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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Coloring Robot in Photoshop - Tutorial

Digital Art Tutorial Recommended for Intermediate Level Photoshop Users
As you will see, it is actually quite a simple Adobe Photoshop technique, but the results can be very effective! The workflow shown below is a good way to give an image the added dimension needed to convey shape and form.
Remember this tutorial is designed for intermediate level Photoshop users, so I will not bog down the page with explanations on how to do every little function. If you are not very experienced in Photoshop, I suggest that you go through Melissa’s Colouring Line Art tutorial first.

Colouring Robot in Photoshop 1

1) Line Art

Scan your line art into Photoshop. Zoom right in and clean up any untidy areas. Finally desaturate and adjust the curves on your image to ensure that your lines are indeed black and the white is indeed white. This technique is explained in detail here.
The image above is my line art once it was cleaned up. I named this layer “LineArt”.
Colouring Robot in Photoshop 2

2) Base Colour

Next I created a new layer beneath the line art and gave it a nice tan colour. This just gives it a bit more life and be any colour you want.

I changed the “Line Art” layer to multiply mode. This effectively renders the white of the “line art” layer transparent. Now we can see the adjustments you make to the layers beneath without affecting the line art layer. I called this layer “BaseColour”.
Colouring Robot in Photoshop 3

3) Silhouette

Next I create a new layer and filled in the shape of the robot with a solid colour, and named this layer “Silhouette”.

 This layer will not be visible, but serves a couple of purposes. The first, is keeping the shaded values we are about to add within the lines. This enables a free and fast way to lay down the tones. The other purpose, is that eventually we will use this layer to form the shadow.
Colouring Robot in Photoshop 4

4) Dark Tones

With the “Silhouette” layer visibility turned off (click the eye icon beside the layer) we need to select this shape. From top menu,
Select >> Load Selection
(Ctrl-click on the “Silhouette” layer in the “Layer Window” in old versions of Photoshop CS and earlier).
With this area selected we won’t be able to draw over the lines. Next I create a new layer, and used a fairly dark colour to loosely lay in the darker areas of the robot. I named this layer “DarkTones”.
Colouring Robot in Photoshop 5

5) Mid Tones

I created another layer beneath the DarkTone layer. I used a slightly lighter shade to bring in some mid tones. No prizes for guessing what I called that layer. Again just lay it in loosely.
Colouring Robot in Photoshop 6

6) Soften the Tones

I adjusted the transparency on both the DarkTone and MidTone layers and gave them a slight Gaussian blur. This blended the two shades together a bit more and lightened them up a bit.

Once that was done I merged the two layers together with the brown base colour. I named this layer “Base”. I know it looks rough at this stage, but it does get better. Honest.
Colouring Robot in Photoshop 7

7) Tone Detail

I gave the “base” layer a bit more depth by using both the Dodge and Burn tools. You can start to tighten up while using this method. Make sure you use a blurred brush not a solid one, or else you won’t get that nice blended effect.

Colouring Robot in Photoshop 88) Getting the Chrome Look

This is how it looks once all the adjustments are done with the Dodge and Burn tools. You can get that nice chrome, reflective look by alternating different values. An added visual aid is a bit of rim light added to certain areas. I placed it against a darker value to help make it stand out.

Colouring Robot in Photoshop 9

9) More Chrome Effect

To give it that little bit extra, I used the Dodge tool to highlight the rivets and edges of the plate lines. This helped to separate each plate and gave the image a bit more depth, not to mention the eye candy value.
Colouring Robot in Photoshop 10

10) Add Glow Effects

Once the main section of the image was completed, I went about adding little things to bump it up. One was the use of glow effects. These are done by using a blurred brush.

I also lightened up the far arm and leg to give that foreshortening look.
Colouring Robot in Photoshop 11

11) Robot Shadow

The shadow for the robot was the last step, and like the rest of this tutorial, was easy. All I did was duplicate the Silhouette layer, and flipped it over by going to Edit>Transform>Flip Vertical.

Colouring Robot in Photoshop 12

12) Fine Tuning the Shadow

I then adjusted the look of the shadow by going Edit>Transform>Distort. As you can see there can be problems with the shadow matching up, but a bit of fine tuning and depending on the results, a bit of editing with a brush, you can get it looking right.

Once you have it where it should be, give it a bit of a blur and drop the opacity down. As you can see the shadow is above the robot layer. To get rid of the sections over the robot area, we go back to the Silhouette layer. Again we Ctrl click the layer to select, and with the shadow layer still active we hit delete.

