never go over the line art?
dcjosh's avatar
I set the line art layer to multiply and all my color layers are underneath it
TFfan1's avatar
Thank you very much :-)
TFfan1's avatar
Which version of Photoshop do you use?
dcjosh's avatar
I currently use CS2
nerdaliztix's avatar
Oh wow 0 _ 0 ;; so much work, I think I've learnt more on tools and keys here than... ever. I cannot express in word how chuffed #12 makes me, pet peeve though it maybe I can't count the times I've see highlights/glow effect be used under the lines.
DezQuixote's avatar
At last the tutorial I have been waiting for!
darkonelh's avatar
Titan-Warrior's avatar
It's cool to see the break down of the process you use to colour things! ^^
dcjosh's avatar
Titan-Warrior's avatar
Dark-WildCat's avatar
I'm Transformers fan, and my dream is to be a comic artist.
This deviation is just for me! Very informational.
:+fav:ed it!
emanz's avatar
you are truly amazing man! that's why i admire your works:love:
thanks for sharing!:clap:keep it up:cheadbang:
MrMunkeepants's avatar
I must remember to use this as a reference when I try my hand again...
Is your line art a channel, or a regular layer set on Multiply? Do you make new layers over the flats for rendering, or just draw on the same ones as the flats?
dcjosh's avatar
ah, i forgot to mention!

My line art is on its own layer set to multiply, yes!

and when i do my rendering i actually just duplicate my flat layer and render on that. I use the original flat layer to make selections [like if i have to go back and fix something i've already rendered. i use the magic wand and select that color from the flats layer, and do my rendering on the duplicated one above it]

there's been times where i've skipped duplicating but i always like to do it. saves time if i have to go back and fix stuff
Karyudo-DS's avatar
Heh...blobby flats. Good to know my methodology isn't ENTIRELY beans of craziness. Interesting looking at the process of a page :D
ActorzInc's avatar
Colour holds... if my Google search results worked... is like cel shading?
PriscillaTR's avatar
That's awesome, thanks for sharing :heart:
kamajan's avatar
Thanks for sharing some of your 'magic' with us. Very helpful indeed!
CathUK's avatar
Great to see the process
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