Océane (petite_tomate) wrote in aubedelune,

#56 II More about vibrant coloring

We’re back for another guide, this time on vibrant coloring, asked by afeastforme :) It’s a smaller one than the first, this one is more about tips and tricks. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

I’m going to try explaining what I do when I create a vibrant coloring. It’s actually hard because I don’t do this so « methodically », I don’t think about it I just try what works, so hold on :')

As every guide on this matter, I’ll tell you to choose your screencaps wisely. It’s « the » basic step. You CAN make a vibrant icon out of everything I think, but we all have to admit that some screencaps are better for that than others. Here’s what I’m talking about :

I try to find colorful, neutral and clean screencaps. I want to see the skin with its shadows and light. I don’t like yellow faces at all, or glowing edges or poorly lit screencaps. I mean, I’m not saying it’s IMPOSSIBLE to make vibrant icons with them but I don’t. Maybe with time and patience I could save a flat yellow face but most of the time I just give up or make a b&w... :’) I also admire makers who can bring colors on a dull screencap because I can’t. That’s why certain fandoms are iconed more than others, the screencaps are prettier, less time consuming. I won’t use these:

siiy asked me how I cut people and smooth any unsightly lines. So I’ll answer here : the choice of the screencap is important. As you see above, everytime the subject is clean on its background. I don’t like glow-y screencaps especially for this : the icon will not look good because of the way it makes look the cutting, it's like something is missing. I always cut my subjects with the pen at full size before doing anything else. Cutting things with the pen will make your lines look clean. Then I past them on my icon, I work on a 200x200px canvas, so when I first resize my subject a lot of the lines are smoothed. I make my coloring, and merge everything on the top. I use the filter « smart sharpen » to make my lines stand out, and I resize it into a 100px. As I’ve explained it in my « more about complex icons », merging layers before resizing smooths the lines a lot.

I tend to separate my coloring in three time : background / subject / both. Here what I mean :

1° Here’s my base. I cut the subject and pasted it on my canvas. I used textures in the simplest way: they’re all on product or screen. You have a barely bright red background behind all of that.

2° I will now work exclusively on Peggy. With clipping layers (layers just above your layer, right click, « create a clipping layer » or something like that. So now, the layer will only appear on the layer right under it) I lighten Peggy, work on her blue coat, her nice hat. I use a lot of selective colors (do not be afraid of duplicating them a lot to have strong colors), color balance, photo filters, etc. Use masks to work on a specific element. I didn’t have to do it here but most of the time I work the skin on a different mask, clothes too.
[I lightened the gif for you to be able to see something but at this point, the 2nd icon on top is the way mine looks].

3° Then I use a lot LOT of luminosity / contrast / curves + vibrance / saturation / levels. Most of my curves layers are on soft light without even changing anything to it. Here, I just corrected my blues a little.

4° Then it’s time for the rest: textures, text, etc. That's it!

Now I understand it looks like a weird process xD. As I said, I don’t do it in this order necessarily and sometimes I don’t use it at all, I color everything at the same time. I always add layers that I drag at the bottom. But that seemed the simplest way of explaining it. And tbh, most of the vibrancy comes from saturation / vibrance layers added with luminosity / contrast layers.

Same steps as above here :
- Base -> Color the subject -> Add shadows and light on everything -> Use color balance + selective colors, curves on soft light, saturation -> luminosity/contrast + levels + light texture.

See how dull the background was at the beginning? I never changed it. If I took a bright background right away :

Another example of good background vs too bright background :

Sometimes a bright background works right away because the screencap was very well lit. But most of the time, my background start dull and finish bright with all the luminosity and contrast I add on it. Plus, if you have a tricky subject to cut, it cleans the lines very well.

It seems weird to talk about desaturation in a guide talking about vibrant icons x). It simply brings me back to the part on skin I did on my « more on red icons ». Don’t hesitate to desaturate some parts that can look oversaturated like... the skin! And add luminosity... without pushing the contrast too much. Sometimes, the screencap is over-contrasted so we have to lower the contrast.

One word : TRY EVERYTHING. I’m serious, every color possible. Sometimes, you have a « yellow » subject, so a blue background is going to be perfect. Sometimes characters have blue elements (as Peggy for example) in their design and a red background is going to fit very well. The more effective way is to add elements yourself, for example textures, text, brushes, of another color. Try light textures with two colors or if you have a green icon, try adding some blue light texture. Nothing simpler really!

And you know me... I can't resist making an inspiration part on mixing colors. I added a lot of mine in the batch!

Red + Green

petite_tomate x4 / timewaslost

petite_tomate x2 / jsfunction / petite_tomate

Red + Blue

petite_tomate x4 / jsfunction

jsfunction / mark_pierre / akilah92 / petite_tomate x2


Yellow +

starwark / petite_tomate x2 / starry_night / nightbulbs
naginis / calikalie / jsfunction / petite_tomate x2

petite_tomate x5
pamkips x2 / petite_tomate / bussbuss / petite_tomate
nyaza / dashberlin x2

Green + Blue

raiindust / starwark / emiels / scoobyatemysnax / petite_tomate

dashberlin / petite_tomate / emiels / pamkips / lavanille

Purple + Blue

petite_tomate x4 / absolutelybatty

daynawashere / jsfunction / longerthanwedo / nadya / naginis

naginis x2 / pamkips x 2 / raiindust


Purple + Yellow

petite_tomate x3 / dancelies / dashberlin

daynawashere / lemonzter x2 / theskyinside / petite_tomate

Orange + Blue

petite_tomate x2 / mm3butterfly / pamkips / shameless666

dashberlin / petite_tomate x3 / uglybusiness

akilah92 / daynawashere / dashberlin / raiindust / petite_tomate
petite_tomate x2

Orange + Purple

petite_tomate x2 / navras_rheya

(as you can see, blue works with EVERYTHING)

And that's the end of this guide! I hope it'll be helpful for you guys, if you have any questions, shoot ;)
Tags: activity, tutorial
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