This tutorial shows how
to create comic art in PhotoPAINT and also discusses experienced
problems - so you can get great results in shorter time.
I created this picture
"FOR MY ..." after my holidays in the USA,
to thank my father for giving me the chance to visit this beautiful
and contradictory country. Why a penguin ? Because he loves
penguins - they must have something to do with low
temperature physics ;-)
The style is influenced
by some airbrush art and writings (graffiti) - somehow it looks
a bit childish. But I liked this, because it's a bit like a
these scrawly drawings you gave to your parents as you where
younger on Christmas ... everybody can read "Thank you
soooo much ..."
Before getting more
sentimental - How to do this ? I used COREL
PhotoPAINT & DRAW 8 because I was a betatester for it
and liked some features of it very much. It's very customizable
and has some great timesavers. You could also use Adobe Photoshop,
Micrografx PicturePublisher, Metacreation Painter or any other
other painting tool that gives you features like airbrush, blur
and layers. A graphic tablet like my WACOM
Artpad II is a great timesaver for coloring and blurring,
because a mouse isn't that controllable and it's harder to create
soft curves ...
Because creating sketches
even with a pad is hard (it's relatively small) I took a simple
pencil (yes, I can use traditional tools !) and created
a fast "1 minute" sketch of the penguin and the octopus
present. After this I scanned it with my MUSTEK
12000P (parallelport, slow but cheap) in a low resolution,
saved it and imported it into DRAW.
The next step was to
trace the outlines of the sketch for creating objects - I tried
COREL (OCR) TRACE, but there where some problems, for example
it created many nodes, so it got a bit un-editable and
because wanted to create independent objects I decided
to do this in DRAW. Simply load it as a background picture,
lock it and use shape tool and the node edit functions
like smooth for creating organic curves.
Of course you can do
this with other vector programms like Macromedia Freehand or
Adobe Illustrator or with the path tools included in the painters.
The PAINT path tool is a bit uncomfortable - scaling and rotating
paths isn't possible - but perhaps nobody ever wanted to do
Because neither DRAW
can export layered bitmaps (CPT) nor PAINT can import layered
vector file (CDR) without loosing the layer information (hope
his changes with version 9) you have to create some "outside
marks". These boundaries are necessary because DRAW
exports only the active objects in the wanted resolution - if
there are no marks, the eyes would be as large as the penguin.
I used layers
because coloring is much simpler and moving single objects (like
the eyes) is possible without destroying the other objects -
if you are absolutly clear about your picture you could export
it in one layer and use the magic wand mask tool for creating
independent color patches. With the objects you could also create
simple animations and use the single parts in other projects.
I exported every
object in a single file (use the small printer symbol in DRAWs
object window for exporting only a special layer) loaded it
in PAINT, used the magic wand mask tool, copied it into the
clipboard and pasted the object into a single main-document.
Then I arranged all layers for right position and order.
For overlapping objects
like the penguin fin and the octopus tentacle I created a temporary
mask, saved it in a new channel and created a second mask of
the other object in the same way. Then I switched the mode to
subtractive mask and loaded the first mask - to get rid
of the overlapping parts create a clip mask or simply delete
them. Now you have your final objects for coloring ...
... the "real"
problems. PAINT 8(a & b) is very inaccurate for airbrushing
and smearing fine color gradients - be prepared !
For creating fast colors
you simply fill the objects with gradients. First lock
the layer and then fill - for easy objects like the octopus
eyeballs you don't need much further editing.
For highlights and shadows
you should use airbrush, but you have to be very careful
with transpareny, if it's not right you will get a very covering
color or see nothing. Another possibilty to fix covering problems
is changing the dab spacing, but if the spacing between the
single dabs gets too large it will be no closed line, otherwise
you will get a very covering stroke ... For good shading it's
very difficult to find the right parameters, but by trying you
should be able to create useable airbrush lines - it depends
of the resolution of the picture, the dab size and spacing,
the transparency, the color of the layer, the color you want
to add, the weather and daytime ;-) Save the right brushes
and set the undo steps to 3-5 for experiments with the airbrush
and pen (pressure) settings.
For small transitions
use blend - to blur more, you have to push the mouse
buttons many times on the same place - by only moving it over
and over again, you would only blur it one time. Many clicks
and the effect gets more and more vissible.
A technic for creating
"large" soft transitions between 2 colors is to smear
the colors (EFFECT TOOL), but here PAINT is inaccurate - the
colors tends to shift to it's nearest RGB component - a cool
effect if you want to create fire or so, but for this it was
very annoying ... so be careful and use the airbrush to paint
over the shifted color.
Last to save time for
the "rough coloring" - mask parts of the objects,
feather this selection and use gaussian blur. Other types
of blur are only useful for the final work.
5. FINAL FIXUP and SHADOW
After coloring all single
objects, combine them all together. If you know you have to
fix some details, it would help to create masks of the important
objects - it's better to this right now - importing them from
older file versions only takes time. Now you can use airbrush
and blend to fix aliasing problems on the edges, creating the
final highlights and shadows. Then you clone the collapsed object,
lock transparency and fill it with a black to gray gradient.
This shadow object has to be skewed, sized and "perspectived",
then use blend, airbrush and the gaussian blur filter.
6. READY ... OR NOT ?
... here it comes - after
spending many hours (over some days) in front of my P166 with
64MB I was feed up. Because I wanted to print it in high resolution
(1800x1200) the sometimes up to 15 layers and the undo steps
caused my system to swap more than normal ... so if you want
to create a high-resolution-layer-mask-color-undo-picture, be
sure to have enough RAM or time ... perhaps also some more intelligent
undo and swapping algorithms in PAINT would help or even a less
memory greedy operating system, but it's quite nice and my father
liked it ;-)
Hope you liked this
tutorial, for more stuff like freeware, 3D Studio IPAS and more
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Seidel, Jena, Germany