Photoshop CS4: Protect line art from being painted on

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by zarusoba, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502

    I've scanned a black and white line drawing in to Photoshop and I want to do a watercolor-ish style wash on it. So I want to protect the black lines from being painted on. Only the white area should be painted.

    I'm trying to get my head around the masks but I'm not quite there. I know how to select the black lines, but what should I do from there?
  2. macrumors 6502a

    You could duplicate layer and remove the white in blending options. Do this by selecting blend options on the layer and in the blend if [grey] move the first slider from the white end in. This way you have a layer for the black outline.

    Also u might want to turn off the background layer so that you can see when the white has been taken away from the duplicate layer.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    You don't need to mask it. Either paint on a Multiply layer over the top, or make the linework layer Multiply and paint on a normal layer underneath it.

    Edit to add: For what it's worth, adding the colour underneath a Multiply layer with the linework on it is basically how comic books are coloured ...


  4. macrumors 6502

    Thanks GT and Jim. Both great solutions.

    Jim: any good books etc. on doing comic book art with Photoshop?

    (BTW, I've tried using Corel Painter's watercolor brushes, but at high resolution they are way too slow, unless you stick with small brushes).
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    FWIW, pretty much all comics are coloured with Photoshop. This book appears to be the go-to guide for doing comics digitally.

    One thing that's very important is to make sure that your line-art is absolute b/w. Selection tools should have anti-aliasing turned off and if there is a fuzzy grey edge use Image -> Adjust -> Threshold to convert to b/w.

    Obviously, the line-art will look jaggy, so you'll need to work at 600dpi and that way the jaggies won't be visible in the printed product.

    Hope that helps!


  6. macrumors 6502

    Thanks, Jim. I'd been wondering about the anti-aliasing issue.
  7. macrumors member


    A variation on this tutorial might also help with not having jaggy lines, if you opt to not use the Multiply layer method:

    You might try to use the Magic Wand to select all the black lines and then do this sort of thing to have smooth edges. I haven't actually done that, though so I don't know how well it'll work. I have followed the tutorial, however, and I don't know what I did before I found it. It's amazing.

    Good luck. :)
  8. macrumors 68000

    Go to Channels

    cmd+click the RGB or CMYK channel, that will select all white

    do Select>Inverse (cmd+i)

    select a blank layer and cmd+delete [fill] with black selected as the color

    set the layer to preserve transparency

    With that method you can color the line art instead of it just being black, coloring lineart is most popular for the skin where you make the lines a dark brown. If you just want it to be black then set it to multiply and be done with it.

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