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May 18, 2012
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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.


: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.

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! =)
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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..
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. :)
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.
fightingleaf Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yay! Secrets revealed!... er, more of them!!
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Revealed, but can't be replicated. :nod:
Tree-ink Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
will try this out rob ;)
Robaato Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Coolies! :)
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 :)
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::)
IcEsCissORs Featured By Owner May 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you so much Robaato :squee:
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