How to isolate your line art so you can color it
This post is for those who use Photoshop and will like to see how can you isolate line art so it can be color. Have in mind that I use Photoshop CS2 and there can be some difference in old/new versions.
I use this because I usually don't draw directly to the computer. In fact I prefer to draw on paper and then scan the art and put the colors on Photoshop.
OK, let start. After you scanned that art and cleaned it a little bit this is what you have to do:
- Your scanned image will appear in the canvas area and in your layers window as your layer named background. You have to select all Ctrl+A, then copy it Ctrl+C
Click the New Layer icon at the bottom of the layers window, to creat a new layer (this will appear as Layer 1) over the one named Background
Click the Layer 1 to work on it.
Fill that layer with black using the Paint Bucket Tool.
Now you have to add a layer mas to that layer. Click on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers window (that the icon that looks like a dark gray square with a white circle on it).
You'll see that a second layer thumbnail will appear side by side the original layer thumbnail.
Now you have to get in the layer mask. To do that Press and hold the Alt key and click on the layer mask thumbnail. You'll notice that your in the layer mask because the canvas area that you were just working on (that was completely black) will turn into white instantly.
You're now inside the mask, go on and paste the image you just copy at the beginning by pressing Ctrl+V. You'll see the image appear in your canvas area.
Now press Ctrl+I to make an inverted color image. This part is very important, because the color will be seen through the white area and the black area will block the rest.
Right Click over the layer mask thumbnail (a floating window will appear).
Select Apply Layer Mask from that window.
You're almost done!
Delete the Background layer by Drag and Drop it to the Garbage Can icon at the bottom of the layers window.
After that you'll see that your line art is completely isolated from any background or other color than black.
Now to put some color on it...
Make a layer on top of you Layer 1, this new layer will appear as Layer 2
Now you have to convert that Layer 2 in to a clipping mask, to do this Press and hold the Alt key and put your cursor between the 2 layers. You'll notice that the cursor will turn into a new kind of cursor (is like an arrow follow by 2 circles that are merging, you'll see it) Once the cursor have this new form click between the layers and the clipping mask will be created.
The clipping mask will be shown as an upper layer indented with a little arrow to its side pointing down to the layer it clips. Click the clipping layer as you would normally do to select the layer.
Fill that layer with any color and...
...see your line art change from black to the color you have chosen. You can freely color the line with multiple colors without bothering of painting outside the line (obviously the colors go on Layer 2 not on Layer 1).
Once you have finished coloring the line, merge the 2 layers together. And if you want to put some colors to your drawing just make a layer under the Layer 1 and have fun.
Hope this mini tutorial is useful for some of you.
Keep drawing, keep creating and having fun!