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Thread: [Award Winner] A few tips

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      Schley is offline
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    Post [Award Winner] A few tips

    I actually posted this as a thread response in the finished maps section and figured I'd add it to the Tutorial section. I'll try to add additional tips as I find the time.

    Here's a link to the original thread: Cormyr Map

    A little bit of my process:
    Using a 6x8 Wacom tablet and Photoshop CS3 I lay down my inks first and send them off for approval. Once I've received any changes/notes I go in and build up the colors and textures in the final version and hope there are no additional changes before handing them off.

    I typically start by pasting any reference sketch I have into a layer set to multiply with a transparency of 20-40%. If I'm working on a tactical map this allows me to stroke an accurate grid on another layer using the reference as a guide for path setup. Once I've layed out and stroked my paths and have a grid layer appropriate to the map, I set it to multiply with a transparency of 30-40% and then create a white layer mask for it. The white layer mask allows me to hide or obscure portions of the grid without damaging the actual grid. I can hide/reveal the grid by just painting on the mask.

    To keep my inks organized I put wall edges, surface details, etc. on separate layers within a general Inks folder. The reason for keeping certain inks on there own layer is that if there are no breaks in your ink line you can quickly use the magic wand to select areas by simply clicking with it in the area of the ink layer that you want to select. One warning though; when using ink edges to define selections you must expand or contract the selection so that it overlaps the edge of the ink line by a pixel or two. Otherwise when using that selected area to fill with a color, for example, you may end up with odd halo effects.

    I keep my color layers organized in their own folder below my ink layers and place all the tags in their own folder on top of everything else.

    ok. I'll quit rambling and come back later with some more tips and tricks.

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      torstan is offline
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    This is very similar to the way I have ended up doing my maps - it's interesting to read your methods here. I'd be interested in more detail on your colouring process. I'm guessing a normal colour layer for each area with some overlay or soft light layers for the shading and detail?

    Also - you mentioned in another thread going through old books for paper textures - do you always use a scanned background or are some of the backgrounds computer generated as well?

    Thanks for sharing the tips!
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      Schley is offline
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    Hey Torstan,

    My coloring process includes using a combination of personal texture resources (found and created), lots of hand painting with my tablet, and the judicious use of selection outlines and fills. I use Photoshop's filters, textures, and layer effects sparingly since they tend to scream PHOTOSHOP!. Especially repeating texture patterns. They make me so mad!

    I actually set up my color layers by subject rather than area, in that I may have one layer devoted to the principal colors of all the furniture, another to the floors and another to the walls. Other layers might include a multiply layer for furniture shading and a hard light layer for highlights. I typically have a lot of layers active so it really helps to label them accurately.

    I find most computer generated backgrounds to be repetitive due to tiling so I prefer to make or find my own. This does tend to increase file size, but that can be managed.
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    I'm a big fan of the selection tool and the alpha channels, Do you make your own brushes as well from personal sources as well? ... I found that I do that quite a bit, in addition to making my own texutres and displacement maps...

    I've never thought of keeping layers for color, like probably most people.. I do keep them by type... forests.. mountains... hills... etc..
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      Schley is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by delgondahntelius View Post

    I've never thought of keeping layers for color, like probably most people.. I do keep them by type... forests.. mountains... hills... etc..
    What I've found is that you can cut and paste object inks, like furniture, and if you keep the colors on a separate layer beneath your inks you can modify them on the fly without affecting the ink layer. This makes modifying your colors and shading much easier.

    For example. Use a hard edge brush to draw the inks of a bed, making sure that the bed outline has no breaks, then use the magic wand to select the area outside of the bed. Invert your selection and contract it by 1 pixel. You should have a selected area that traces the shape of the bed but is just a smidge smaller. You can then fill this area on a separate color layer below your ink layer. Lock the transparency on your color layer and you can modify it with brushes and not worry about staying within the lines. You can also create alpha channels from the shape to mask off additional layers for shading or highlights. The idea is that you should be able to modify the colors without damaging the inks.
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      mmmmmpig is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schley View Post
    What I've found is that you can cut and paste object inks, like furniture, and if you keep the colors on a separate layer beneath your inks you can modify them on the fly without affecting the ink layer. This makes modifying your colors and shading much easier.

    For example. Use a hard edge brush to draw the inks of a bed, making sure that the bed outline has no breaks, then use the magic wand to select the area outside of the bed. Invert your selection and contract it by 1 pixel. You should have a selected area that traces the shape of the bed but is just a smidge smaller. You can then fill this area on a separate color layer below your ink layer. Lock the transparency on your color layer and you can modify it with brushes and not worry about staying within the lines. You can also create alpha channels from the shape to mask off additional layers for shading or highlights. The idea is that you should be able to modify the colors without damaging the inks.
    that is a very similar technique to what comic book colorists use. You create a layer for the inks, a layer for the flats (flat colors) a layer for shadows, a layer for highlights, and a layer for effects. Works pretty well
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      Schley is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmmmmpig View Post
    that is a very similar technique to what comic book colorists use. You create a layer for the inks, a layer for the flats (flat colors) a layer for shadows, a layer for highlights, and a layer for effects. Works pretty well
    That's actually where I picked it up.

    There are some good techniques in "The DC Comic's Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics" Watson-Guptill Publications 2004.
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      Redrobes is offline
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    I see. When I have some B&W inked type lines with white background, I can select a brush and use the 'multiply' setting to put color in. Then you can go mad with it and the color does not affect the ink line. Same thing but you dont need to use a selection or ensure that there are no breaks.

    Like this - the red was put on after the black of course.

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    Don't forget to rate the thread.
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      torstan is offline
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    Redrobes - that does work, but the problem then is if you decide you want to edit the colours and leave the black line in place. You've got the colour and the black lines on the same layer so if you erase one, you erase both.

    From the maps I've seen, the backgrounds don't seem to show through the colours. Do you just keep them for the edging of the image - or do you let them come through the colours a bit? It look a bit like they are 100% opaque colours under the ink layers.
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