Several years ago I had the opportunity to teach some classes at Santa Monica comunity college. This example is a lesson using Photoshop Layers and Channels. Note that this course was taught using a Mac, So on a PC 'Option-click' means 'Alt click' and 'Command' means 'Control'.

Coloring line art for Animation.

Begin by scanning your drawing and opening it in Photoshop. Choose a high enough resolution to suit your needs. At this point you can cleanup your drawing by painting out the unwanted areas. Change the color mode to RGB if it isn't already.

Create a new transparent layer and rename it Lines. *Option-Click (Alt on a PC) the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Then go to the channels tab and Command-click* (Ctrl on a PC) the RGB channel to load that selection. Invert the selection (command-shift-I) Go back to the to the new layer you created, and fill the selection with 100% black. Drag the Background layer to the trash

Now create new transparent layer and drag it beneath the Line layer, rename it flats. this will be used for painting flat colors. I used the polygon lasso to select general areas that I filled with color, then I used a slight blur. (Note that the white areas are painted white.)

Next create a new layer above the Flats layer and change its blending mode to Soft Light, rename it. Reset your foreground and background colors to black and white. With a soft edged brush begin painting the shadows and highlights using only black and white.( The example below shows the Softlight layer with other layers hidden.) To increase the intensity you can add a new layer with the same blending mode, or soften the effect by lowering the layers opacity. Experiment with other blending modes, and use colors for tinting effects. For example try using a Dodge blend mode with white color for metalic highlights. Their are many possabilitys.

When you finish your painting, don't flatten, but merge all the layers into one, this will preserve the transparent area so that a background may be added.

Coloring line art for animation by Joel Anderson ©2002 Illustration by Chris Duarty©2002