Pracken's Paint Shop Pro Tutorials

Coloring Black and White Images

wreathfront

This tutorial was requested by Lulu. There are many ways to color black and white graphics. I use different techniques depending upon the difficulty of the image. Once you learn the various techniques, you can mix and match them, varying as necessary depending upon the graphic you start with.

The black and white image I used in this tutorial has areas that are open and then areas that are more darkly shaded. This tutorial will give you practice in coloring graphics of this type, as well as a little practice in shading.


For this tutorial, you will need the following:

Paint Shop Pro. I used version 7.04 but if you are familiar with PSP, you should be able to convert the tutorial without problems. You can download the latest PSP version demo here.

My black and white image. You may download it here.

My color chart. Right click on this and save it to your computer.

wreathcolors


Step 1. Open up the black and white image you downloaded. (Note: All screenshots are sized down unless otherwise specified).

Copy the color chart you downloaded and paste it as a new layer onto your image. Move it to the bottom out of your way. When you need a color, just click on it with your eye dropper tool.

Step 2. The first thing I always do with a black and white image is make a mask. That way, I can add it back in later to keep the line definition. To make a mask, make your background layer active and then go to masks>new>from image. Use the settings below. Your image will look like mine in the screenshot.

    

Save the mask. Go to masks>save to alpha channel. Name it whatever you want. Click ok. (You could also save it to disk if you'd like, but alpha channel makes it more convenient since it's already there ready for you to use).

Now you need to get your original image back so go to Edit>undo mask from image. You should now have your graphic back, ready to color.

Step 3. Add a new layer. You can do this step later if you wish, but I like to do it now so I can see what I'm doing better. Add a new layer. Load your mask (go to masks>load from alpha channel, and choose the mask you just made). You won't see anything on your graphic, but it's there. Now choose your flood fill tool, and fill the mask with black. (If you don't believe it's there, just turn your background layer off for a second and you'll see it).

All of the layers you add will go underneath the mask layer and on top of the background layer.

Step 4. Now you're ready to color. I put each color on its own layer. That makes it easier to change later if you wish, and also easier to correct any mistakes you might make coloring. I also name my layers just to make navigation easier. Just name them as you choose.

You could start coloring anywhere you like, but I chose the roses to do first. Choose your magic wand (tolerance about 2, feather 1) and click inside the roses (hold your shift key down while selecting, to get all of the areas) - there are 4 roses. Add a new layer. Set your foreground color to color #1. Flood fill the roses.

You'll probably have some little bits not colored, so just choose your paintbrush and paint those. Make sure you get all the uncolored areas. When done, you should have something similar to this.

Step 5. I decided to add some shading to my roses, but you could leave yours as they are if you wish. To add shading, select your roses by going to selections>select all>selections>float (you'll see the marquee of "marching ants" around your roses). This way, any color you add won't go outside the lines of your roses.

Add a new layer (I always do shading on a separate layer as well - makes it easier to change later).

Set your foreground color to color #2. Choose your airbrush and use the settings in the screenshot. Spray color around the edges of your petals. Then choose color #5 and spray some color on the inside of the area you just sprayed.

  05wreath   05awreath

Now to smooth the color out a bit. Choose your retouch tool, smudge brush, with the settings in the screenshot. Smudge the colors just a bit to smooth them.

05awreath     05cwreath

Step 6. Make your background layer active. Choose your magic wand. Click on the smaller roses (there are 4 of them). Set your foreground color to color #3. Add a new layer. Flood fill. Note: Because these areas are smaller, you're probably going to need to use your paintbrush as well. Just paint in any areas that you missed.

Select this layer (selections>select all>selections>float). Using color #4, spray some color around the edges. When done, it should look something similar to this.

06awreath       06wreath

Step 7. Make your background layer active. With your magic wand click inside the two hibiscus-like flowers. Add a new layer. Set your foreground color to color #5. Flood fill the flowers. Use your paintbrush to get any bits you missed.

Use your airbrush to spray on color #10 similar to mine.

