Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

BPelt Photoshop PlugIn
lastcall at 6:30AM, Feb. 28, 2009
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I stumbled upon the BPelt Photoshop Plugin while reading Calamities of Nature. Apparently it's a PlugIn that saves a lot of time when it comes to flatting. I used this tutorial from Questionable Content and after some experimentation, this PugIn really works nicely. I wish I had discovered this earlier.

You can download the PlugIn here.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:28PM
skoolmunkee at 7:39AM, Feb. 28, 2009
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I've moved this to Tips and Tricks. :]


I came across that a couple years ago and never tried it until a few weeks ago (mainly because I didn't start drawing anything til a few weeks ago…) It is handy. I have to do a bit of fiddling because it requires 2-tone black and white art to work (which not everyone mentions), but once I figured out how to do that without losing my original ‘smooth’ inks layer I was good to go.

For people who don't want to click the link or don't know what flatting is:
The plugin basically fills in all the areas of your page with random colors. An ‘area’ is defined by the black lines around it- so if you connect up your lines it will work great for you, fill in people's shirts and so forth, but if you have an ‘open’ inking style it won't work for you at all. The areas it colors in are then expanded so there's no black lines left (which is why you need to keep an extra layer of inks over it), but then you can just go through with the paint bucket and click easily fill in the colors you want.

It's a huge improvement over magic wanding, manually expanding, switching layers all the time, etc.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
Bittenbymonk at 7:40AM, Feb. 28, 2009
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holy poop this is great! saves me so much time when colouring! thanks for hookin me up.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:23AM
Niccea at 7:59AM, Feb. 28, 2009
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T_T It isn't working for me. Could have installed it wrong however…
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:12PM
lastcall at 7:59AM, Feb. 28, 2009
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Yeah I am still getting used to it, and not sure if it takes less time compared to the way I colored comics before, but it's a neat idea. Right now I'm having to fiddle around with it like skoolmunkee mentioned, so it seems to be taking more time.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:28PM
Niccea at 8:17AM, Feb. 28, 2009
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Oh well. I'll just keep doing it the old fashioned way.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:12PM
skoolmunkee at 11:19AM, Feb. 28, 2009
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Niccea
T_T It isn't working for me. Could have installed it wrong however…

Your art needs to be ONLY black and white, no middle shades. It won't work otherwise. Your lines layer also has to have a white background, not a transparent background. I don't think the QC tells you either of those.

What I have to do to get it to work for me:

1. Load up the photoshop file, which is a transparent lines layer with middle shades.
2. Convert the image to greyscale to get rid of any other colors- don't flatten it when prompted.
3. Make a copy of the lines layer and hide the original
4. Make a new layer that is all white, put it under the copied lines layer. Then merge the two together so I have a lines-on-white layer. This should be the only layer visible.
5. Go to image->adjust-> levels and pull all the arrows all the way over to the right hand side of the slider. This cranks up the contrast and you end up with completely black lines. They look ugly, that's ok.
6. Turn the image back into RBG or CMYK. Again, don't flatten it.
7. THEN do filters->bpelt->multifill, if it isn't filled in with colors then you've probably still got a stray shade someplace. Then do bpelt->flatten, this should wipe out your black lines.
8. You can turn your original lines layer back on now, put it above the colors.

  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
Skullbie at 3:54PM, Feb. 28, 2009
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he has such an insanely expensive and powerful set-up yet draws that….

last edited on July 14, 2011 3:47PM
skoolmunkee at 5:53PM, Feb. 28, 2009
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Skullbie
he has such an insanely expensive and powerful set-up yet draws that….

His setup isn't that great. When he's got a Cintiq and draws CAD, then you know money's been wasted.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
acadia at 6:24PM, Feb. 28, 2009
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I find bpelt works really well for simple drawings, but once you start dealing with detailed images with many small, enclosed areas, it just stops being beneficial. For that Calamities comic, bpelt is nice and useful. Any more detailed than that, and the time saved takes second tier to the annoyance of finding and filling in all the pockets of random color.

last edited on July 14, 2011 10:45AM
skoolmunkee at 2:35AM, March 1, 2009
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You can adjust that to some degree. The plugin ‘joins up’ smaller areas of color with larger ones, so your crosshatchings aren't multicolored, and you can adjust the area size of the bits to join up to the nearest color block. You can also use a custom pallette to reduce the number of colors used, and you can then select color range to catch them all (and then easily use a large brush to swipe them with the color you do want).


I don't really see how having to zoom in on an image to fill in small areas with a paint bucket is any different to having to zoom in on an image to fill in small areas with a brush though.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
acadia at 6:35AM, March 1, 2009
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Eh, i guess it just feels more artificial. I used to color Zomben, and towards the end of my tenure, I started using BPelt to save time. It took all the pleasure of coloring out of the equation for me, and I ended up completely losing interest.

last edited on July 14, 2011 10:45AM
skoolmunkee at 10:15AM, March 1, 2009
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Well, we all work differently :] I can see what you're saying though.

I hate coloring so anything that speeds up the process makes me happy. The only thing I worry about is missing a color somewhere, but having to go back and re-upload a page to get rid of an orange blotch isn't a big deal. I much prefer it to what I used to do (magic wand, select expand, switch layer, alt-backspace, back to lines later… repeat x100).
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
The Derkomai at 5:10PM, April 4, 2009
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If you love doing something, and then something new takes the love out, why do that something new?

Anyway… THANK YOU! This is an AWESOME thing to be able to utilize.

MYAHUHUHUHUHU, the world will soon be MINE OWN.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:14PM
Aurora Borealis at 7:00PM, April 4, 2009
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skoolmunkee
Niccea
T_T It isn't working for me. Could have installed it wrong however…

5. Go to image->adjust-> levels and pull all the arrows all the way over to the right hand side of the slider. This cranks up the contrast and you end up with completely black lines. They look ugly, that's ok.

Or you can use Threshold? it's under image->adjust too and it gives pure b&w.

My next shot at webcomics will be b&w, but I'm planning to return to color at some point so this kind of plugin will be quite useful (I saw some different ones floating around the web already). It'll certainly save my hand from “polygonal lasso tool” and save me a lot of time.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM

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