Tools to add color





Hello!! Welcome to this new TIPS. Today I will present different tools to apply color to our illustrations easily and quickly. The methods presented here can be applied to any type of style. I hope these tips help you. Well, without more to say.


Let's get started!!

1. Previous concepts

First of all, the first thing I can advise you is to prepare the colors you want for your illustration; They may change their mind along the way and decide to use others, but they will already have part of the way, because if they use color theory to select them, if we want to change them later they will be able to use any of the program's tools without having to start coloring from the beginning.



► Plan colors

The program has various tools that we will call "Color Palettes" which are essential for choosing and saving colors. Now let's see which ones can help us plan them.


Below I leave a link to a more detailed explanation of its characteristics, in addition to addressing color theory:

To begin, I will recommend using color palettes because they are practical when choosing colors. Each of these tools can be found in the following path: Window > The options will be from Color Circle to Mix Colors.



This tool allows you to mix colors using a palette that emulates analog combination, its use is quite intuitive; In addition, it allows you to mix colors using the texture of any brush. Useful for using the fundamentals of color in the digital world.



These three tools can help you choose colors. The color slider allows you to toggle the RGB, HLS and CMYK model. From this tool you can extract the luminosity, saturation or tones of a color that has been selected from the color wheel.

As for the Neutral Color panel, you can obtain the luminosity and saturation of a color or colors; by placing the colors in the reference boxes we can see how they mix with each other.

The approximate color is used to obtain an approximation of your selected color; This now depends on a single color, while the previous one could depend on up to four different colors. With the bar found in the left and upper left sections you can modify the level of gray and white to measure the level of the functions we choose.



We already have our colors, but what happens if we want to use these same colors on another occasion? How to save them? Well that is a very interesting question; We will see that the program has a palette called "Color Set", this will help store them.


First, the palette has default color sets that we can access through the drop-down menu, but we can also create our own.

To create a new set of colors you must click on the wrench at the top right. When you click, the following window will appear where various options will appear to create, modify, duplicate or delete a set.

Once a new set has been created, we can save all the colors we want there, either by right-clicking on an empty space and choosing the option "Replace color" or by clicking on the drop with the plus sign located in the bottom right.

► Tip for planning colors

Beginners usually have trouble visualizing their illustrations with the colors they want, which is why I recommend having a semi-clean sketch where we can add the colors. With any brush, quickly apply the colors below the sketch. If the composition convinces us, we will be ready to move on to the next step.

Now, if it turns out that we don't like the color composition, it would be tedious to erase everything and start over; Luckily there is a function within the program that will make it easier for us to change the color without deleting anything. CHAN CHAN CHAN... And the tool is? Tone/contrast/luminosity.


We can find this tool in the following path: Edit > Tonal Correction > Tone/Contrast/Lightness. As its name says, with its controls we can change the tone, contrast and saturation of the colors found in the currently selected layer. If we place each color on a separate layer we can modify them separately.


I really like this tool, I love it because it allows me to do thousands of color tests without wasting unnecessary time.

2. Tools for the model from scratch

Now yes, we will begin with the central focus of this tutorial, the different functions of the program that will make it easier to add color to the illustrations. This second section will specialize in the classic illustration model, that is, starting from the sketch. Section three will cover the functions with which you can add color to a grayscale illustration.



► Filling

Now, first we will locate the fill tool, this is located on the toolbar, it is the small cube.

Fill has four functions: Refer only to edited layer, refer to other layers, close and fill, paint unfilled area. Although there are four, I will only address three of them, the ones that are for me the most useful for establishing base colors. Step one to color with this tool is to apply multiple layers. We will just see it below:




To begin, we will mark the reference layer icon in the sketch folder or layer, this will allow the colors to be applied on separate layers without painting the entire canvas as seen at the beginning of the GIF when the option is not yet checked. We will mark it in both, both in the properties of the fill tool (all four functions have that option) and those of the layer.

As you can see, folder 01 contains layers with the sketch, I will mark this one with the reference layer function, once this is done I will move to folder 02 where I will put the colors. In this way, the fill tool, taking the selected layer as a reference, will know what the limits are to fill.

