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As I am becoming old and must pass my knowledge to the new generations, I wrote this little 29 pages long scripture trying to describe in details my coloring technique - finally a Flash version for DA :3

Though I avoided going into details such as light color variations, backgrounds and texturing.

I must accentuate that this is NOT a tutorial where you repeat something step by step, this is just a description of the possibilities and you'd probably have to read this lecture several times and make sure you don't skip anything.

Also I must say that this scripture is NOT entertainment. The actual entertainment will begin only after you eventually master this technique :D

A collection of artworks created using (more or less) this technique can be found here! :3

Edit: More than 3 years passed since the Coloring Technique tutorial was published and now I sadly don't have enough time to update the collection or support this tutorial, sorry!


Q: Will this tutorial work for Photoshop Elements?

A: Reportedly, yes. People mentioned that it works in Photoshop Elements 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0, so it should work in 6.0 and later as well.

Q: There's no Select > Load Selection... in the menu in Photoshop Elements.

A: You know when you have the lineart black'n'white on one single layer, not separated yet, try to Select > All, then go to Edit > Define Brush Preset, click OK to save it, then select brush tool, right-click on the canvas and select the last brush on the list, it should be your lineart converted into a brush stamp. Now just create a new layer and stamp your lineart onto it.

To change its color, right-click on the layer in the Layers panel, select Blending Options... then find Color Overlay on the left and select it, there you can choose a color for your lineart :3

Q: Where is the Burn Tool?

A: To find the Burn Tool press Shift+O multiple times to rotate the tools until the hand icon appears. I'm not sure what that hand was actually supposed to do in the designer's mind 9_9 but yeah, it's the burn tool. To quickly select it again, simply press O.

Q: Where is the Smudge Tool?

A: To find the Smudge Tool press Shift+R multiple times to rotate the tools until the pointing hand appears. To quickly select it again, simply press R. (Copying-'n'-pasting rocks :3)

Q: How can I clean up my sketch/lineart?

A: Sorry, in this tutorial I assume that you already have a clean lineart somehow :3 I have no experience in cleaning up sketches because I don't draw on paper, myself. But try using the search bar on deviantART to find the tutorial that might help you.

If something doesn't want to work

1. Re-read the text from the beginning without skipping anything. Most people who had problems with this tutorial, they actually just skipped this or that important part! If you get stuck in the beginning, try to perform these steps exactly:

1. Layer > Flatten Image
2. Image > Mode > Grayscale
3. Layer > New > Layer From Background
4. Select > Load Selection (set channel to "Background Gray" and check "Invert")
5. Now you should have the running ants across the edges of your lineart, that is, all the black pixels should become "selected".
6. While you have the selection: Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color (select black color)
7. After you created the fill layer, the selection should be gone, now run Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color (with white color)
8. Drag the "white" layer under the "black" layer.
9. Delete "Layer 0" as you won't need it anymore.
10. Image > Mode > RGB

In the end you should get a picture identical to your original lineart, but with all the black lines separated from the white background, so you can insert color-layers under the black lines but above the white background. Personally, I've just recorded an "action" that runs all the commands above automatically.

2. Make sure you use Photoshop 8.0 (aka CS) at least. Photoshop Elements 4.0 and higher should also work, although I haven't tested that myself. In Photoshop Elements the menus are probably a bit different, though.

3. Photoshop has a nice help system with a searching engine, so whichever isn't working, just press F1 and use Search, e.g. if you don't understand gradient maps, just type in "gradient maps" and read the articles -- the help section is designed to be user-friendly.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2008-07-03
Coloring technique by *yuni is an amazing flash presentation describing in detail her coloring techniques that she wishes to pass on to the future digital artists. I found her presentation to be incredibly useful. She has even put together a gallery showing artist's work using her technique. ( Suggested by Peekajinx and Featured by znow-white )
Flamebite Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know this is an old piece of yours, but I always tend to stumble upon it everytime I want to step up my color technique.
But I never get the chance to try it, since I spend so much time on the lineart only to toss it in the trash can. And once I have a decent linework I always forget and end up going by my own crappy technique.
Which is why I'm adding it to my favorites. xD
StrangeTraveler Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2016
this will be very helpful.
starli29 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
When I did layer>new>layer from background, I couldn't do it and my background became my layer 0. Why?
G-Rett Featured By Owner May 30, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've used some of these techniques (making use of the smudge, burn, and dodge tools), but I might try some of these others you mentioned.
Djake Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay!  I finally have an excuse to submit your art to :iconblackartsociety: !
I've enjoyed your work since I first discovered you, and this tute does a great job of showing how you pull it off.  Our tutorial section doesn't specifically focus on Afro-ethnic work, since it's more about technique than subject matter.  I would love it if you would accept the invitation to share this one with us!
dudgus2429 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015
pinchback Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2015   General Artist
Comprehensive. Many thanks!
Mornmist Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2014
This really helped teach me some of things I was hoping to learn in my junior college computer graphics class.  Thank you very much for taking the time to pass on your knowledge!
Ashty187 Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
MarieDRose check this out!
chairman-chow Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the tutorial, it's been helping me immensely! Quick question- how do you change parts of the lineart colors separately? In your tutorial you say how to change the whole lineart color, but what if you want the lineart to be different colors all throughout? Thanks a bunch!
msgotu Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've been using Photoshop since 1993, but obviously there's things I can still learn.  I had never used the gradient map before, and I can see how useful it would be to unify a color palette.  A whole new world opens up before my eyes, and I look forward to trying it.