07wreath      07awreath

Step 8. Add a new layer. Set your foreground color to color #7. Paint in the flower centers on both of your flowers.

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Step 9. Add a new layer. Choose color #7 and paint in the little flowers as I've done (there are 9 of these flowers). (You could use your magic wand to select them if you wish, but since they're so small, I decided just to paint them instead).

Select this layer (go to selections>select all>selections>float). Set your foreground color to color #12 and with your airbrush, spray some color on the tips of your flowers.

Paint the centers of the flowers with color #6.

09wreath      09wreath

Step 10. Make your background layer active. Select the flower buds (there are 7 of these). Add a new layer. Choose color #8 and flood fill them.

Select this layer (selections>selection all>selections>float). Add a new layer. Choose your airbrush (change the opacity to 50% and the density to about 40%). Add a new layer and spray color #9 around the edges of the flowers. Smudge just a wee bit to soften (use the same settings as before for your smudge brush).

10wreath      10awreath

Step 11. Make your background layer active. Select the next flower (just one of these). Add a new layer. Choose color #6 and flood fill. Select this layer (selections>select all>selections>float).

Add a new layer. Set your foreground to color #10, choose your airbrush (same settings as last step), and spray some color similar to mine. Smudge just a bit to soften.

11wreath

Step 12. Add a new layer. Set your foreground color to #11 and paint in the two little flowers at the top.

Choose color #6. Add a new layer and add a teeny bit of shading (adjust your brush size down if you need to).

12wreath      12awreath

Step 13. Make your background layer active. Click inside the first set of leaves (there are 28 of them). Add a new layer. Set your foreground color to #13 and flood fill. Keep selected.

Add a new layer. Set your foreground color to color #14 and spray some color around the outsides of your leaves.

Smudge slightly to soften.

13wreath      13awreath

Step 14. Make your background layer active. Click inside the next set of leaves (they look like ivy and there are 8 of them, all in the lower left of your graphic). Add a new layer. Set your foreground color to color #15 and flood fill. Keep selected.

Add a new layer. Using color #14, spray some color around the edges. Smudge a teeny bit.

Now deselect and use your paintbrush to paint the stems for these (do it on the color layer and not the shading layer).

14wreath 14awreath

Step 15. Make your background layer active. Choose your magic wand and click on the white area outside and inside your wreath. Then click selections>invert. This will select your wreath (you'll see marching ants around it), and you'll be able to color better without going outside the lines.

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Set your foreground color to #14 and background color to #15 (that way you can switch back and forth between the two colors). Add a new layer. Now you're going to color in all the rest of the uncolored areas with your paintbrush (adjust the brush size as necessary). Paint in the stems using color #14.

Change the opacity of your paintbrush down to about 50. It may be helpful to turn your mask layer off to do this coloring, so you can better see what you're doing (in the screenshot below, my mask is off).

Color in all the areas with your paintbrush, alternating between #14 for the darker areas and #15 for the spray-like areas. Deselect. When done, it should look similar to this (mask is off).

16wreath

Step 16. Turn your mask layer back on. Turn your background layer off. Add a new layer - place it on top of your background layer, flood fill with white.

Now slide the opacity of your mask layer down to whatever pleases you (mine's at 85). You want some of the black detail, but not so much as to overpower the graphic.

Step 17. When you're satisfied with your creation, hide the color chart and background layers. Then merge visible layers. Save the merged image as a psp file.

To finish up - delete everything except your white background (or you can make it a different color if you wish) and the merged wreath layer. Add a drop shadow (horizontal and vertical at 6, blur at 6, opacity 100 (I always add a drop shadow on a separate layer at 100% opacity - that way I can adjust it as I wish). Slide the opacity down to something that you like (mine's at 35.)

And that's it, all done.....I like coloring these types of graphics because it's a bit more like I've got a big ole crayola in my fingers *grin*.....Hope you've enjoyed it! And as always, please let me know if you experience any problems.




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This tutorial was created on August 24, 2004.
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