Textures & Transparency

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Introduction

In this tutorial you'll learn:
-how to import a scanned texture into CLIP STUDIO PAINT
-how to color areas of your illustration with a texture
-how to create transparency around a texture to simulate a watercolor effect, useful for things like clouds.

Hey I’m Jas! I’ve been working with textures for all my digital art life. When I first started making art on the computer, I felt overwhelmed by all the options and possibilities of the various editing software. I turned to using traditional paintings that I scanned into the computer to "digitally" color my art since I was mostly familiar with traditional painting. I have taught myself a lot on this subject and I'm excited to share my knowledge with you!

Setup

Open CLIP STUDIO PAINT and let's prep some of our tools.

[Auto-Select] tool
-Refer to editing layer only
-Follow adjacent pixel UNCHECKED
-Area scaling UNCHECKED
-Anti-aliasing UNCHECKED

[Pen] tool
-G-Pen
-Opacity 100
-Anti-Aliasing NONE

Scanning a texture

(I use my own painted textures and scan them, if you don’t have a scanner do a search online for “watercolor textures” and follow along using those)

You can use any software you want to scan your texture and CLIP STUDIO PAINT can also do it under [File > Import > Scan]). I usually scan at [600dpi] and save them as tif files for the best quality.

This is the texture I will be working with.

Lineart

Make a new project. [File > New]
-Canvas size: This is up to you, but I make my images larger than I need. [5760 x 3240] at [600dpi] with a gray color as the paper color.

Make a new layer for your drawing [Layer > New Raster Layer]

Now start drawing!!!

Remember earlier we set up our [Pen] tool with [Anti-aliasing] set to [NONE]? We want our lines to only be black without any fuzziness. Zoom in and check your lines

(if your lines are fuzzy, it’s ok. Select your drawing layer and go to [Edit > Tonal correction > Binarization]. Then set the [Threshold] to [255] and click [OK])

Coloring

Next select the [Fill] tool, choose your color and on the drawing layer, click in the areas you want to fill with color.

Because earlier we prepped our [Pen] tool to have [Aliased] lines, the colors filled in cleanly. The colors will be easier to select as well in the next step.

Adding a texture

Let’s bring in our texture: [File > Import > Image]. Find your scanned texture and import it.

For now, I'll move the texture to the area I plan to use it and in the layers panel keep it below the drawing layer. Select the [Auto-Select] tool and select the drawing layer. Click the area inside your drawing that you want to put your texture into. I’m going to put the texture into the purple stripes. Now my stripes are selected.

We are going to add a [Layer Mask] to the texture layer. Select the texture layer and go to: [Layer > Layer Mask > Mask Outside Selection]

My texture seemed to disappear but it’s just under the drawing layer. In the layers panel, move it above the drawing layer to see it again.

I don’t want the gold color so I’m going to play with the [Blending Mode] in the layers panel to find something that looks good. This is blending the texture with the layer below it. I chose [Color Burn].

Congrats, that's it! Working with textures is that simple and you probably don't need to use it more than this technique. However I really want to share with you how to add transparency to a texture. It's more work involved but you'll have more creative possibilities.

Advanced: Textures with transparency

The next thing I like doing is making textures look like paint washing out of the character, particularly in their hair. It gives a nice dreamy feeling like a watercolor painting. It’s a complicated process but it creates a great effect.

Import the same texture again and put it under the drawing layer.

I want to get rid of the white around the texture and if we use the [Blending Mode] again, it seems to work......

But it’s just blending with the gray background and there's a weird box around it. In the layer panel, click the eyeball next to the gray background so we can hide it. Notice the white parts come back because there is nothing to blend with below.

We could try the [Auto-select] tool and select the white area then delete it, but the result isn’t good.

We need to create an “alpha channel” which will mask the white areas. Remember the [Layer Mask] we made earlier with the clothing texture? Look in the layers panel and you will see it has another box to the right of it. This is the mask. Anything that is black is hidden and anything that is white is visible.

Since alpha channels only work in grayscale, we need to make our new texture in grayscale. First let’s go to the layer panel, select our new texture and rasterize it by right-clicking the layer then selecting [Rasterize]. This allows us to edit the colors. Next duplicate the layer by again right-clicking the layer in the layer panel then selecting [Duplicate Layer]. Hide the copied layer for now.

Remove the color by select the texture layer and going to: [Edit > Tonal Correction > Hue/Saturation/Luminosity] and set [Saturation] to [-100]

Next we need to increase the contrast of the texture. The white parts need to be 100% white to disappear completely later on.

Select [Edit > Tonal Correction > Brightness/Contrast] and adjust your image so the whites are completely white and the texture is still visible. (You can use the [Eyedropper] tool and click the white area to see if it is FFFFFF in the [Color Settings])

Now we can remove the white areas by going to: [Edit > Convert Brightness to Opacity]. In the layer panel hide your gray background to see that it is transparent.

Yes! The white parts are gone! But we're not finished. In the layers panel, [ctrl+left click] on this layer to "select the texture”.

Next unhide the colored texture layer, left click on it to select it and go to: [Layer > Layer Mask > Mask Outside Selection]. This is going to create a mask from the selection of the grayscale texture and apply it to the color texture. This will remove the white areas from the color texture. Hide the grayscale texture layer for now.

We got rid of the white part but it’s really faint. Duplicate this layer a few times and play with the [Blending Mode] to get the fullness of the color back. I used [Linear Burn] on the two duplicate copies above.

It looks like the original texture now but without the white area! From here you can adjust the color of the texture as you like [Edit > Tonal Correction > Hue/Saturation/Luminosity] and adjusting the [Hue] and [Saturation]. After I used the [Eraser] tool to clean up some areas.

We still have that spare grayscale texture hidden in our layer panel, so let’s make a cloud with it! On a new layer I painted a quick blue sky and put the sky layer under the drawing layer in the layers panel.

Unhide the grayscale texture layer and move it under the drawing layer and above in the sky layer. Right now it’s black so let’s reverse the color by going to [Edit > Tonal Correction > Reverse Gradient]. This will make it white. You can scale it with [ctrl+T] to make a big cloud. Position it as you like.

I cleaned up a few things and added hair highlights. Now it's finished!

Dreamy feeling right?

Final thoughts

Being a good artist is all about being a good problem-solver. I figured out this transparency technique because I was trying to make watercolor-type artwork to be used in video games but most game engines don’t support blending modes. Blending modes in video-editing programs are also tricky. However, for both, transparency IS SUPPORTED. So doing transparency first in CLIP STUDIO PAINT is much easier!

Thank you for reading! It’s my first tutorial and it’s a super complex topic, hope it helps!
-Jas

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