Colouring Robot in Photoshop 13The End

And here you have it, an easy tutorial. You can use this technique on any type of character you like, it is quick and looks good, and who can argue with that.
-Troy Packer

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Adobe Photoshop Shortcuts, Tips & Resources

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts - Tips & Resources

In this tutorial I'll show you how to use Photoshop CS and CS2 to change your keyboard shortcuts, how to save sets of customized keyboard shortcuts, and how to print out your customized sets. If you have an earlier version of Photoshop, at the end of the tutorial you'll find some helpful tips and a list of sites where you can download collections of Photoshop shortcuts in PDF form.

How To Change Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts (CS & CS2 Only)
How To Change Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts (CS & CS2 Only)To create your own shortcuts in Photoshop CS or CS2, go to the Edit Menu and select Keyboard Shortcuts. The Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box serves as a shortcut editor, and includes all the commands that support shortcuts.

To modify the keyboard shortcuts you'll have to create a new keyboard shortcut set by clicking on the New Keyboard Set button (the icon to be clicked is immediately to the left of the trash can icon). You'll then be asked to name and save your shortcut set. Now select a heading from the dropdown menu on the left that says Shortcuts For. This allows you to view all of the Photoshop commands in either the Application Menus, the Palette Menus, or the Tools.

How To Change Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts (CS & CS2 Only)Once you've selected a heading you can search through the contents to locate the command you’d like to change or create a shortcut for. Commands that already have shortcuts will be indicated in the menu. You can change these if you’d prefer by clicking on the shortcut, typing in a new shortcut, and pressing Accept at the top right side of the dialog box.

To make a totally new shortcut, click on the blank space beside the menu command and type in the shortcut you’d like to use. To save it click on the Add Shortcut button.

How To Change Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts (CS & CS2 Only)The hardest part here is finding a key combination that's not already taken. Even the Keyboard Shortcut command has a shortcut (it's Shift-Option-Command-K for Mac and Shift-Alt-Ctrl-K for Win).

How To Remove Shortcuts From A Command Or A Tool
Choose Edit> Keyboard Shortcuts. In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box, select the command or the tool name whose shortcut you want to delete, and then click Delete Shortcut.

How To Delete A Set Of Shortcuts
Choose Edit> Keyboard Shortcuts. In the Set pop-up menu, choose the shortcut set that you want to delete. Then click the Delete icon (or the Delete Shortcut button), and OK to exit the dialog box.

Create Project-Specific Custom Workspaces (CS2 Only)
How To Change Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts (CS & CS2 Only)Photoshop lets you create custom workspaces that display just the palettes you need for a specific project, and in CS2 a new customized workspace can also include one of your keyboard shortcut sets.

Choose Window> Workspace> Save Workspace. The option is listed under Capture. Just click on Keyboard Shortcuts and the active set will be saved with the new customized worskspace.

Context-sensitive Menus (they live in your mouse...!)
In addition to using keyboard shortcuts, you can also access many commands using context-sensitive menus. Context-sensitive menus only display commands that are relevant to an active tool, a selection, or a palette. To display a context-sensitive menu, right-click (Win) or Control-click (Mac) in a document window or palette.

For example, when you have a file with layers, clicking on the document in this way will bring up a contextual menu filled with layer options. This saves you a trip to the palette flyout.

Save Them, Print Them, Learn Them
To print your keyboard shortcuts, go to Edit, Keyboard Shortcuts and click Summarize. Photoshop will then save your shortcuts to an html document that can be opened in any text editor or web browser. From there you can print a copy to keep as a reference. Sweet.

Photoshop 6 Shortcuts & Photoshop 7 Shortcuts
Although the option of creating your own shortcuts is only available in the latest versions, don't despair. In earlier versions many of the commands already have their own shortcuts set in the program. To learn more about these, go Help> Photoshop Help to launch the Photoshop Help pages.

In Photoshop 7 or lower, you can find the shortcut commands in the Help menu's table of contents on the left-hand side of the page. Just scroll down to the very bottom. Macintosh and Windows each have their own index, and offer slightly different shortcuts for the same commands. Click on any of the headings and you'll be given a list of available shortcuts.
Since the help pages are launched in a browser, you also have the option of printing these pages to use as a reference guide.

