Adjust Colors with Correction Layers




Clip Studio Paint's Correction Layers are a really useful tool for adjusting colors on your canvas after they've been put down. They can make your colors just a little more interesting, or completely change them to something you might not have considered in your own. This guide will explain the use of each, along with a method I personally use to incorporate each of them to color adjust my art.

You can access Correction Layers by going to (Edit > New correction layer) from the top menu. Correction layers behave like regular layers, in that they can be clipping masked and layer masked, and have their opacity and layer mode adjusted. Clicking on the thumbnail of the correction layer will allow you to re-adjust the sliders at any point.


The Brightness/Contrast correction layer is used to control the values of your drawing. The Brightness slider controls how bright the light and middle values are, while the Contrast slider manipulates the intensity of the darkest values and the lightest values. Together, they let you deepen or lighten your values.

As you can see, adjusting my drawing with this correction layer made the lightest values a lot brighter and the darkest colors a lot darker. The middle colors also became a lot stronger and more saturated.


--- My Method of Use ---


I like to use the Brightness/Contrast layer to boost the saturation of my drawings.


When I have my Brightness/Contrast layer adjusted so it looks like the example above, I change the Layer Mode (the dropdown menu in the Layers panel) to Saturation. Then, I lower the opacity until it creates a result I'm happy with.

This adds a vibrant, glowing quality to my colors! I use this method a lot to get more interesting results at the end of my drawing process.


The Hue/Saturation/Luminosity correction layer lets you shift the colors, saturation, and luminosity (brightness) of your drawing around the color wheel after they've been put on the canvas.

The Hue slider will change the hue of your colors as though they were being shifted on the color wheel. In the example above, the blues in the original became purple, the purples in the original became pink, and the oranges became yellow as the colors shifted over.


The Saturation slider will change how vivid the colors are (how much grey is mixed into them) - a fully saturated drawing will have no greys.


The Luminosity slider will control the brightness of the drawing and gives the appearance of a light being shined through.


--- My Method of Use ---

I like to use this correction layer to add small areas of color variance to my drawings.


To do this, I create a Hue/Saturation/Luminosity layer and adjust the sliders to my liking. Then, I lower the opacity of the layer. I click on the Layer Mask that is automatically created with the correction layer, then clear it so the mask is completely black and the adjustments aren't visible on the drawing. Then, with a soft brush, I go over areas of the drawing that I want to add color variance to. This preserves the majority of the original colors, but also adds some more variety across large uninteresting areas of color.


The Posterization correction layer limits the number of used colors in your drawing to whatever number the slider is set to.


For example, if I set the slider to 10, then my drawing would be modified to only use those 10 rather than the hundreds that were actually used. This creates an interesting visual effect as the program attempts to combine colors and use pixelated stippling to recreate gradients with minimal colors.


--- My Method of Use ---

Like the previous correction layer, I like to use the Posterization layer to add some color variance to my drawings. To do this, I adjust the Posterization slider until I get something visually interesting. Then, I lower the opacity and set the Layer Mode to Color. This will preserve the brightness of the original drawing but add in those additional colors from the Posterization. I could also use the Layer Mask to isolate specific areas.

Reverse Gradient

The Reverse Gradient correction layer inverts both the colors and values of your drawing to their opposites.

As you can see from the example, all of the warm, bright colors became cool and dark.


This can create some unique effects for drawing magic or something scary.


--- My Method of Use ---

Almost every adjustment you make to the Reverse Gradient layer will have interesting effects. I personally like to set the Layer Mode to Lighten or Darken depending on the drawing to see what areas of the drawing are changed.

By setting the mode to Lighten in this example, all of the values on my original drawing that were darker than the correction layer were lightened up to the correction layer's colors. This changed the color palette and added an interesting brightened effect. It also gave the character's clothes a velvet-like effect.


Level Correction

The Level Correction layer allows you to manipulate the levels of specific colors in your drawing. This can be used to balance the colors to be warmer or cooler, or can manually balance the colors and brightness of your drawing in a more refined way. The dropdown menu at the top of the window allows you to switch through the different level options, each of which manipulates a different color. The RGB option controls the balance of black and white.

This can create some beautiful color filters that resemble photography editing.


--- My Method of Use ---

I find this correction layer incredibly useful by itself, both for balancing values and colors. But I also really enjoy the subtle effect of setting the Layer Mode to Hue. This can help harmonize your colors if they feel too different from one another to create a cohesive mood.

Tone Curve

The Tone Curve correction layer is a more refined form of the Levels layer, in that it allows you the same value and color balancing but to a much higher degree.

It allows you to control each color presence for each value, so you can get very specific with your adjustments until it looks exactly how you like it.


--- My Method of Use ---

My favorite way to use the Tone Curve layer is to set the layer mode to Color, clear the Layer mask, and then brush over my drawing with a soft brush on a low opacity to add color variance. Since Tone Curves can provide so many unique results, your colors can have really interesting "rainbow" effects when the adjustments are applied in different areas.

Color Balance

The Color Balance correction layer is a simple and easy way to adjust your colors if the Levels and Tone Curve layers are too intensive for your needs. The Shadow, Half-Tone and Highlight options allow you to balance how much of each color is present in your lightest, middle, and darkest values.


--- My Method of Use ---

I like to use this layer to do some minor color adjusting, but it can also be used similarly to the Tone Curve and Levels layers to achieve some unique variance effects.


The Binarization correction layer converts your drawing into just black and white. The sliders control the intensity of the contrast, either towards white or black. The effect is something like a vintage video game.


--- My Method of Use ---

I like to use this correction layer to add dramatic values to my drawings.


One method is to create a duplicate of your drawing (or go to [Layer > Merge visible to new layer] to create a copy while preserving your unflattened layer) and then merge your correction layer with it. When this is done, go to (Edit > Convert brightness to opacity). This will turn the whites of your layer into full transparency, leaving only the black areas.


Now, you can Lock Transparent Pixels (the lock with a checkerboard behind it) in your Layers panel and fill in the black with any color of your choice.


Finally, you can change the Layer Mode and opacity to whatever suits your needs. I like to use Multiply or Color Burn depending on the drawing. If the pixelated edges are too harsh, you can soften them by going to (Filter > Blur).

Gradient Map

The final Correction Layer (and my favorite by far) is the Gradient Map layer.


The Gradient Map layer binds a chosen gradient to the values of your image. For this example, I'll choose this gradient from my set:

This gradient will bind itself to the values of my drawing. In this case, the dark blue on the left side of my gradient will replace all of the darkest values in my drawing, and the peachy yellow on the right side will replace all my darkest values.


--- My Method of Use ---

I like to lower the opacity of my Gradient Map layer and apply a different Layer Mode depending on my drawing. Using the Color or Hue mode will just change the colors without affecting the values or brightness, while modes like Darken and Lighten will only affect certain values. You can achieve some beautiful results with this method.

I hope this guide was helpful! Using a combination of these layers and methods can help you to use more interesting and unique colors for your work, so I highly encourage you to give it a try if you haven't already!



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