PS CS color tutorial

Ok since I have been asked by a couple people what my method is for coloring, I will post a 5 step tut. It is real easy and is for photoshop cs.


Scan your pic in greyscale. if you drew it in photoshop turn it to greyscale too.

Pull up your pencil work. If you want the pencil layer to show go to channels. Now in the channels section there should be 4 tabs at the bottom. Click the left most one and it should higlight your blanks outside your pencils. Now go to select and inverse that and the selection should have all your pencils highlighted now. Do not deselect anything.

Now go back to layers tab and make a new layer and name it inks or whatever you are comfortable with. Now that you are on your inked layer take the paint bucket and choose black and fill the selection. deselect this and tada you have your inks on that layer you just made.

Pic 2

Edit: Ok change your image from greyscale back to rgb. but don’t flatten the layers when asked to.

Now I ALWAYS work on a toned layer. So make a new layer and name it tone or whatever you like. Fill it with whatever color you want with the paint bucket. For instance if it’s a night time scene you would paint bucket it blue. It should be underneath your ink layers now, if not drag the ink layer so it will be on top. That way you will be coloring underneath your inks now.

I highlighted everything in red btw if you are looking for the tabs.

Pic 3

Brush selection and opacity. Whatever brush you are comfortable with use it. i just use a #12 square brush and couple of other simple ones.

i usually set opacity at 70. Again whatever you are comfortable with use it, as i have seen people use 20 to 50 opacity. Up to you. You can either color on your toned layer or make a new one which is fine same thing. i usually paint the character and bg on a seperate layer so i don’t have to fool with painting around the character. If you do this make sure your character layer is on top of your bg layer.

Oh and make sure you have your shape and other dynamics checked marked on the siding.


This all depends on your skill. Easy breakdown is to mass the shadows and highlights without any blending yet.

if you want to blend just use the alt button(which will now turn into the eye dropper icon) and blend away. How this works is when you lay down a color eyedrop that color and it will turn slightly lighter and greys out a bit also. Don’t overdo this option as this will totally grey out your whole pic if not used right. This is why i lay down pure color first right next to each other in masses.

ok last step is to take your picture as far as you want. With long hard hours it will be worth it in the end.

If you have any question let me know or other ps cs people here can probably answer them for you.

Aw shit man, this is excellent

Not only did you help me prepare a pic for coloring but you help me with layers (I was still stuck on those)

Kick ass tut

EDIT: I followed all the steps but I can’t add color. The only color I can get is grey. It wont let me choose any other colors.

lol. i bet it took like 45 mins to post this little tut. stupid geyass srk.

great insight.

Oh snap i forgot to tell you that in the first step do this all in greyscale. After you are done layering and all change it back to rgb but don’t flatten layers.

image, mode, and check on rgb.


bro…that eye dropper trick almost made me cum. i fucking love you

nice tut. but why do you put it on greyscale in the beginning? I scan it in grayscale, then turn it to color before I adjust the levels so I won’t have to convert after. Is it because in grayscale you pick up more whites when you load channel?

Btw before you fill in the lines, you can go to select>modify>and make the selections smaller, which will give you thinner lines.

Teach use how to use the square brush, SFMC, why do you use that instead of the round ones?

I wish they would make an option on the tablet to switch between opacity and size jitter at will.

good tutorial… is this the channel method that Chainwhore was talking about?

nice to see how you do your stuff. rather inspiring, actually.

Dammit SFMC

I still cant get the colors to show up. All my colors are in the greyscale. I changed the mode to RGB and everything. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH why?! I want to color! Help me! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Klak what are you doing here? post some pictures f00.

Dammit SFMC

sounds like you’re still working in grayscale - are you 100% sure you’re in RGB? Check the drag bar of the window you’re working on - it should read “<filename>,<zoom>, RGB” if you’re in RGB mode.

Ok I got it

I over looked a step in the tut. Now I wish I had a wacom…:frowning:

Thank you very much for this,SFMC!

It is very useful :DI have learn some nice methods of colors with it :slight_smile:

I don’t know how applicable wacoms are for detailed work, but doing fast color jobs to practice is the best!


there is something better than a wacom out there? I’m so oblivious…

People tell me wacoms are the best and thats what every studio uses from what I know and heard.

Glad some of you folks found this tut helpful. I really wish someone had told me these things earlier as i just learned these tips a year and something ago.:frowning:

Hope to see some awesome color skills from you guys soon!

Hey ya!.. Those are helpful!!! I hope to impress my teacher when I start classes!.. :smiley:

Whoa! That’s awesome, that’s really cool of you to share you knowledge with everyone. The Cammy - Ryu piece is also awesome (as usual).

Please excuse my a retarded alter ego but i don’t understand Step 4, pressing the ALT button makes the eyedrop tool appear, but how does this help blending? Doesn’t the eyedrop tool just select the identical colour to work with?

Also, could someone explain to me what the hell the airbrush is? and how it differs from a normal brush?