Get Your Free Photoshop Shortcuts PDFs...
Photoshop expert Trevor Morris offers an assortment of free Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts PDF files. You'll find the following:

Adobe Photoshop CS3
- Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet (July 6, 2007)
All keyboard shortcuts organized into four pages, by menu, as well as alphabetically by key.
- Keyboard Shortcuts Presets (June 23, 2007)
This keyboard shortcuts (KYS) file includes dozens of extra shortcuts for commonly used commands (all documented in the above cheat sheet). Installation instructions are included in the ZIP file.

Adobe Evangelists - Photoshop CS2 PDFsShortcuts For Photoshop CS2 - PDF
- Photoshop CS2 keyboard shortcuts organized into four pages, by menu commands and by key (alphabetically).
- Mac version of the above Photoshop CS2 keyboard shortcuts.
- Photoshop CS2 Keyboard Shortcuts (KYS), Menu Customization (MNU) and Workspace files, containing many additional shortcuts. 100% compatible with default keyboard shortcuts. All detailed in the above PDF.

Shortcuts For Photoshop CS - PDF
- Photoshop CS keyboard shortcuts organized into two pages (ideal for laminating as a two-sided reference). Page 1 organized by commands, page 2 by keys.
- Mac version of the above Photoshop CS keyboard shortcuts.
- Photoshop CS Keyboard Shortcuts (KYS) file containing many additional shortcuts. 100% compatible with default keyboard shortcuts. All shortcuts available in the above PDF.

Shortcuts For Photoshop 7 - PDF
- Photoshop 7 keyboard shortcuts organized into two pages (ideal for laminating as a double-sided reference). Page 1 is organized by commands, and page 2 is organized by keys.
- Mac version of the above Photoshop 7 keyboard shortcuts.

Shortcuts For Photoshop 6 - PDF
- Two page Photoshop 6 keyboard shortcuts.
- Two page Photoshop 6 keyboard shortcuts for the Mac.

Shortcuts For Photoshop 5 - PDF
- Photoshop 5.x keyboard shortcuts. Page 1 is organized by keys, and page 2 is organized by commands.

Free Default Tool Palette Chart With Keyboard Shortcuts (PS CS3)
Below you'll also find a graphic from Chapter 2 of Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks Bible. This is the Photoshop CS3 Default Tool Palette (with all the flyouts showing - along with their keyboard shortcuts). Photoshop CS3's tool palette displays the icons for 22 different tools in a tall, vertical palette. Some of the tool icons expand to access tools that are not visible, bringing the entire number of tools to 58 plus paint swatches, Quick Mask icons, and the view modes. Click the small black arrow on the lower right of the tool icon to display the additional related tools in a flyout menu. Thanks to our friends at Wiley for the free chapter and the free tool palette chart. And here is a direct link to the graphic for the Photoshop CS3 Default Tool Palettes Chart, so you can print it out.

Photoshop CS3 Default Tool Palettes Chart - with keyboard shortcuts showing

Shortcuts For Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw 3
The keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw 3 are available from PhotoshopNews (courtesy of Ian Lyons, Computer-Darkroom).

Power Shortcuts PDFs From The Adobe Evangelists Site
There are some free PDFs of Photoshop Shortcuts by Julieanne Kost & Daniel Brown that you can download from the Adobe Evangelists site. Look for:

Photoshop CS2 - Power Shortcuts
Adobe Evangelists - Photoshop CS2 PDFsFrom the PDF: "In Photoshop CS2, many of the shortcuts for the application menus, palette menus and tools can be customized using the Keyboard Shortcuts editor. Although this document mentions some of the more common editable shortcuts, it also provides additional functionality only accessible through using keyboard modifiers which can't be changed through the Keyboard Shortcut editor."
To help organize the document, it is subdivided into the following 6 categories: The Tool Palette, Navigating the Work Area, Palette Shortcuts, Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, and Grab Bag (everything else).

You'll also find Power Shortcuts for Photoshop CS and Photoshop 7, as well as some other really good goodies.

Time To Control-W (Mac: Command-W) This Tutorial
There are so many 'hidden' features in Photoshop that can only be accessed through the shortcuts that I think the software engineers purposely added them as little rewards to create a treasure hunt for those of us who take the time to dive deeper into this amazing program.

Now go and study the shortcuts, because, as Trevor Morris says, "Keyboard shortcuts can not only improve your efficiency in Photoshop, but they can even provide you with functionality that might not be available by any other means."

And make sure to create a shortcut for having fun. That's essential!

tutorial and images © Jennifer Apple of