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I've tried to swear off coloring over grayscale, but I figure before I do that I should come here and ask. I could necro another thread about this, because I've seen one before, but I'd like to open up the discussion about your personal approach to coloring/glazing over a grayscale image.
One of my main gripes with this technique is its unpredictability, depending on the type of layer style you use. Multiply makes it too dark; Overlay seems to work decently well sometimes, but tends to overpower some of the darker tones, and doesn't apply to white at all; and Color just tends to totally screw me up in the way the color gets applied to the grayscale.
The colors never seem to come out strong enough from the gray, they seem muted and weak. I really want to improve my grayscale glazing technique because I am much better at tonally figuring out a scene in grayscale first before applying any color at all (geez, this might be the right fit for the artistic gallery as well).
I've read all kinds of tutorials in ImagineFX, which I'm a subscriber to, but generally they seem to be bogged down in special tricks, etc, to pull off the effect you are looking for. Now, this of course isn't saying those artists aren't amazing, but I just can't seem to wrap my head around some of their practices (or sometimes it doesn't really get explained).
What I am interested in is how your workflow goes after you've done your grayscale image. Do you... wash over the entire piece with a base color which you want to evoke then lightly apply contact colors... start blocking colors to different areas in the piece... etc. Obviously, for different pieces there will be different methods, but I am just looking for general points. Like, do you do a rough grayscale, do some cover of color, then make a new layer and just paint on top of that? or do you totally do the image in grayscale, then glaze it with color and call it pretty much done. What layer styles you are using... I am going to try and finish this up because its hella long.
I will call out a few of my own pieces, and some issues I feel I have with them.
--colors are too dark/muted, I think I did this one with a multiply layer of color over the grayscale base image. Probably would have helped to NOT have a white background.
--I think I used "Color" on my glaze layer on this, and the colors are just crazy bright and didn't really match up well with the tones I had worked out beneath.
--"Overlay" doesn't apply to whites, which I had applied to my brightest areas, then when I applied my color it just seemed totally messed up. I guess a bandaid fix to this would be just to darken all the greyscale down before applying color over top of it? of course, then the tonal map could just be off at that point.
--This is about the only one I'm decently happy with, and you can see by the date-stamp I posted it in October, and I totally can't remember how I approached adding color to it... at all. Helpful, I know!
I've done a lot more grayscale images that I don't post, but I think that's good enough to start. Any suggestions would be much appreciated, I've been banging my head against this for MONTHS.
Last edited by Slade_Templar; April 23rd, 2009 at 05:25 PM.
If you can find the tutorial that goes with Steven Stahlberg's elf murder, you'll see a good approach.
Wow, that is tremendously helpful. Thank you very much for digging it up!
I haven't tried painting that way, but I probably should give it a shot. You know you've got your tonal values working, and that is more than half the battle
this is what i do
1 grayscale. duh...
2 colour layer. usually use a warm brown or a yellow brown. Ive tryed to mimick my oil painting approach and painting little miniatures
3 Everything after is done with soft light. temperatures i really abuse turquise and orange red/ purple red
4 use overlay and dodge to punch stuff out.
Thanks Hunch, I will probably try that.
When you say overlay and dodge, I understand the overlay part, obviously making a new overlay layer and painting on that; what about dodge? Are you using the dodge tool on your color layer or another layer?
Also was trying out the technique in the latest ImagineFX, seems to work pretty well for setting up initial color. Although it would probably similar to setting up with a color layer; this method has you place a gradient adjustment layer, wherein you can set a shadow, 2 midtones, and a highlight, and have that apply to your grayscale beneath. Obviously after that, there is more overlay/light layers to lay down local color, but getting a feel for the overall color of the piece comes pretty quick. I feel like I have a bit of greater control over it as well, since I am actually manipulating the color that goes to certain gray tones. My problem with a color layer over grayscale has always been that I never feel like i have enough control over how the colors turn out; and getting that initial color comp is really important for me.
I actually started playing with overlays over grayscale drawings and things of this nature myself. For the longest time I shied away from color and was trying to figure out how to word the problem that I was having until I came across this thread . . . so you helped me out a good bit!
"It's better to have Heart than technique, you can be taught technique." (Frank Trigg -- MMA Fighter on the subject of fundamentals)
Glad this thread could be of help. Hopefully there will be some more postings.
Here's how I do it currently:
5. Gradientmap with 3-5 different steps in hue and saturation (color or overlay) (works wonders, make the map as extreme as you like but keep the opacity of the layer down)
4. Overlaylayer for added colorvariance (overlay)
1. Black and white (multiply)
3. Colortweaks (normal)
2. Basecolor (normal)