The course is available on Packt and Udemy.

Adding flat colors using reference layers

  • create a layer under the reference layer
  • mark the line art layer as a reference by clicking on the lighthouse toggle icon
  • select another layer (where you want to keep your flats)
  • select the refer other layers fill tool
  • make sure the refer multiple and the reference (lighthouse) toggle are checked
  • if checked, area scaling will make the fill extend beyond the selection area – good if you get unfilled area on the borders
  • if checked, close gap will ignore small border discontinuities

check the lighthouse toggle icon to set the current layer as a reference layer
check the lighthouse toggle icon to set the current layer as a reference layer
select another layer
select another layer
select the refer other layers fill tool
select the refer other layers fill tool
make sure the refer multiple and the reference (lighthouse) toggle are checked
make sure the refer multiple and the reference (lighthouse) toggle are checked
you can use other fills to fine tune the fill
you can use other fills to fine tune the fill
starting drawing
starting drawing
finished drawing
finished drawing

Creating cel shaded artwork

  • cel shaded: term taken from traditional animation where images where drawn on transparent sheets of cel (short for celluloid)

Using masks

  • duplicate your flat colors layer
  • open Edit > Tonal Correction > Brightness/Contrast and reduce Brightness (and optionally Contrast)
  • open Edit > Tonal correction > Hue/Saturation/Luminosity and reduce Saturation (and optionally Hue)
  • create a layer mask, select everything and remove it (practically hiding everything)
  • using a white brush, add your shadows
  • repeat the process for highlights, but this time increase the Brightness and Saturation
  • your layers should be ordered, top to bottom:
    • line art
    • highlights
    • shadows
    • main colors

reduce the brightness for shadows and increase it for highlights
reduce the brightness for shadows and increase it for highlights
reduce the saturation for shadows and increase it for highlights
reduce the saturation for shadows and increase it for highlights
mask completely the shadows and the highlights; put the shadows over the flat colors and the highlights over the shadows; use a white brush to paint the masks in order to reveal the highlights and the shadows
mask completely the shadows and the highlights; put the shadows over the flat colors and the highlights over the shadows; use a white brush to paint the masks in order to reveal the highlights and the shadows

Using layer modes

  • create a raster layer above the color layer
    • set its mode to Multiply and reduce it's opacity (usually to 30-40%)
    • use a dark color to draw the shadows
  • create a raster layer above the shadows layer
    • set its mode to Lighten or Screen and reduce it's opacity (usually to 30-40%)
    • use a light color to draw the highlights
  • use brushes without opacity variation to keep a flat look

Create a soft shaded art

  • create a layer above the colors for shadows
    • set its mode to Multiply and reduce it's opacity (usually to 30-40%)
    • use a dark color to draw the shadows
    • using the marquee selection tool select your shadows
    • add the shadows using the gradient tool
    • for more complex shadows, stack another (or more) shadow layers
  • create a layer above the shadow layer for highlights
    • set its mode to Lighten or Screen and reduce it's opacity (usually to 30-40%)
    • use a light color to draw the highlights
    • use the same procedure as above to add highlights
  • for really shiny areas, create a new layer
    • leave its mode to Normal and opacity to 100%
    • select very saturated colors and add the shine
  • you could repeat the same process for real deep shadows, but using a dark color