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(Contains: nudity)
So, now that I have a line I can be fairly settled with, its time to color. There are a lot of ways to approach this, but one of my favorites is to separate the ink layer and paint layer. This is my formula - it is for Apple computers, but I'm sure it works just as well for any Photoshop version. If you have better ways of doing this, by all means post a link to your particular formulas. I love learning different ways of doing these things.

These are the first steps. Next post will have the others.

CONVERTING IMAGES TO INK AND PAINT LEVELS
In
PHOTOSHOP

Scan image at 300 DPI or higher in GREYSCALE mode. If the image is in color, you should convert it to GREYSCALE before proceeding

Optional step. You need a clean line against a white background. Pull down from IMAGE (top menu) and select ADJUST, then click on BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST. Use the sliders to sharpen and define the line without losing too much of the look if it is a pencil drawing. Click OK when you are happy with the line work.

This is your big chance to perfect your drawing before getting into a mess later. Using PAINTBRUSH or ERASER tool, erase anything that you don’t want or add anything that is missing. Adjusting lines will not work well after this point.

Before proceeding, flatten your image. Label this single, remaining layer BACKGROUND.

Find the LAYERS box in the lower right of your screen. Click on the little black arrow in the upper right hand corner of the box, this will show a menu. Click on DUPLICATE LAYER… A box will appear and ask you what you want to name this layer, label it INK then click OK.

Be sure the INK layer is above the BACKGROUND layer.

Select the INK layer. Pull down from SELECT (top menu) and click on COLOR RANGE below it. The COLOR RANGE box will appear and a SAMPLED COLORS indicator will be apparent. Your cursor will now look like a eye dropper - use it to click once on any area that is clean white space: do not click on the line work. A little preview window will give you a rough idea which lines have been recognized. Now notice the FUZZINESS slider. Slide it back and forth till you are happy with the image in the preview window. (I usually slide it all the way to the right - Fuzziness 200) Click OK.

NOTE: After clicking OK in the last step, the lines on your drawing should now be stripey and moving - these will be the ink lines that float above the paint layer of your picture.

Go back to the LAYERS box and repeat the procedure in step 4. (The INK layer in the box should be highlighted before you click on DUPLICATE LAYER). When the box comes up and asks for a new name, label this one PAINT.

Now you have several different layers in the LAYERS box. You can click and drag them around to put different ones on top. It is necessary to keep the INK layer on top, then the PAINT layer under it, followed by the BACKGROUND layer that is left.

Highlight the INK layer in the LAYERS box and push the DELETE button on your keyboard. This deletes the white areas from the INK layer. I don’t know why but it does.

Notice the little human eyes to the left of each of the layers in the layers box. Click on the ones next to BACKGROUND and PAINT to make them disappear, leaving the only remaining eye visible next to INK. This gives you a weird gray checkerboard pattern on your image, this is correct at this point, it also reveals how your final line is going to look.

Go back to the LAYERS box, and with the INK layer highlighted, repeat the procedure in step 4 yet again, this time labeling this one CONTROL. Remember to keep the layers arranged with INK on top followed by PAINT then CONTROL and finally BACKGROUND on the bottom.

Now, while the CONTROL layer is highlighted, set your color palette to PURE WHITE. Choose the PAINTBUCKET from the picture menu, position it over any blank white space on the drawing. Click the PAINTBUCKET into any blank, white spaces. This should eradicate the little checkerboard pattern. Inevitably, the paint won't flow into every nook and cranny on the drawing, so use a big brush to wipe the whole thing thoroughly. Be sure no gray checkerboard is left.
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:iconboom4box:
Boom4Box Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist Interface Designer
cool!
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:iconvitaminpk:
VitaminPK Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011
This is amazing and has been very helpful. I would pay for a video tutorial of this process. Side note- You should make a font out of your handwriting, but I'm sure you've heard someone tell you that before.
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:iconsnigom:
Snigom Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
There is another way to separate your ink from the page very quickly with little to no fuss.

1) Once scanned in, go into channels.
2) click the Circle icon at the bottom of the channels window. This will select your entire image.
3) Go back to layers and create a new layer.
4) Reverse the selection (Ctr+Shift+I)
5) Fill the layer with black.

Done. Now your inked image is off the paper in less than 3 minutes. :)
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:iconsabotagedninja:
sabotagedninja Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Here's a method for separating the lines from the background. It's called luminosity masking. You'll be able to select the blacks from the whites while preserving the transparency in the grays. You'll basically have the same result as with your color range step, but with better accuracy, as you'll get exactly what you see.

Here's how:
1. For this example I assume you have one layer with the B&W line drawing on it. The drawing is cleaned and adjusted with contrast, as you described.
2. Go to the Channels tab and Ctrl-click (or Option-click or so on mac) on the layer-thumbnail. There's only one layer in grayscale mode. You'll now see marching ants around the white parts in the drawing. Photoshop selected all the luminous parts, with varying dagree in the gray parts.
3. Inverse the selection. Now the line art is selected.
4. Go back to your normal layers and create 2 new ones. Now the fun part. Get the bucketfill tool, select the color black, and click somewhere inside the selection.
5. Lastly, deselect and fill the second layer completely with white. Delete the very first layer if you wish.