In the refer to layer settings of the fill tool we can find different options to exclude features from the layers of the references, for example, let's say we have a text inside the folder that we are using as a reference and we want it to take all the references as a reference. folder layers, but ignore the text layer. We mark the option to exclude text in the exclude section.


Among the layers that we can exclude we have: Sketch layer, text, Selected layer, paper layer and locked layers.



Once you have the referred layers, now it is the turn of the fill tool. With this function we can fill closed spaces and, by modifying some settings, even fill spaces with slight openings, but we will see that in the next point. For now I will only explain the use of three of the sub tools.




This function is for use, conventionally, I use it to fill large spaces. Also, you can hold the click and drag the cursor to fill several spaces without having to click multiple times.



This function is the same as the lasso, we select and what is inside the selection will be filled with paint. Because it follows the pattern of lines, it is advisable to use it with areas of the illustration that contain many lines.





Practically, this tool helps fill those pixels that the other functions cannot fill along the lineart lines. Its use is like that of a brush. It is a tool that knows how to fill within the lines.



Any of the three previous functions has the following settings that, when controlled, will allow us to modulate the tolerance and overflow limits of the paint. This way we can, for example, paint a section that does not have a continuous line without the paint spilling outside the part we want.




When this feature is active, it will detect line segments that are open and treat them as if they were continuous lines.



This option modulates the number of similar pixels that fill the cube. Let's see, in a gradient, for example, if the tolerance is low the amount it will fill will be small, the larger it is, the more pixel intervals it will cover and it can even cover everything.



This option moves forward or backward a few pixels to go over the line or, in other cases, not touch it.


NOTE: In the sub options I recommend having it at "To the darkest pixel" because if not, otherwise the color will go outside the limits of the line.

With this knowledge we will now know how to handle the tool wisely, we will be able to apply solid colors easily, uniformly, without leaving the edges and, above all, quickly.


Before finishing this section I will present my configuration of the fill tool in case you want to have a reference, but it is best to try adapting it to your own style.



Finally, I will present the process I do with this tool. The following GIF shows the process I did to add the base color, the process is very simple, once I have the sketch in its respective folder, which I indicate as a reference equal to what was explained in the first step. Later, in a new folder I created different layers where I added the colors separately with the "Fill", "Refer to other layers" and "Close and fill" tool.


I changed the area and tolerance settings in the Refer to Other Layers tool as I needed to fill in the spaces that might be left white, and finally I used the Close and Fill tool to paint the spaces that the previous one couldn't fill.

This is the result of the first phase using the fill tool. It's a quick and clean way to add solid colors.



Another use beyond solid colors is to be able to paint the lines without much effort. The process is very simple, first we will create a layer above the lineart, we will adjust this to the layer below and now with the fill tool we will click anywhere on the sheet.


Optionally, later we can join the layers so as not to have so many. The advantage of this method is that we can paint the entire lineart in a single click. Later we will see another method to paint the lineart.


NOTE: To do this you do not have to have the reference option activated on the layer.



In addition to using it as a medium for painting, we can also use it to erase; very useful for deleting large segments. This can be done with any filling tool. For this you have to click on the transparent color option found in the color circle.

► Layers

Layers are not exactly tools for applying color, but rather they contain them, but using their functions we can have greater control when we apply colors, and for example, opacity can allow us to give a certain effect to the colors such as the transparency effect. So, he considered that the management of the layers is essential to give color. Next I will explain some functions of the layers that will help with the color. Previously, we already saw some of them (reference layer and blending modes) so they will not be discussed here.




We find this function in the layer options, it is the immediate icon on the far left. This function is extremely useful because it provides a non-destructive method for applying colors, so we can modify specific parts without damaging the rest, but of course, for this you have to have everything separated by layers.

Its function is to create a false cutout, that is, what is drawn on it will only be visible with respect to the limits of what is drawn on the layer to which it refers (the lower layer). If you remove the clipping, everything made will become visible, you can also apply multiple clipping layers with respect to the same layer.




We find this function in the layer options, it is the square icon with a small lock.

