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Cel-Shading techniques? - The art of Thornwolf
thornwolf
thornwolf
Cel-Shading techniques?
I'll be totally open and say I suck at cel-shading. It's never something I've quite gotten the hang of the way I like it. I really like the styles of David Kawena and of course Keovi, but for some reason, try as I might, I can't seem to get the hang of it.

Do any of you have any favorite cel shading tutorials, techniques, advice and critiques for me? Please see my recent half-assed attempt to tell me what I can do better. Admittedly, towards the end it was so late at night I got sloppy, but I might want to revisit this and try again:
http://thornwolf.artspots.com/image/38302/greylock-character-sheet

Here's what I did with this one, just to give a little insight:
I haven't found a good way to ink digitally as I primarily use Photoshop and I haven't been able to get the crisp lines in photoshop that I like to see on digitally inked things (if anyone has any tips for this I'd love to hear them), so I drew it in pencil and just tried to "ink" with the pencil as best I could, then put the "lines" layer on multiply and colored the flats under it.

For the shading I used a saturated magenta which I had on a new layer set to a low opacity. I /attempted/ a little bit of gradient work on the overall flat color but that didn't work out as I had planned.

Really any advice or tips would be great! I want to give this another shot.
28 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
henriekeg From: henriekeg Date: November 12th, 2009 09:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I really can't give you any advice on digital drawing since that is a complete mystery to me. Especially inking, drawing a straight line with a tablet sounds absolutely impossible to me.
I just ink everything by hand, usually I do brush inks ofcourse but if I want thin lines that do not vary in with I just use a pen. Scan it in b/w at a high resolution and you're done. My problem is that my thin lines look flat and boring but that's just a failure on my side.
Black pen lines http://www.furaffinity.net/view/2244365/
Colored pen lines http://www.furaffinity.net/view/2632732/
Really can't give you any tips on coloring, all I do is use the filler tool. And these aren't shaded, haha. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie_pf19RPAk This is pretty much the only drawing I did with shading, ever. Very random and not very good :/
(Deleted comment)
eski From: eski Date: November 12th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I really don't know much about cell shading since I don't do it very often. So forgive me if my advice sounds really stupid and obvious, since I'm pretty new to it as well and don't know the ropes. ><; I ink traditionally, scan and do the exact same thing you do for digital work. After seeing your character sheet there I'd say think of it just like regular pieces as far as light direction and shadow areas. The character sheet seems a little like it doesn't really have a light direction because of the vast light areas on the face and torso.

Try coloring everything flat in the colors you want for the the illuminated areas, then make a new layer on multiply and block in the shadows. That's how I do tone studies in photoshop, ends up looking very cell shaded.

I'll be watching this for advice from others, cell shadey stuff is super fun! It's the way I'd like to do my Wolfy comic someday. =3
shoomlah From: shoomlah Date: November 12th, 2009 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
conveniently, I just put something together for a tutorial of my cel shading method last week- it's just a quick breakdown of my Alexstrasza piece from sketch to finish, which might be helpful:


Sketch, lines and multiplied shading, flat colours, and the finish.

The main thing that I've found helpful when cel shading is having a strong enough light source that you have distinct, well-distributed areas of both shadow and light. It adds distinction and depth to an otherwise flat drawing, and it can help give you some degree of control over where the eye goes. You've done some fantastic painting recently, so you jest need to find a way to translate that knowledge of light into cel shading. One idea is to do additive light rather than subtractive- to carve in the light areas rather than adding the darks. Here's a crappy paintover of your greylock sheet:



This usually makes it easier to carve out where shadows look natural and where they start to look superfluous or forced.

As to clean lines in PS, that's a whole 'nother can of worms- I'd just say take advantage of the undo button and draw you lines long and freely, letting them cross over each other and erasing the excess. You can get some really natural forms that way, though that might be obvious already. :P

Okay I'm rambling! Cheers. :D
-C

Edited at 2009-11-12 09:54 am (UTC)
henriekeg From: henriekeg Date: November 12th, 2009 10:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Completely off topic, but I can't believe I've never seen your work before. It's aaawesome.
shoomlah From: shoomlah Date: November 12th, 2009 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
aw thanks! I definitely know and love your stuff. :)
(Deleted comment)
ellonwye From: ellonwye Date: November 12th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad thornwolf asked this question, because your reply is fantastic shoomlah and I'm really grateful you shared your WIP!
spunkywulf From: spunkywulf Date: November 12th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've not seen your stuff in so long, where do you hang out and what do you go by? I LOVE YOUR WORK and haven't been keeping up since Yerf days. So bad I am :(
shoomlah From: shoomlah Date: November 12th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey! I'm still Shoomlah, which I went by for yerf's last few months or so- http://www.shoomlah.com, or http://shoomlah.deviantart.com .

-C
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: November 12th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you SOOO much, this really helped me a bunch! I've always wondered how you do such wonderful cel shading.

I have a question about the multiplied shadows though, on your example it looks like 2 different shadow colors are being used, even though the background color is the same, could you please explain this? That part confused me a little bit.

Thank you again so so so so much, and from what it looks like you've answered a lot of questions for others as well XD
shoomlah From: shoomlah Date: November 12th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dude, no problem! As to the colours of the shadows, the pink I was using didn't show up very strongly when multiplied over the flat reds in the character's costume, so I darkened it to a slightly deeper magenta to get the effect I wanted. Normally I use one basic colour for shading (or two if I needs extra dark areas as well), but I'll change it up to make sure the colours look natural if Photoshop's messing with me. :)

-C
_graywolf_ From: _graywolf_ Date: November 12th, 2009 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
David Kawena = Win!

I've had so much trouble in trying to get my hands down on the cell shading bits that I've just given up on it over the years XD So unfortunately, aside from the "Don't give up" bit, I have no usefull comments.

