Océane (petite_tomate) wrote in aubedelune,

#59 II More about coloring animation

And here's the last guide for the Ask the maker activity, requested by damsiedam and absolutelybatty :)

I put this tutorial off for a long time because I honestly didn’t know what to write about it without repeating myself. As you’ll see, the process between coloring animation and making vibrant coloring in general is quite similar... So I recommend you to read "more about vibrant coloring" before!

Most of the animanga I’m watching is already colorful (notable exception : Psycho Pass screencaps which I DON’T USE) and animation in general is full of colors (Disney for example). So really, it’s easier to bring out colors on animanga stills / screencaps than on live-action series.

So, I’m going to bring you back to my last tutorial. I use more or less the same technique. I’m starting with a dull background matching my base. I then concentrate a lot on the contrast and the vibrance. But here, a lot of people stop working on their icons and consider them finished. But you have to work on your lighting and shadows, and your colors! It’s still too raw, uncooked (let’s channel our inner Gordon Ramsay here lol). The last steps are what we’re going to work on through this tutorial.

Choose carefully your background’s color. With my technique, I have to choose a muted background, as muted as the base I’m starting on, as I explained it on my last tuto. But you have to choose the colors according to your subject. I’m going to repeat myself again here but look for complementary colors, same colors, same/differents tones, etc... Anything that looks good with the subject! Avoid too « common colors » like #ff0000 or #0000ff. These are not pretty because it looks like you didn’t work after the « contrast / saturation » step. It’s too raw! Try EVERY colors before choosing one.

No, this technique of using a lot of contrast and vibrance doesn’t always work and that’s what I want to show you here. I knew what I wanted to achieve with this beautiful pink, but the screencap wasn’t doing me any favors. The color balance I used to achieve my pink wasn’t good for the subject. I could have erased it, yes but I didn’t, I think because of the way it colored her skin? Anyway, I had to correct Kumiko’s colors. As I explained before : I always work on the background and the subject separately. The background was good I thought, so I moved on Kumiko’s layer.

1. First, I de-contrasted Kumiko a little. When working with animation, I do this a lot. It doesn’t remove any vibrance, but it just harmonizes everything I think? The difference between colors are less harsh, smoother I guess?
2. Okay so now it’s time to work on her colors. I wanted her uniform to be a deep brown like it is in the anime. Here, I used a gradient map going from a deep brown to a light pale yellow. Most of the time, I use a photo filter with the color I want and a lot of opacity. Here, a gradient map worked better. You can also use a selective color, or a balance color... I used a mask to make it appears only on her uniform. I work a LOT with masks.
3. Now, her hair. Another gradient map, from a deep brown to a bright orange.
4. And to finish, her bag. Another gradient map from a deep brown to a pale yellow/green.
5. The next step is the use of light and shadows as we’ll see after.
Now, I admit it’s rare I have to change colors for animanga. I do this a lot for live-action, but I just wanted to show you what you can do with masks on the subject. You really have to explore this because it’s incredibly useful to achieve the colors you want!

Okay so for those who know me from the beginning, you may remember the tutorial I’ve made on my coloring way back here. Well, I still have the exact same technique for my light and shadows. It’s SO useful and can make ALL the difference I swear! It brings softness, lightness, deepness, and colors.

1. Coloring is done. Now I have to work on adding softness to this. It feels too « raw », too harsh to me.
2. I’m working on my shadows. First, the « general shadows », like the gradient map from white to black, going from one side of the frame to the other, horizontally, vertically or in diagonal. It can change the whole feel of the icon... As I already explained in that old tutorial (with Star Wars)
3. Then, the light / shadows blobs on the characters themselves. I paint on black or white with a soft brush where I want to accentuate light or shadows. Then I put the layer in soft light, I blur it if I have to, I duplicate it sometimes...
4. Then the part I love the most : LIGHT! You can paint with little blobs of colors where you think it’s too dark for example. Here, I used light blue and pink blobs (on Rin’s head) and the layer is on screen.
5. I like the effect a lot, so I just painted a straight line in pink and in blue on each side of the canvas and put it in soft light!
For the icons on top :
- On the Yu-gi-oh! one, I only used a bright orange light texture put on screen. See how everything change with it ? The icon looked so flat before!
- For Hibike! Euphonium, I used light blobs to correct my too dark background. And then, ONLY on Kumiko, I painted her clothes in black, and her skin + hair on white. I used a little bit of yellow on the top or her head to make it even more contrasted.

It’s actually the first step on making an icon with animanga : work on your lines! So cut your subject with the pen, make it the most clean you can. Do it at full size, as I said in my last tutorial, when you resize it, it will look even cleaner!
But I’m especially talking about the end of your icon. If you look, you’ll see that my lines aren’t clean when I show you my steps and my finished icon. It’s because before resizing, I merge all the layers together. Most of the time, just doing this will clean out well your lines. But sometimes, your subject is going to be blurred. Don’t hesitate to use some smart sharpen BEFORE merging and resizing. Or, you can also use a little bit of topaz, BUT not too much. All of it has to appear natural and smooth!

Now you have to work on your textures, and the text, if you want to. Here, what you’re doing for live-action icons applies. Watch out composition!

And we're done! If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask :) For once, I'm not ending this guide with an inspiration part, it would be too long to put all my favorite animation icons together. But maybe one day...?
Tags: activity, tutorial
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