It is similar to the previous one with the difference that this is a destructive method. With this function, new layers are not created, but when activated on that same layer you can only draw on the pixels that have color, the transparent ones are completely ignored.



As we saw before, using the fill tool we could paint, but there is another method and this is to use this function. The advantage of this method is that we can paint parts of the lineart with different colors, unlike the other one, where we could only paint everything in one color at a time.


If we lock the layer with "Lock transparent pixels" we only have to paint the parts of the lineart with a brush.



The last function in this section is opacity, this is found in the layer option, it is the slider bar.

This function is very easy, using the scroll bar we can make a layer less or more visible. When it is at 100% the objects on that layer are opaque, but when it goes down and becomes 0% it becomes transparent.


In the flan I used this function to lower the opacity of the layer where I have some highlights to obtain a translucent effect.



Mostly, I use the layer functions to apply colors without going outside the boundaries of my lineart or to apply colors on top of other colors without going outside the first one. For example, I have my base colors of caramel and now I want to apply the highlights, but I don't want to leave that section, for that I can create a new layer above the base color and adjust it to the layer below, this way I apply the highlights without leaving my base


In summary, these layer functions help me to have control of the colors, to maintain order in the layers.

► Blending modes

Blending modes are functions with a series of mathematical operations through which the program combines a layer with those located below it, creating an interaction between them that generates various effects. This allows you to subtly adjust the tone of the colors.


There are 28 blending modes, these can be found in the layer options. It is possible to set a blend mode for each layer and layer folder. The method of applying it is to have to select the folder or layer, display the blending modes menu and select the one we want.

These options can be grouped by the similarity of their characteristics. Some brushes also have the option of blending modes. Both work in the same way.


The groups are divided into darkening effect, brightening effect, contrast effect and color changing effect, the groups are as follows (normal effect is excluded from this division):


1. Darken.

2. Clarify.

3. Contrast.

4. Component.

Next, I will present some examples that better clarify the effects of each of these groups. Each effect has its own peculiarity, but I will only present one for each section; Therefore, I advise you to try each one to see its potential first-hand. By starting to use the blending modes on any layer we can use them.




These modes make the colors applied to those layers darker than they are in their normal form. The most used modes in this group are: "Multiply" and "Burn (Linear)", often used to represent shadows.





Well, we can create reflective shadows very quickly with this function, to do this we will create a new layer that we will adjust to the bottom layer, then we will change the blending mode to "Multiply", now, with a brush we will paint the shadows . When we have it we can apply a Gaussian blur so that the edges are not so rigid and lower the opacity as much as appropriate.



You can also change the atmosphere of an illustration, this is useful to convey feelings of sadness, calm or to show a different time of the day such as dusk, sunset. I recommend using gradients.


To make this change of atmosphere we will create a new layer to which we will change the blending mode to "Multiply", after that we will apply a gradient in the direction that best suits us and finally we will lower the opacity of the layer as much as we like.



To attach a character to its background we can use this function, to do this we will create a new layer above the character, we will adjust this to the layer below, then we will apply a gradient or solid color, lastly we will lower the opacity of the layer to our liking.



They result in an opposite to the previous one. Colors appear lighter than they are in their normal form. The most used modes in this group are: "Screen" and "Dodge (linear)", they are often used to represent a lighting effect.



We can use it to give glow effects such as, for example, the surface glow that occurs at the boundaries of light and shadow.


To do this, it is as easy as creating a new layer to which we will change the mode to one that provides the brightness we need, then, with the airbrush, paint the edge of the shadow.



It combines the above modes in such a way that it darkens or lightens as needed, thus increasing the contrast, in simple terms, bright colors become brighter and dark colors darker. The most used mode of this group is: "Overlay", they are often used to represent an effect that helps improve the color impression.



This function, on the other hand, can be used to add highlights, such as in hair or some decorations.



These blend modes change the hue, saturation, and brightness. They are also useful for coloring a grayscale illustration (we'll see that in the grayscale to color section).



Essentially, I use this function to add the highlights and shadows, as you can see in the GIF below. Once I have the base I create one or several layers on top with different modes, in most cases I use the multiply and add shine modes, but I also test which ones might look best for each situation.

Since I have the layers with the modes adjusted to the bottom layer, I add the brightness and shadow colors, this can be with any brush, but in my case I use the airbrush for the caramel, the shadows and highlights of the plate; Finally, for the edges of the flan that touch the caramel I did it with the tempera brush and then blurred it with the blur tool.

As you can see, with the fill tools, blending modes and layer functions we can add colors that achieve such realistic effects, you just need to know how these tools work to start using them. With trial and error we can add color to any type of illustration.

In this particular case, I used four tools to make this realistic illustration of a flan, these are: the fill tool (for base colors), blending modes (for highlights and shadows), blur, and layer options. As brushes to add color details, use the airbrush, the G brush and the tempera brush.


As a result we have...

These same processes can be done for any type of illustration, any type of style, they are universal tools that you can use to add color to a realistic illustration, cartoon, anime, etc.

3. Grayscale to color

There is an illustration technique that consists of making the illustration in grayscale and then adding color to it and that is precisely what I will explain below. There are methods to color a grayscale illustration. We will see those methods below.



► Tonal correction layers

Using the functions of the tool "Tonal correction layers" we manage to give color to our illustrations in a short time, in addition, it is an easy-to-use tool, the greatest difficulty will fall on ourselves, on our eyesight when it comes to varying the settings. The good thing about this method is that it is non-destructive, the adjustments become a new layer that is fully modifiable and even the blending modes work on them.


To begin with, tonal correction encompasses several functions that we will only use for this method: "Level Correction", "Tone Curve" and "Color Balance".


The functions are located in the following path: Layer > New Tonal Correction Layer.

To go from a gray scale to color in this first method we have three tools that make it possible, these are: "Level Correction", "Tone Curve" and "Color Balance". All three are essentially the same.


When we open any of the functions, we will close them immediately afterwards to adjust the layer that was created to the bottom one, if we do not do so, what we have done in this layer will affect all the ones below it.



This function allows you to edit shadows, midtones and highlights. What this tool provides is basic tone editing.


The interface is as follows. The first thing to keep in mind is that the left side is the dark side and the right is the light side.


As for the entry area, the arrows at the bottom are the controls for this area. The left slider controls the shadows, the center slider controls the midtones, and the right slider controls the highlights.

As for the output area, if you drag the left controller to the right, everything will turn white, on the contrary, if you drag the right controller to the left, everything will turn black.

When displaying the top menu we find other options such as: RGB, red, green and blue. When changing the option we have to:


RGB: Controls black/white tones.

Red: Controls red/cyan tones.

Green: Controls green/magenta tones.

Blue: Controls blue/yellow tones.


With the input and output controls we can modify the values of any of these options.


To use it we will place ourselves on one of the layers to which we want to add color, then we will open this window and all that remains is to move the options to our liking. We do the same with all the layers to have a complete color illustration. This is a good tool, but a bit basic, in the next tool you can add colors with more precision.



It has the same functions as the previous tool, but more detailed. The constant repeats itself, the left side is that of light and the right side is that of darkness.


The interface is as follows. As we can see, the output is on the left and the input is at the bottom, this means that the curve represents shadows, midtones and highlights. By creating points on the curve and moving them to the left we will obtain shadows, and lights to the right. The center is the midtones.

At each end of the curve there are two points, the first point is the brightness (upper right), if we drag it down it will start to get darker. The point at the bottom left is the darkness, if we drag it up it begins to lighten.

As for the RGB drop-down menu, it works the same as in the previous tool, with the only difference that the origin of the colors is changed, red, green and blue above; below cyan, magenta and yellow.


You can add as many points as you need, the more the better, so we have greater control of the tones.



The interface is as follows. This tool has the same principles as the previous two, this tool is intuitive, very easy to use. In addition, the luminosity can be maintained, which the previous ones cannot.


In color balance, in the scrollable bars we find the colors cyan, magenta and yellow with their respective opposites on the other side, red, green and blue.


