Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

DigiToning
okashi at 3:35PM, June 7, 2006
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I really really suck at digitoning and I was wondering if it would be best to spend the money on hand tones or just go for plain black and white? Would other comic artists out there help me? I would appreciate tips and such. Thanks!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:21PM
Aurora Moon at 2:39AM, June 8, 2006
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I do a lot of digi toning at times, and I find it to be a very excellent, handy thing to have at times.

that's just you can't rush right in and use heavy tones of all kinds. you gonna set the transpercy at like 50% or lower first to apply it. that way you can kinda test it out to see how the tone looks. then you can keep on going over it to make the tones stand out more until you get it perfect.

I would also suggest using masks to make the tones stay inside the lineart so that it doesn't look so messy.

also, I like to use the tones I have as an brush set, so that I can adjust the sizes of the stars, dots or whatever else is in the tones to make it look more natural or something.
using it with an background tool or an pattern tool, in my expernice, seems to give you the lack of customization that Brushes have.

I hope that helped.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:09AM
okashi at 9:57AM, June 8, 2006
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posts: 8
joined: 4-26-2006
That helps a lot! Thanks a ton! ^_^
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:21PM
mykill at 12:52PM, June 9, 2006
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oops
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
mykill at 1:00PM, June 9, 2006
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posts: 194
joined: 1-11-2006
Realize the purpose of a tone is to allow a ‘grey’ to print in pure black and white.

In Anim'e toning has taken on an element of style. The flat look of most transfer tones can yield an appealing aesthetic used properly with moderation.

There's a catch 22 though, zip a tone, or Ben Day, is a physical medium. When it comes to digital artwork, it's a whole new ball park and the idea of toning doesn't transfer easily at all.

Why not? Because a good looking tone feature many very small circles or ovals that are perfectly round without any antialiasing. A raster image may feature very small pixels - but those pixels are SQUARE.

So, no problem you think - just do the toning in Illustrator! This is the better way to do itm but even here - you gotta post a raster image to the web.

The bottom line is that digital tones tend to look blocky, or they become grey.


If you are working digitally, I reccomend you work in tones of color or gray, without patterns. Using layers - break up the grayscale/color areas to different layers if you want a different pattern - which you will generate automatically later.

Your line art, save that all by itself as a .tiff image without any tones.

Now, here' the magic: when you convert a grayscale image to a bitmap in photoshop, you have the option to convert the image into a halftone. What is a halftone. -It's what Zip a Tone is imitating.

So save your master photoshop file. Now turn off visability on all layers except the first layer of shading you want to tone.

Convert image to bitmap (or convert to grayscale and then bitmap). Make the resolution 3x the current resolution (the file size will not be too large as it's a one channel image, and the extra pixels will help minimize noticeable ‘stepping’.

Halftone screen will give you a selection of standard tone styles. The classic tone for newspapers is a 45% ellipse. If your image is oversize, the tone needs to be oversize too.

You also have round, diamond, line, square and cross half tone styles.


Now, if you want - you can fully paint your comic in grayscale - and spit out halftone artwork that will photocopy and print beautifully in one color.

Export each halftone as a .tiff. And revert to the saved photoshop master to do the next tone layer.

For recombining the tones with the line art, you may want to open the tone tiffs, convert them to graysacle and lower the resolution to match your line art. (Hi quality is 600 ppi if art is same size as printed page). The tone will look good. if you made the tone with a lower resolution - the dots of the tone would look ugly, the extra step is worthwhile.

combine your tiffs in photoshop, (each subsequent layer set to 'darken), and flatten. You now have line art with quality toning.

(A better solution may be to combine the tiffs in Illustrator with no downres of the bitmaps. You may have to force all the tiffs to match height and width, no problem.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM

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