Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Help for highlights & shadows in layers..
Jules at 6:26PM, Dec. 1, 2009
posts: 271
joined: 8-30-2006
Do you guys add your shading and highlights directly onto the layer that you're shading or highlighting, or do you add other layers for highlighting/shadows etc.?

This question's been bothering me a bit lately.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:11PM
ozoneocean at 7:48PM, Dec. 1, 2009
posts: 25,984
joined: 1-2-2004
When I colour, shading and highlights are not separate; they're just part of the colouring process.

I don't do any base tones or anything like that, colour is just chosen and painted on depending on what I think the light would be doing, all on the same layer- as if I was painting with a brush instead of a stylus. :)

However, I colour the background layer separately of course, which obviously makes things easier to colour properly and neatly, but it also means that if I need to put in figure shadows UNDER the figures, but OVER the background then I can add another layer in between- set it to “multiply” and paint in blobby grey shadows over the background for the figures. That creates perfectly tinted figure shadows for me that are super easy to change or re-do if needed.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
Jules at 8:04PM, Dec. 1, 2009
posts: 271
joined: 8-30-2006
Thanks a bunch!
I'll be sure to keep this in mind once I start.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:11PM
xerjester at 9:41PM, Dec. 1, 2009
posts: 65
joined: 4-24-2007
The way I do it is that shadows are defined by the light itself- and therefore I don't add them in on their own. Example of a common technique:

When flats are added in (the actual flat color choices, not flatting as in separating areas for another colorist to take over and save time), it's common to have the flats be the darkest shade they will be in that given scene. Your highlights, i.e. the color in question at a lighter shade, would be painted on to the piece at the points that are being struck by your source light. What's left over in the unpainted areas are the shadows.

There's quite a few different ways to go about it, like Ozone mentioned about just painting it in, but if you're just playing around with techniques or think you might make a fair few mistakes, layers will help out a ton. Of course, as you progress, you might find yourself stripping away layers to save time as you grow more confident.

I use a value-pass method for establishing my shadows at the same time I do my highlights and specular lights; establishing the shadows through the use of the “light” in a given panel/scene. It's a simultaneous process using a complimentary gray tone to darken the base color on it's own before I set up highlighted areas.

This walk-through is an old version of the technique, but clears up some of the jargon I'm blathering about:

No real tricks beyond my basic brush settings- the color is built up over the grey, and built toward the light source. Boom - shadows appear where the color wasn't built up.

Also, check out some tutorials online for shadow conditions, soft and hard cel, and a bunch of other methods. All good stuff, and you can never have too many tricks in your bag.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM

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