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I now erase the pencil lines (once the ink has dried properly of course!) and scan the image into the Photoshop. I habitually scan in at 300 dpi unless the publisher specifies otherwise. This will cover me for most printing types, i.e. magazines, books, internet etc etc. You can always drop resolution and be ok, but you can't up resolution without loss of quality.

Key points here - Scan at 300dpi, Scan as B&W Lineart (not colour or greyscale)

When your scanner has scanner you'll get a nice bitmap image like this -

Note - in the blue bit at the top it says it's a Bitmap image. Also you can see the bits on the side where the spiral binder bit goes through. Click "E" to bring the eraser tool up so that you can rub out the spiral binder holes. However, as this is a bitmap image (hard edges and pixels, no kind of fuzzy edging / anti-aliasing at all) you need to ensure you have the "Block" eraser chosen - it shows up as a small square graphic when you're going over stuff. Here's how you select it.

This is what it looks like on the screen (circled in red) -

Now you can go and erase all the little bits of suff that you don't want which will give you a lovely clean image to work with.

There - now doesn't that look lovely!

Now we have a clean image, we need to convert it into greyscale "Image>Mode>Greyscale" - a box comes up saying "Size Ratio" with "1" as the default. Click "OK" We now know that this is greyscale even though it looks identical to the B&W bitmap cos it says so here (Circled in red) -

Now we're going to covert it to CMYK which is THE essential part of the whole colouring in business. "Image>Mode>CMYK colour" - again we know that it's CMYK rather than greyscale, B&W or anything else cos it says so in the blue info bar.

Now it's CMYK there's one more important thing to do which will save us time in the long run. Preperation and all that. CTRL+A to select everything, then CTRL+J to duplicate the layer. This means that you'll have the same image twice in the psd file. If you look at the layers palette you'll see it as "layer 1" and "Background" with a small thumbnail version of each to see, thus -

The reason CMYK is so important is that it allows us to colour in via the individual "C", "M" and "Y" channels whilst floating the "K" channel over the top. This isn't confusing although it sounds like it is, however, despite trying for years, I can't put into words what it does. Just do it and it'll work OK. Ensure that you have "Layer1" selected. Go to the channels palette which should be located next to the Layers palette, (or if it's not showing click "Window>Channels" and it'll appear). Click on the channel that says "Cyan" and you'll see it go dark blue with an eye appear on the left hand side, all the other channels will go grey and there'll be no eye there, thus -

Here comes the trick - hold down "Shift" and click on the tabs that say "Magenta" and "Yellow" and THEN click on where the eye should be on "Black" and that makes the black channel visable but the key is that you're not effecting it in any way. It'll look like this -

Now SAVE YOUR IMAGE! (and continue to do so throughout the process)

Now you can get to work colouring in. The key here is to colour in simple flat colour using the pencil tool which will give you a hard edge with no anti-aliasing on it, and the bucket tool so that you can drop colour into big areas. This is all good until you come across a couple of problems, the most obvious of which is having a small gap in the black line that will allow colour to sneak through. This is illustrated here where the pink skin colour has gone through a gap and coloured the chaps' tooth. The arrow is pointing at the gap in question, you'll notice, however, how the black line because it's creating a visible barrier has stopped colour from going all over the place, which is jolly helpful -

To fix this problem, i've used the pencil tool "B" as it has a hard edge with no anti-aliasing and effectivly blocked the gap so that the colour is now locked in via a wall all the way around, be it mostly black but also partially yellow like this (I've zoomed in really close for this example) -

So now I can drop the same yellowy colour in to the tooth and it'll stay in place because there's a wall of colour in the way preventing it from escaping -

Nice! You'll see there's a little bit of discolouration on top of the black. Don't worry about that for the time being, we'll fix it at the end.

This is the simple of the 2 problems you'll most likely encounter with this method of colouring in. The second is slightly more complex to explain but is essential to understand otherwise it'll confound you eternally. Let's go to the chap's hair, and use the bucket tool to colour in a few areas with a nice orange

Now you'll see there's a few spots of white that I want to colour in, so I'm going to use the pencil tool and just scribble haphazardly over the top of everything, so that I get all the spots coloured in nicely, and for arguments sake i'm going to colour in a few of the other swirly bits with the pencil too.

Sorted - however, there's a problem. Where i've gone over the lines I've effectivly broken the black line wall. So now, if I drop a new colour (such as this rather fetching yellow) into what looks like an enclosed area, such as this one illustrated with the perfect red circle and arrow -

There's going to be a problem and the whole area is going to flood with colour, thus -

Could be a problem? Yup, but there's a way to fix it. Earlier you duplicated the whole layer and stared working on "Layer1" leaving "Background" untouched. Well, now select "Background" -

click "W" for "Magic Wand tool" making sure that all the tick boxes are unchecked -

Click on any black line bit of the image, (any pixel will do) -

So now you've selected all the line work / black in the picture, CTRL+J to duplicate that on to a new layer.