I've always been too destructive to my working drawings.  "New layer from background" stumped me for a bit.  I've always just double-clicked the background layer to turn it into a "normal" layer.  Load Selection is interesting.  I've always used "color range" selection (this doesn't require making a "normal" layer out of it first).  Also doesn't require flattening anything or converting it to greyscale.  about 20% fuzziness is good and select part of the background to make the mask.

After selection is made, Hit "D" to get default colors, CTRL-SHFT-N to get new layer hit "CTRL-backspace" to create white layer, "CTRL-SHFT-I" to reverse selection, CTRL-SHFT-N for another new layer, then ALT-backspace to get black layer.  Changing colors would require using the "colorize" option of the Hue/Saturation control.  But if you're on a Mac, obviously a lot of this is going to be less convenient, since Macs, for some reason, leave out some very useful keys and mouse buttons.  I haven't had much excuse to use Actions, but this would be a good one, and it makes it irrelevant how many keystrokes it takes.  This should be very easy to adapt to things like Gimp and Elements.
icerose05 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014  Student Writer
Trying to figure out how to use this amazing tutorial in GIMP
Na0Dith-Kewliez Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014  Hobbyist
whoa this is really detailed thank you for putting time into making it.
NxBailey Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2014  Student General Artist
WOW! Super helpful. Thanks! :D
Spasticpug Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
XdangerousshotX Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have to ask, why do you and so many use colour fill?
Gilraen777 Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow... thanks... BIG help!
MoodDragon Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2014  Student General Artist
Super duper helpful! Thanks! I also LOVE how you formatted this it is so nice and clean and orderly and etc. :D
ilovekisshigo Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2013
thank you for sharing!
DrawerOrSomething Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Awesome :D gonna try that out ty :D
Rebehm Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Just wanted to write in and say that your tutorial is still blessing people. :D

Thank you so much for posting it!
Dtatum101 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2013  Student General Artist
Great tutorial
turtleluz Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013
very cool - thank you
Lazerus-Amadeus-Kain Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
OH and sorry for dragging on a bit there didn't really need to explain my assignment to you sorry if it appears like spam or me unloading off some stress onto your page wont happen again I feel really silly and guilty now that I did that T^T.
Lazerus-Amadeus-Kain Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have to admit that makes shading seem a little more easier than drawing it on with a brush you see I am currently studying a BSc (Hons) in Games Concept Design and one of the classes we do is character concept design I have finished my first year but all we did in that class was life drawing oh I didn't mind it I understood the importance of the class but when it came to our assignment to draw out characters from the Arthurian legend it would of been nice to have learnt this in one of the lessons to help me out. Long story short didn't do enough work for it the work I did do for it wasn't a high enough level of standards so I failed my second semester of character concept design. 

Funny story I am actually working on referral work for university as of this moment and I needed a break from my assignment so I decided to have a look at some of your magnificent pieces of work. For my essay I have to do a 2500 word report on why the principles of traditional animation are applied and integrated to CGI animation has to be in next Monday I think wish me luck on finishing it on time oh before I forget thanks for putting this up on DA to share with us all it will be of great help and use for me in my current course of study especially in character concept design thanks a million yuni.
khelledros Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Omg helps out a lot : D thanks for this <3
Abetwabe Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
You are awesome for this tut. Added this to my favs years ago, and here I am again learning from it. Thanks.
Geetas-Comics Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
very useful thanks :thumbsup:
LadyGreenJade Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Love the tutorial, i'ts been helping me alot when i've scanned images and want to color them without messing with lines ^_^-!
PeterSFay Featured By Owner May 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have no money for Photoshop. Is there a similar tutorial for GIMP?
pendawg Featured By Owner May 31, 2013  Student General Artist
not very good at colouring and such myself, but i DO know my way around gimp :) All of the features used in this tutorial are available in gimp ( under the various toolbar drop-down menus ) So you'll just have to track them down and then you should have no problem fllowing the tutorial :)
zerokid92 Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Student
Thank you Very much of this tutorial.It helped me ALOT :iconchuuplz:
Jayminpaul Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
dsherburne Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Great tutorial! One of the best I've seen yet.
Ametystical Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
By the way I've work with Photoshop for decades and never heard of gradient map :o
Ametystical Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
Thank you, this is the best coloring tutorial I've seen. It's very useful to colorize traditional art too. *-*
Mothbuster Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
you are a demigod!!!!
CutieKittie999 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
THANK U :meow:
Globman Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
it doesn't always let me switch the color after choosing the color fill layers. any thoughts on that? Tbh though this has helped a lot lol
Keaneau Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013
This looks so helpful... but I can't get it to work for me, which is unfortunate; when I find what it is I'm looking for (in Elements 7) it won't let me select it. D: But kudos, regardless; I can save it for future reference if I ever get something better. ^^;
Max-Drake-3-Rulee Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Student General Artist
awesome mate being look for stuff like this to help me. thanks
SwireMau5 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist
Very helpful! Thanks a lot!
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Submitted on
August 4, 2007
Image Size
2.2 MB


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