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My Layer Order by Robaato My Layer Order by Robaato
Sohhhhh. I've been getting quite the number of inquiries as to how I color/setup my layers.

I already uploaded this one, but that one is probably complicating for beginning peeps to understand. So I've provided you with a bare-bones setup as to how I order my layers and their settings. This is for both Cel-Shades AND blended/Airbrushed styles.

DISCLAIMER: There's no one way to cel-shade/paint. Sometimes you can pick each individual color, others you can color it in manually with a brush, paint from a palette, etc. This is also for PHOTOSHOP USERS. I don't use GIMP or Painter, but the same rules apply.

TOOLS I USE:

:bulletblue: Lasso Tool - (Usually for cels) I mainly use the freeform lasso tool to select my sections where I will be placing the light/shadow/flats. For straighter sections, I'll switch to the Polygonal one.

:bulletblue: Custom Blender - I use that for blending colors together, usually for painty pieces. Either I slap down some colors and blend them or I'll blend from a filled selection. Either case, it's pretty nifty and valuable. I show how to make this in that same tutorial.

:bulletblue: Layer Styles - These are settings you can apply to a layer to give it a particular effect (glows, skin tone variance, noise, etc.) I slightly touched upon this on this process. I'm not gonna hold your hand on that one, you should experiment for yourself.

:bulletblue: Gradients - The use of the gradient tool to, obviously, make color/shadow/light gradations. Again, experiment.

Now when I color, Lighting and Value is key and forefront in my mind. If you don't know your values, then you're not going to get very far in your colors. So let me breakdown each layer to show you my thought process:

:bulletred: MAIN LINEART - I usually put my lineart layer on Multiply. Meaning that any color value that passes under it will be multiplied & DESTURATED on the color's value alone. So if you have red lines, and put a light-blue flat underneath, it'll just be a darker red. You're not blending them (a la Color burn does that, "Red + Blue = Purple"), you're just playing with the color's value pigment. Note that the lineart is separated from the Background (no white, pure lines).

:bulletred: BASE FLATS - As you see on the example above, these are simply my base flats. Nothing else to go off of. For my colors, I choose the color in pure light, because again, I'm letting my lighting discern how colors look in the end.

Now on top of my base flat, I have three lighting layers (hold alt-key and select between the base flat and the lighting layers to mask it to the base flat, that way everything you color stays within the base flat). These layers affect the lighting.

:bulletgreen: HIGHLIGHTS - This is on SOFT LIGHT Blending mode, and I select a light warm or cool color, depending on the direction I'm taking the pic. (See hex codes below).

:bulletgreen: SHADOWS - This is on HARD LIGHT Blending mode, and I select that dark purple color for my shadows.

:bulletgreen: SECONDARY HIGHLIGHTS - This is on OVERLAY Blending mode, and I select a light warm or cool color. I usually use this to double up on hot spots where my highlights fall. I also use it for underlighting/faint secondary light sources, as this will go UNDER the shadow layer.

COLOR HEX CODES:
The color I use for Shadows is #474253.
The color I use for Warm Light is #ffe9c7 (Sometimes I go orangey, depends on the illustration.)
The color I use for cool light is #dcf1ff.

That's pretty much all I got and I will refer anyone who asks in the future here. It's up to you to try things out/experiment.

Happy coloring! =)
Add a Comment:
 
:iconinsacove:
Insacove Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014   Digital Artist
I've only seen two pieces of your art, but damn, you're like amazing.
Seeing this just makes me wanna try it now. Thanks so much for sharing ;w; I've been looking to improve
Reply
:icontexture-animate:
Texture-Animate Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I would really appreciate it, if you took a look at my gallery. nothing much now really, so it shouldn't take too long. but advise, suggestions, critiques, and/or just comments would be great. Thanks Rob
Reply
:iconredwinterwolf:
RedWinterwolf Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013
Been trying to get an orderly layer setup for ages now, definitely giving this a shot. Keep on rocking, man.
Reply
:iconkeybladesword:
keybladesword Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
thank you !! for this
Reply
:iconkgbigelow:
KGBigelow Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
you're the best! Thanks!
Reply
:iconbetaofthebass:
BetaoftheBass Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Student Filmographer
thank you so very much for this i will take your knowledge to consideration, i have been hoping to learn a more effective way of coloring digitally, especially on Photoshop!!!!...:3

much thanks ...^^
Reply
:iconkayshae:
Kayshae Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I gotta try this, thanks! :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconware4me:
ware4me Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Really interesting :D
Reply
:icondeshune:
deshune Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Student General Artist
this is great
Reply
:iconmandelak:
mandelak Featured By Owner May 20, 2012  Student Filmographer
Nice! My layer orders completely messy haha. That's just how I work though I clean up only if I am going to hand it off to someone else. I should really get into naming layers would cut down half the work haha
Reply
:iconautumn-north:
Autumn-North Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I always appreciate it when artists give an insight into their practice.