You'll see it gets placed ABOVE the Background layer, but BENEATH the Layer1. So click on "Layer2" and drag it above Layer1 -

Now CTRL+E to merge down that layer on to the layer beneath -

Now when you look at the same area again, you'll see that the discolouration on top of the black has gone - WOO! - and you can now safely drop colours into areas again without them bleeding all over the place. Here's a before and after shot -


After - See how the "walls" of solid black are back?

Before you can carry on as per usual, you need to go back to the channels palette and select "CMY" and show "K" as explained earlier again.

Now you can colour the whole piccy in, but just do it in flat colours for now. You may end up with something like this -

And what a cheery chap he is. The reason we've only coloured him in in flat colours will show itself presently, but for now click on the "Background" layer, select the black (as shown earlier), CTRL+J to duplicate the layer, click on the layer and drag it to the top of the layer pile. This is just a precaution to ensure that all the areas that may have a bit of colour going partially over the black line are nicely covered up. Now, select "Layer1", CTRL+J to duplicate it on to a new layer. (As you've left layer 1 to click on the background layer already, when you click back on layer 1 all the channels will be reselected, which is good in this instance as we want CMY and K to be copied. You should now have a layer stack with -

"Layer2" - just the black line work of the image

"Layer1 Copy" - a duplicate of the flat coloured picture

"Layer1" - this is the flat coloured picture

"Background" - this is the original black and white line drawing

With "Layer1 Copy" selected (as in the image above) click on an area that you'd like to put shadow or highlights on with the magic wand "W" - again ensuring that no checkboxes are ticked as earlier -

I'm going to select his skin colour and put some shading on it, so I click on a pixel on his face or hands which brings up a marquee thus -

Now I select my brush tool "B"

Note - this is the same as the pencil tool, so click on the pencil/brush icon (here the pencil is selected) -

And Click on "Brush Tool"

This will now mean you the brush selected. The brush is a smooth soft edged (i.e. feathered / anti-aliased) tool. At the top of change the brush blend mode to "Multiply" and the "opacity" to 40%. Hovering over the picture file, right click your mouse button and choose this brush (with nice soft edges) -

Note - the "Master diameter" setting gives you the basic width of the brush and you'll probably want to fiddle with that all the time depending on the size or area of the picture that you're working on. You can also toggle that up and down with these [ ] buttons, though it's quicker to right click and slide the slider along to where you want it to be rather than faffing around.

Hover over the skin colour, and press ALT and you'll see the brush icon change to a colour pipette icon, click on the colour and it'll load that into your colour paintbox window. Now just paint away where you think there should be shadow. WARNING - don't take your finger off the button! Every time you do you'll create a new multipy of the colour which results in messy blobbyness all over the place, the shadows should be smooth.

Here is a somewhat exagerated version. Now you've done that, you can do the rest! Instead of or aswell as shading, you can highlight by setting the brush settings to "Overlay" at 20% and then picking a nice light colour. Here's a rather jaundiced example -

If you decide that you want to change the whole tonal colour of a region once you've shaded it, for example, if I decided that I liked the shading and highlighting of the chaps' face, but actually I wanted his skin to be blue (!) then I can click on the original "Layer1", select the skin colour, click back on "Layer1 copy" and then CTRL+U to change the hue/saturation. This allows me to do things quickly and effectivly with the minimum of fuss as I know I'm only selecting the area specified and not some other small areas which may have become the same colour aswell thanks to shading.

Followed by clicking back on "Layer1 copy" then CTRL+U -

Finally, when the piccies finished, I save it for the final time in its .psd format. I then flatten it SHIFT+CTRL+E and save it as jpeg with "CMYK300dpi" written into the file name so I know what's what. I then go "Image>Mode>RGB colour" and save it again with "RGB300dpi" written into the file name, and then finally I go "Image>ImageSize" and change the resolution from 300dpi to 72dpi, and save with "RGB72dpi" written into the file name. This means that I've got a print version, a highres web version and a standard web version ready at my disposal whenever I want it! I then email my pics off to the publishers. Or, if there's lots of them I put them all together in a .rar file and upload them to and send the publishers a link to where they can download them from.

Finally, if it's a snazzy image I take the "RGB300dpi" version, create a new file that's 300dpi, 7 inches wide, by 4 inches high (or whatever), resize the image to fit nicely in the space, save it onto a memory stick and take it to Jessops. I plug the memory stick into the machine, drag the image over to their computer, and get them to print out a well snazzy 7x4 (or whatever) "digital photo" for about 15p!

There's probably other things to mention, but I cant' think of them right now. Hope that helps.



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