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Smooth Comic Shading Tutorial by artsangel Smooth Comic Shading Tutorial by artsangel
I did this tutorial ages ago for a friend. But now that I'm done with this particular style, I don't see any reason to keep my methods secret any more ;)

So yeah, this is pretty much how I do my comic shading for Phoenix Requiem. It's not a detailed tutorial; it presumes you're already good with Photoshop.

Edit: Obviously, this image is a couple of years old. I do things a little differently now, but this should give you a rough idea, at least until I replace it with something else :)
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:iconuntoldpromises:
UntoldPromises Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Awesome! Thanks so much :D
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:iconmegazer047:
megaZer047 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Nice.  this can help out a lot.
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:iconbmurdock:
BMurdock Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2013  Professional Artist
Great stuff! I think I'm going to have to start playing with channels now...
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:iconaaronktj:
AaronKTJ Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Student
This is pretty brilliant. Thanks!
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:iconlilkandiikitty:
LiLKANDiiKiTTY Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It is a very helpful tutorial :D just learned another method to shade! Thanks!
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:icontobiasweinald:
TobiasWeinald Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey there, I just came along looking for comic tutorials in general but this here might help me with something else, perhaps. I do a lot of pencil stuff and still try to find ways how to color them. Your method with the channels might just be what I am looking for, will try it out. Thanks a lot for this.

Did you also do the linearts for the dog? I really like with how less lines you give all the information about shapes and forms, great stuff.
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:iconlokidokee:
LokiDokee Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very helpful tutorial! Even though you did it a couple years ago, it's still very helpful.
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:iconshinyaquablueribbon:
ShinyAquaBlueRibbon Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2012  Student General Artist
GASP! Helpful stuff! O3O Super spiffy tutorial!
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:iconsinfulnekorose:
SinfulNekoRose Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this tutorial.
Finally, I can go back to coloring with grayscale like good ol' pencil and paper. TT uTT
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:iconcorsairoftheseas:
corsairoftheseas Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2011  Student General Artist
Someday... Someday I will have Photoshop and I will be doing cool stuff like this! But for now....well.... I don't even have Photoshop and I've never used it because I have a Mac. Ah, well!
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:icon5unnyr4y3:
5UNNYR4Y3 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2011   Digital Artist
i feel like such a novice.... XD i don't really use the techy version of it...i'm not that big on messing with the gradient maps, but i love the filters, especially on GIMP. they rule :)
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:iconmistress-of-myths:
Mistress-Of-Myths Featured By Owner May 5, 2011  Professional General Artist
Very helpful, thanks!
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:iconmonochrome-tyde:
monochrome-tyde Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is great! I love the way it turned out. <3
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:iconchubbypikachu:
ChubbyPikachu Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
nice! i'll definitely be using this technique in the future <3
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:iconweirdbones:
weirdbones Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2011
Ooh, I do so love learning how other people shade, even if it's a bit old. :3 This'll come in handy, I'm sure.
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:iconximthelost:
XimTheLost Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011
Thanks so much, this is REALLY helpful!
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:icondrbonescomics:
drbonescomics Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, very well done. Is it possible to get as smooth a result as this without a Wacom tablet (all I've got is a mouse :( )?
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:iconartsangel:
artsangel Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Eh... not really. It all relies on the pressure sensitivity too much, so even if you were awesomely accurate and smooth with your mouse strokes you still wouldn't have the variation in line thickness or shading density that you'd get with pressure.
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:icondrbonescomics:
drbonescomics Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Nuts, I was afraid that would be the answer. Well, thanks for your time, I must now go hop down to the nearest art supply shop and buy a Wacom! :D
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:iconfrenchw1nter:
frenchw1nter Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2010  Student General Artist
THANKYOU!! 8D
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:iconaniseshaw:
AniseShaw Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2010  Professional Filmographer
Interesting! I would probably fade out some of the line art, as it can make everything look stained glass-y, like the later pages of Phoenix Requiem. I understand the need for there to be no gaps for the fill, though, and I think your method works super well for the story you were telling.