Thanks for making this, Robaato!
Reply
:iconoderaa:
Oderaa Featured By Owner May 19, 2012
You care...because you share. :D Thanks a bunch!!
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Gotta look out for my peoples! XD
Reply
:iconsyphron:
Syphron Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
see all these layers...just multiply them all x4 and thats how many layers i work with on a piece lol, i need to learn to reduce:)
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
You haven't checked my PSD download then. XD This is nothin'.
Reply
:iconsyphron:
Syphron Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lol i bet:)
Reply
:iconknightmare75:
knightmare75 Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
Awesome I learned something for today still rough about it, do you use a brush or pencil for the lineart.
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I use Sketchbook Pro to draw, not Photoshop.
Reply
:iconhellbunny:
hellbunny Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Student General Artist
Out of all the awesome things you draw, this is... Honestly one of the sexiest things you've posted. Srsly. I love you for this.
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, miss! Glad it helped in some way. :nod:
Reply
:iconmikeluckas:
MikeLuckas Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing!

I've tried the dark-purple on Hard-Light setting thing a few times now, after you posted that step-by-step sakura image, But It doesn't seem to work very well for me. For some reason it sort of just washes out most of the flat colors. I wind up needing to pick out my own shadow colors and place them underneath to get a good result..
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, it doesn't work on everyone's color preferences. Some people choose different palettes than me so it's not gonna work in every situation. The key thing to remember is just experiment and find what works for you. You have no problem with that, though. :)
Reply
:iconmikeluckas:
MikeLuckas Featured By Owner May 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! I'll keep messing around with it and see if I can get something I like.
Reply
:iconfightingleaf:
fightingleaf Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yay! Secrets revealed!... er, more of them!!
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Revealed, but can't be replicated. :nod:
Reply
:icontree-ink:
Tree-ink Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
will try this out rob ;)
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Coolies! :)
Reply
:iconicescissors:
IcEsCissORs Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a great helpful tutorial...if I had photoshop lol
but your style of drawings are wonderful :)
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Haha, well whenever you do get PS I'll keep this up for ya! :thumbsup::)
Reply
:iconicescissors:
IcEsCissORs Featured By Owner May 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you so much Robaato :squee:
Reply
:iconulrichviii:
UlrichVIII Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
very helpful, thx a lot
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Sure thing!
Reply
:icondanhowardart:
DanHowardArt Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
this looks like order. and preparedness. what's that like?
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Hahaha, its not usually like this. I need to get on myself more often for naming every layer I make. XD I'll often scroll thru my layers looking and checking the eye on and off to see what layer that 'one thing' is on. LOL
Reply
:icondanhowardart:
DanHowardArt Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
same. naming just takes time and effort and eats away from precious painting time :'D
Reply
:iconpredaguy:
Predaguy Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
To make up for that I created a template file with nothing on it but the basic layer order. I open that up everytime I'm gonna paint and just rezise/change to whatever I need, and then just save it as a new file. :D
Reply
:iconkonekoryu:
KonekoRyu Featured By Owner May 18, 2012   General Artist
mm.... I do about the same thing with the coloring underneath. however I cel shade (with gradient over certain areas) instead of soft shading abd blending. I've noticed it doesn't work well with my thick lines
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yup, everyone has to experiment and find what works for their own style. :nod:
Reply
:iconanzudrako:
anzudrako Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
O-O i am lost
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
You'll find the way eventually. :)
Reply
:iconanzudrako:
anzudrako Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
i will Thank you
Reply
:iconthechamba:
theCHAMBA Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
NOW lot's see how many Rob-a-trons we'll see
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
HAHAHAHAHA
Reply
:iconpredaguy:
Predaguy Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Professional General Artist
This is exactly how I do it, except for the color choices for highlights and shades, I'll give those a try soon. :D
I also almost never use gradients, maybe I should experiment with that too.

Good setup and technique!!!
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks man! Yeah, gradients can add a nice pop to an image with little effort, but its easy to get sidetracked from trying so many different things once you do get into them. Haha.
Reply
:iconred-cha:
Red-Cha Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Oh thx you !!!
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
MMHMM!
Reply
:iconjdmagee:
JDMagee Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
wow. super helpful! thank you!
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Sure thing man!
Reply
:iconarkhein:
Arkhein Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very cool and great information. Thanks for sharing your secrets. :)

- Ark
Reply
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