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Author Topic: How to do outlines properly?  (Read 2970 times)

LordJaffa

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How to do outlines properly?
« on: 09 Aug 2006, 13:54 »

I know this is probably the second most essential skill when drawing for webcomics etc (andI'm still working on number 1, hehe) but how do you do the colouring and outlining for images? Are there any photoshop tools to use, or does it just require a steady hand when drawing the characters?

Thanks in advance for any useful tips :).
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Marcus

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How to do outlines properly?
« Reply #1 on: 09 Aug 2006, 14:43 »

Hi I'm new but I figured I can answer this just as easily as anyone else. Outlining is pretty much what you draw in ink (or in most webcomics cases in black and white on you tablet) and then scan in. Colouring, generally is done using layers and multiply in photoshop so that your blacks always come through and your colours don't interfere with the outline. There are tons of tutorials for how to colour for comic books all over the net, and the same rules generally apply for webcomics except that the colouring is usually more simplistic then what you get in print comics. I'll post some tutorials later if you can't find any.
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LordJaffa

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How to do outlines properly?
« Reply #2 on: 10 Aug 2006, 12:36 »

But on every webcomic I've seen, the outlines are always really smooth, while all the outlines I've done have been pretty jagged, even when I went over them carefully. Is there an actual brush setting I need to use? Or is this just a case of a steady hand while drawing?
Thanks for your input though :).
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Lise

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How to do outlines properly?
« Reply #3 on: 10 Aug 2006, 13:04 »

Hm, most artists I know just do a pencil drawing, ink it VERY carefully, then scan and import it into photoshop and do some extensive cleaning:

Here is a very helpful tutorial on making a good outline in photoshop (unfortunately it's for PS 5.0, so there may be variations due to version changes, though the ideas are still the same): http://www.cablenet.ne.jp/%7ejapanime/tutorial/cg1.html

I advise you to read the article :), maybe it will help! It even addresses the "jagged outline" problem: for the author, it occured when too much contrast was added.

PS: You can ask jeph how he does it :). Here what he wrote in the QC FAQ:

"Q: How do you draw QC?

A: I do all of the actual illustration in Adobe Photoshop with a 9x12 Wacom drawing tablet, and I use Adobe Illustrator to lay out the text and do the speech bubbles for each strip. I use the Brush and Eraser tools pretty exclusively. The lines look super-smooth because I have a pretty smooth drawing style to begin with, and because the original art for each panel is really, really huge. When it gets shrunk down any little jiggles I accidentally make get smoothed out. Click here for a short tutorial of how I draw."

The tutorial he made = http://www.questionablecontent.net/tutorial.php

It just has a lot to do with drawing big and shrinking the picture down :), then it appears smoother.
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logosmonkey

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How to do outlines properly?
« Reply #4 on: 10 Aug 2006, 13:20 »

well here's what I've found so far in my trials, one.. scan in color, b/w scan's will almost always jag up your lines. 2.scan huge, at 300 or so dpi, then when you shrink it to 72dpi for posting it will generally get fairly tight.
When you're cleaning your image use the levels control sparingly, it is awesome to take out light bits of trash but it can start to get really jaggy if you go to far with it.

What I've finally decided on for my comic is to start inking digitally, I use flash or illustrator .. haven't decided which I like best (probably illustrator though) Also flash has a really nice option to turn a jpg into vector, when you do it it will smooth all your lines when it turns them into objects... I can't recall the function off the top of my head but I used it in #14 on the devilandted. It is pretty functional just takes some playing around with.
++Edit++
ok the function in Flash is called trace bitmap, basically you import your image into flash (file > import > import to stage) then run modify>bitmap>trace bitmap .. fiddle with the controls to figure out a setting you like, I suggest working with a fairly large piece when doing this I found I got better results that way.
If you have a tablet though, I would really suggest trying out inking digitally. You scan in your pencils then go to town on them in a vector based proggie (or photoshop.. it will give you nice smooth lines as well.. just not quite as smooth or easy to much about with as one of the vector tools).
--Steve
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tetrahedron

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How to do outlines properly?
« Reply #5 on: 10 Aug 2006, 13:53 »

a lot of times the webcomics are smooth b/c the artist works at huge resolution and downsizes a lot, thus minimizing flaws.  the other option is that your computer needs more memory.  if it's a drawing flaw, you could try being more fluid; draw from the shoulder rather than the wrist.  i draw from the wrist too much.

edit:  so, since i opened this tab and forgot about it, 2 better responses have come about.  yay for knowledgable people!
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LordJaffa

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How to do outlines properly?
« Reply #6 on: 10 Aug 2006, 15:25 »

Lise: Thank you very much for that link, I read over the FAQ looking for a tutorial before I registered here, but I must have missed the click here bit.
Logosmonkey: Thanks for the suggestion, but I draw straight from a tablet onto Photoshop, I don't even own a scanner :).
Tetrahedron: A late suggestion is better than no suggestion ;)

Now, for your own safety, I advise you don't click the link, merely because of the horror that is "Jaffy's creepy picture"
http://www.jeffrino.com/images/drawings/qcforumpic.jpg
This was originally drawn at 4000x3000 pixels, then resized after colouring.. I know I'm no Jeph, or an artist for that matter, but any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated :).
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logosmonkey

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How to do outlines properly?
« Reply #7 on: 10 Aug 2006, 15:29 »

Ok from what it looks like you are just using short strokes to fill out lines. Are you using a sketch layer, i.e. a layer you setup the character with its pose, features etc and then placing a layer on top of that and inking the new layer? That will generally allow for much cleaner lines since you've already done all your base work on the bottom sketch and are basically just tracing on the new layer.
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