Doc-Absurd's Photoshop Tutorial

I'm gonna pass you a few URLs I want you to look into. These are the ones that have proved to be most beneficial in learning how to use PS correctly.


The opening page is for scanning your line art. One suggestion: skip the part about adding the Glaussien Blur Filter. I've tried it, and it proved to be more of a hassle than a help; honestly, my pictures turned out fuzzier and more jagged than before the filter. Usually, if you go and adjust your curves (under Image > Curves), you'll end up with nice solid blacks and any imperfections of the paper color or quality will be corrected. Move the upper right arrow to no less than 75%; any lower and your whites will start to disappear.

Also, at a high DPI (600+, and don't be afraid to go as high as 1200), you'll be able to go in to a high magnification and correct places where the blacks may have bled into the whites, or little marks you may have missed while erasing. Save frequently, and save copies! You can always delete unused files after the project is done.

Now, on this page, look to the left menu and click on "Digital Coloring". That'll take you to a step-by-step, simplified detailing of how to color. Again, if you've already cleaned and adjusted in the scanning phase, you'll be able to skip the "Levels" section on the first page.

Follow all the directions here, paying strict attention to the "Alpha Channel". This has been the single most beneficial thing I have learned. This step gives you the crispest black lines, and reminds you to keep the line art at the top of your layers list; doing that will make certain all color layers will be below the line art. Also, at this point, remember to adjust your DPI to 300 before you start coloring, or you'll end up with an unmanageable file size.

On page 4, he recommends working with one layer. Don't. Work with as many layers as you can, one for every element in your picture. You've got hair? Make a layer for hair coloring. Seven characters with four colors per costume? Then make 28 layers. The reasoning behind this is simple: if you make a mistake or want to add a special effect, it's easier to do so on a single layer than have to re-color everything! You can link two or more layers together and work on those as a whole if you want to use a filter or effect. Make certain you're working on a specified layer, and don't accidentally add a blue section to an all-white layer.

You can skip everything from page 6 on; I find the technique he uses turns out way too dark. It's better to experiment with the Gradient tool for initial highlights and shadows, and then add in some touches with the burn or dodge tool. However, do read what he's suggested, and experiment in your own way. If you've saved frequently and have enough copies, it won't matter if you muck about a bit.


This place is not only chock full of tutorials and downloads, the online community is singularly the most helpful I've come across. I've gotten help with everything from file formats to basic layering to word balloons. Make sure you register here so you can post questions. Look around for assistance and tutorials on whatever version of PS you're using, and make sure you scroll all the way down to the bottom of a page; lots of times, the most helpful stuff is usually listed after the ads.

I'm still getting the hang of this thing, truthfully. One technique I'm trying to learn is how to get the black outlines to appear in different colors; in my picture, for example, I want to make the blades of grass with a dark green outline, instead of just black. And just by experimenting, I figured out how to get that sunshine effect (simply using the Circle Gradient tool with a real short "pull"), and how to combine separate layers for the foreground, middle, and background, so each could be colored -- and inked -- individually, thus saving a hell of a lot of work.

Please E-mail Doc-Absurd with comments at: