Make your Work POP

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Hi everyone, in this video I’ll talk about all my coloring tips to finish a piece, going from this to this. Let’s get started!

Before starting the finishing touches, this is the piece as it was, done only by manually painting colors with brushes, all the tips following involve layer effects and blending modes.

First, the background is drawn on a separate layer from the animal, this allows me to easily apply changes on the background only. In this case I thought the background had too many colors similar to the animal, and I wanted to separate them more, by making it cooler. There are multiple ways of achieving this effect, but I chose a color balance layer. With this layer you can target the shadows, midtones and highlights of your painting separately and push them towards certain hues. I chose to push the shadows and midtones towards blue and cyan to have a better separation with the warm fox.

Second tip will be the opposite, to integrate more the animal in it’s background. I want it to be separated visually, but I also want it to be believable with the current background. For this, a good tip is to include some color reflection from the environment. Here I decided to add some light blue on the bottom of the character, for the light bouncing from the floor. Additionally, painting this only on the legs in the back lets my add some depth to the character.

Third tip will be to add a bit of color pop or glow to parts of your image that can benefit from it, but use this very sparingly. On this animal, the mane of the fur is supposed to be filled of energy, and very bright, so brushed in some colors on a layer in the add (glow) blending mode, you can also try, screen, color dodge, overlay, all of them with light colors will give different but vibrant results that make your image pop.

Last tip I use is a gradient map on top of everything to make all the colors of my painting blend into each other better. It helps to set a mood for the image. You can set the gradient map layer to a blending mode like color, and reduce the opacity a lot, I usually go around 10 to 20 %

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