Regarding the postponement balance section, we have the option to control the shadows, midtones and highlights. Maintain Brightness, maintains the light of the illustration if left selected.

► Blending modes

Fusion modes have already been addressed in a previous section. As I said in the "Component" group explanation, the "Color" mode is useful for coloring a grayscale illustration, plus they are extremely easy to use.


The process is very simple, first, we will create a layer above the gray layer that we want to give color to, we will adjust this to the layer below, then we will change the blending mode to color.

With the brush of our choice we will add the colors we want, just as in a normal coloring process.


The weakness of this method is the light and dark colors, they cannot be seen well. Midtones are effective.



Each of the methods to color a grayscale illustration has its pros and cons, but don't let that limit you, you can also change the tools, combine the best of each tool. When you have applied the colors you can create new layers to manually correct details to have our perfect coloring.

► Gradient maps

Gradient maps are a tool that makes coloring easier, and its use is easy to understand. If we download the gradients of the CLIP STUDIO PAINT assets we can obtain color palettes, one less step to create our work.


The function is located in the following path: Layer > New Tonal Correction Layer > Gradient Map.


When we open it, a new layer will be generated above the active one when opening the map window. We will close the gradients window to be able to adjust this new layer to the bottom one. If we don't do this, the gradients will affect all the layers below them.




We can download gradients from the CLIP STUDIO PAINT assets when we already have them, we can integrate them by clicking on the wrench, a series of options will appear that will allow us to add, delete, duplicate and change a gradient or a set, but in this case we will use "Add gradient set".

Now a window will appear where we will select the set of gradients that we want to add. By holding down the CTRL key we will be able to select several gradients at the same time. At the end of the choice we will click "Add" so that the materials are loaded.

In the drop-down bar we can see all the added sets.



To create our own gradients we will go to the wrench again, choosing the option "Create new set". A box will appear where we can name the set. We will accept.

When we have created a new set, at the immediate bottom of the gradient bar there are a series of arrows (nodes) that we can create, move and delete, we can also reverse the order of the general gradient.

By choosing a node we can change its color with the "Specified color" option. A window will appear where we will choose the color, click accept and then add gradient (the square with the cross sign at the bottom), we will name. Ready, we now have our first gradient, we can do this "n" number of times.



We will open a new layer of gradient maps as explained at the beginning, we will adjust this layer to the one below. Ready.

Although we have already applied a gradient, it may not be enough for a complete image, sometimes the illustrations are so complex that several gradients are needed, how to apply several will be the next thing to see.




If we have our illustration separated by layers there will be no major problem, we create a gradient layer and adjust it to the bottom one, this way the gradient will affect that section, so we can apply as many gradients as we want.



Another way is by using the layer mask. The layer mask is the white thumbnail that appears on the right side of the layer.

If we click on the white thumbnail we can delete sections of the gradient; Depending on the type of eraser we can obtain hard or soft edges.

We add new gradient maps and delete, until we get what we want.



The advantage of this tool is that it makes the colors more vivid, but for example in the case of this flan, the colors are so bright that it is annoying, which is why we can use previous tools to correct it. We can use the tonal correction tools to slightly dull the colors, blending modes or opacity of the layer.


To reduce the vividness of the color, I used two tonal correction layers, "Brightness and Contrast" along with "Hue/Saturation/Luminosity".* In addition, I lowered the opacity of these layers along with the gradient layer. of caramel and flan.

The following comparison is to observe the difference between the gradient alone (left), and the other (right) is a gradient accompanied by other tools mentioned above.


Coloring is an important process in an illustration, in most cases it is like its soul, which is why knowing tools that facilitate the process is essential. This TIPS has been full of food, pure sweet, although I'm not really a fan of this, but I love flan; I would like to try Japanese-style flan one day, they say it is delicious. Some day.


I hope that what you see in this tutorial is to your liking and that it is helpful to you. Well, without anything to say, thank you for coming this far! ପ(๑•̀ुᴗ•̀ु)* ॣ৳৸ᵃᵑᵏ Ꮍ৹੫ᵎ *ॣ


Vibrate high!!! We won't see you another time ( •⌄• ू ) ✧



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