I'm just thinking the method could be tweaked in a number of different places to get many different result. Thus, it is quite an excellent method!
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:iconjacquelynvansant:
jacquelynvansant Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the way Phoenix Requiem looks, and also the shades and hues of the colors you use for it fits the story so well.
Great technique. Thanks for sharing! :aww:
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:iconsulzala:
SulZala Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I need to try this out somewhen. Thank you for uploading this ^_^
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:iconplotholetsi:
Plotholetsi Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Professional General Artist
Oh dear... you're working in RGB *tut tuts at you* but that would explain why all those color-layering tricks work out so smoothly...
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:iconcrouching-kitty:
crouching-kitty Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010
Interesting process. Though I prefer your third step to the final image. You seem to lose a lot of lovely depth as the process goes on.
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:iconartsangel:
artsangel Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It probably wasn't the best image for a sample, since the lighting scheme for that scene, being night, was pretty uniform and non-contrasty.
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:iconspaceturtlestudios:
SpaceTurtleStudios Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010
The final result looks alright, but is still missing deeper shadows; there should definitely be more shadow on the leg that's tucked under his stomach, for one. There's also the problem that the dog doesn't look weighted and on the ground, he looks more like he's floating.

I realize you're done with this technique anyway, but for people following it, they should realize these steps are not without their problems. In particular I think the gradient layer actually hinders the process rather than helps.
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:iconartsangel:
artsangel Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
To be fair, this is how I did things two years ago. I modified my techniques a little since then, but I was just digging through some old PS files and found this image and figured it was worth uploading.
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:icondestinyrko:
destinyrko Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Student General Artist
Thank you, it's very helpful! :ahoy:
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:iconeternal-41269:
Eternal-41269 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the tutorial, I'll be sure to try it out some time :)
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:iconsnakeblue:
SnakeBlue Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
really wishing I had Photoshop now.
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:iconelreniagreenleaf:
ElreniaGreenleaf Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Oooh this is really handy, cheers! ^^
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:iconarihana:
Arihana Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010
Hooray this is awesome! :D

I like how you demonstrated the tutorial on the dog instead of on a face like most tutorials are.
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:icondragonwolf15:
DragonWolf15 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010
This is awesome
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:iconbaby-blue-bell:
Baby-Blue-Bell Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010
Oh wow great tutorial, I've always wanted to know how you did your colouring, thanks :D
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:iconfedtowolves:
fedtowolves Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Great tutorials! It inspires me to finally get over my fear of playing with Channels. ;)
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:iconazurariverja:
AzuraRiverja Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010
Very useful! Thanks very much for sharing.
May I ask, though, what size do you work at and about what diameter is your line art brush? I'm having a hard time finding a way to get nice line variation without ending up with a heavy outline.
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:iconartsangel:
artsangel Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's hard to get decent variation with smaller lines in Photoshop; Painter and Sketchbook Pro are better at that. I work at about 2500 pixels across with a 6px brush.
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:iconazurariverja:
AzuraRiverja Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010
Cool, thanks! :)
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:iconasheskyler:
AsheSkyler Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Almost the exact same method is up on the Inverloch branch of your site. It was a huge help for me when I needed to learn how to color in Photoshop better. =)
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:iconotterbane:
Otterbane Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Hm, this is really neat, I have no experience with Photoshop, I just sorta click something, see what it does, move on, but yeah, I really need to figure out the ins and outs here :p
But thank you, I'll revisit this when I know what stuff does I can't shade to save my life!
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:iconcontra-rawr:
contra-rawr Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this tutorial's really useful either way :) thanks for making it!
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:iconpsailabelkin:
PsailaBelkin Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
so THATS how you're so amazing! -much respect-
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:iconinkedsilver:
InkedSilver Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yay! Thank you so much!
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:iconalexghost:
AlexGhost Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010
Awesome tutorial. :3
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:iconliboggs:
LiBoggs Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Student General Artist
This is ridiculously helpful! Thank you so much! :D
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:iconanimelah:
animelah Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sweet! Definitely a good resource material.
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:iconmichaelhowe:
MichaelHowe Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010
I can't tell if you're serious with the "secret" or not, but thanks. XD I did always wonder how you did Phoenix. You're amazingly fast at this.
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:iconzebarnabe:
zebarnabe Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ah.... very nice.... I already knew all the stuff you pointed here... but that doesn't prevent me from +fav it :]

Most of the time i get lazy... ending up just with a sketch *points at first panel* with some shading *points at 8th panel* >_>'
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:icondoodlee-a:
Doodlee-a Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Awesome! Now I just need to see if I can apply this to Fireworks!
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