I do recall Jen Seng having a spiffy tutorial on the subject though, but this was years ago and I don't know if it's still there..

spunkywulf From: spunkywulf Date: November 12th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't even remember what I did with it, I don't think I have it anymore :(
captainq From: captainq Date: November 12th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel like I have the same problem...too much focus on texture and shading. When I focus on form ONLY I do OK.
ruggels From: ruggels Date: November 12th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cast and the Club, Inked


With the inksI have been using Flash or SAI over scanned pencils. I would recommend Sai, as it has a lot of control over the limne, and it's quick, but actually inking with it, while blazingly fast is somewhat counter intuitive as you are using. What one does is to click down points along the line, then go in an adjust the curve and the thickness, and the taper, then go to the next line, The above pic was my second in SAT, and shows a lot of errors, but the errors are correctablem and you can edit the lines easily. You can also just ink with the tablet using the brush tool and it will lay down vector lines, just with a cloud of control points to make it hard to edit.

Flash is similar but far more responsive and less complicated.

As for the colors,

Asheru 63 Flash


Once the inks were done (in flash) Her colors were laid in flat. The shadows were a separate layer, set as a faint medium blue, and overlaid the colors. The shadow color you should pick as the compliment of the main light source, though a White sun should have have a sky shine light.

Hope this helps.
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: November 12th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been hearing people recommend SAI but I have a Mac and it doesn't work on a Mac platform unfortunately :/
sabarika From: sabarika Date: November 13th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Before my laptop's fan complete crapped out I installed a very basic copy of Windows XP using Parallels and installed OpenCanvas and SAI using that. It doesn't take up too much space and since I hardly use it I never notice it there, but it also runs very fast and works perfectly fine. All I need to do is ink in SAI in Parallels then drop-drag the JPG or file to my Mac desktop then open with PS. If you have the space/ a copy of Windows you can try this if you'd like.
ruggels From: ruggels Date: November 13th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
There is a similar Macintosh App called "Illust4rator Studio, but It's not known if there is an English Translation and it's about 225 USD roughly.

Scott
johnraptor From: johnraptor Date: November 12th, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you are interested in doing line holds (colored lines like in the David Kawena picture you linked), I could help you out with that, as well as other technical aspects of coloring in photoshop. It's a little involved to explain and I've got to go to work though, but I can put together a tutorial for you later if you like.
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: November 12th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'd really appreciate it :3
johnraptor From: johnraptor Date: November 13th, 2009 07:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Okey dokey, I'm home from work. Let's see how well I can describe this...

To start, I always scan lineart I want to color digitally at double the resolution I want the finished piece to be. For example, if I want the final piece to be 300dpi, I scan the linework at 600dpi. Then I clean it up so there's no dust, speckling or jagged edges and save it as a bitmap.

Next, I open up the line art and convert it to RGB, and make sure the PS layer with the art on it isn't set to "background." Use the eyedropper tool to sample the a white area and do Select:Color Range... to select all of the white in the line art, then do Layer:Layer Mask:Hide Selection.

At this point, your line art layer will be transparent except for where the lines actually are. Change the resolution of your image down to what you wanted it to end up. You can now color on layers underneath it the same as you would if you had simply set the line art layer to Multiply.

In your layers pallet, you will see a thumbnail of the line art mask next to the thumbnail of the line art layer, with a little link of chain in between them. Click on the chain and it'll disappear. Now you can do whatever you want to the line art layer, like coloring sections of it, without changing which pixels are transparent and which are opaque. For example, if you select an area and fill it in with red, the lines within that area will turn red, but it won't fill in the spaces between the lines.

I hope this helps. If my description isn't clear enough (it's kind of a weird process to get the layer set up right), I can do some screen-caps of the process.
spunkywulf From: spunkywulf Date: November 12th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I personally find that one of the best sources to learn good cel-shading, whether you hate the style or not, is actually anime. They are simply awesome at that stuff, and they have a good grasp on various cel-styles, and how to exaggerate shadows and light to make a character really pop. Various animes do it in different ways, so you'll find hard styles, softer styles, etc. I would suggest looking around at various shows, even video games to get an idea and try out some of those techniques. That's actually how I first started to learn!
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: November 12th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting, I'll have to give that a look-sie! When I googled tutorials a lot of it was anime styled so admittedly I kinda just, glanced over it, I should give them a more thorough look this time around. Thank you!
keovi From: keovi Date: November 12th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I took screenshots for you, and I'm going to send you a couple PSDs that will show you some of how I work. Hope it will help! I can send them when I get home tonight.
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: November 12th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
eeee thank you so much! :D
ultra_taboo From: ultra_taboo Date: November 12th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Check out pyawakit.deviantart.com and see if she has any tutorials or a livestream going on. Though just looking at her finished work should be just as helpful

Just remember: Gradients and cell shading
sabarika From: sabarika Date: November 13th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't cell shade OR ink in PS to save my life. Don't feel bad!
I keep trying to use this tutorial by Farlow Studios to ink but sadly I can't grasp the Pen tool to save my lifwe. My method when I REALLY want crisp lines is to just ink with a fairly large brush and use the selection tool to "carve out" or refine the lines since if you select the area and delete it creates a crisper edge. Super time consuming. :/

I also love saving tutorials even if I never look at them again, let me see if I can find a few of the ones I have and they might help if you have the time to skim them. Thank goodness there are always people out there willing to share their techniques.
http://spaghetti016.deviantart.com/art/Inking-with-Photoshop-Tutorial-131871045
http://spirallin.deviantart.com/art/Photoshop-Inking-Tutorial-24606718
(I like videos because I learn by watching/doing) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2Q684SD8Dw
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