The lines are now separated from the background :)
Please ask if you have any questions!
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:iconwomball:
womball Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2011
How are you getting such clean lines in photoshops though? Brush tool with a steady hand?
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:iconinnerbushman:
InnerBushman Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2011
For separating inks from colors and background i use GIMP's "Color to alpha" tool from "Colors" menu. You simply pick a layer, run the tool and pick a color that has to vanish. Since it's all B&W (grayscale) i pick white and the result is all that was black to stay. There is a slight opacity in the picture in places where the color was not perfectly black (gray is transparent) but i find it useful when i color "shaded" pictures ;]

Other technique i like to use recently is "Trace Bitmap" from "Inkscape vector graphics editor". Again, you select the bitmap (can be .jpeg .png .bmp etc) and run the tool. There are lot's of adjustments you can use for better results. You can perform that in color, gray scale or B&W for one color lines. The result can be exported to transparent .png or other formats.

Hope you find those methods any useful ;]
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:icondeepakvk:
deepakvk Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
nice line art !!!!!
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:iconarahiriel:
Arahiriel Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010  Professional General Artist
I love to see your whole process on this picture! :) Separating the lines is always a very important step. Thanks for sharing your way. I found also an informative tutorial about separating lines – it’s here: [link]
I tried this 2 times now and it worked great. :)
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:icongabfury:
gabfury Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2010
Yeah, I usually either set the ink to multiply or do the channels method to get just the black... so fast and easy that way.

Beautiful work, btw... so glad you're continuing the tutorial! :)
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:iconteapotmysteries:
TeapotMysteries Featured By Owner May 9, 2010  Professional General Artist
Hello you have been featured here [link]
please FAV the news and take a look at the new group :iconcraftychallenges:
#CraftyChallenges
A place to stay crafty. its a lot of fun!
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:iconartmunki:
artmunki Featured By Owner May 1, 2010
I don't actually like blowing my own trumpet, but give the wee photoshop action I made a try ... [link]

You start off the same - scan the artwork, then do any cleanups you think necessary - then just hit 'play' on the action. You'll end up with a couple of layers, the topmost of which is a layer mask of the artwork. The advantages of this technique is that it's quick & easy, and if you work on the black/image part of the layer mask, you can add colour to the lines, much like using a locked layer. Note that it will also work perfectly with the most sketchy of pencil lines. If you prefer, you can even 'apply' the layer mask, which will leave you with a layer that *only* has the lines on it - just lock that layer as you normall do, and you're good to go!
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:iconpanago76:
PanaGo76 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You sir, have my thanks.
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:iconartmunki:
artmunki Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
Always glad to be of some help! Hope you get a bit of use from the action.
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:iconsheber:
sheber Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010
I'll have to give yours a try! I've been using this one for years-
[link]
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:iconartmunki:
artmunki Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
I'll have to play with that one & see what it does, but there are just so many good ways to separate your linework (and a few bad ones too ^_^ ). it's really a matter of wha suits what you're doing best.

Anyway, good luck with the action - hope it works out for you!
Reply
:iconsheber:
sheber Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
Thanks! I'll let you know if you'd like. I've got a project deadline in the next few days that I could try it out on.
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:iconartmunki:
artmunki Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
Yeah, sure! It's always good to get working feedback.
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:iconsheber:
sheber Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2011
Are there any plans to update your action? It doesn't work anymore now that I have CS4.
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:iconartmunki:
artmunki Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2011
Okay, I checked and it'a definitely CS4 that I'm using, and the action works fine for me. But I just saved out the action *from* CS4 anyway, and re-uploaded it. Unfortunately dA wouldn't allow me to just upload the .atn itself anymore, so I had to upload it in a RAR, but hopefully that should work for you. If not, just drop me a note and I'll tell you the process so you can build your own action.
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:iconsheber:
sheber Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2011
Thanks for checking! I'll try again.
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(1 Reply)
:iconartmunki:
artmunki Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2011
Curious. I'm pretty sure it's CS4 I use, and last time I scrubbed my system I just downloaded my action again rather than remaking it, and it works fine. I'll have another look at it later when I get back to my desktop - I'll let you know once I've checked it.
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:icondrew06:
Drew06 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2010
Normally when I ink I do this directly in photoshop in other layer over the original picture to hand
But i have a question, the original picture is clean ,after you scaner this and you change some things. but There is no another way to do this more quickly ? some Effect for you transform directly your lines into ink.
Sorry for my bad english and thanks
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:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was just wondering how you would compare this method to simply changing the blending mode of the Ink to Multiply and painting underneath it without needing to remove the white. Changing the blending mode to multiply essentially makes all the white bits transparent. I'll occasionally use this method when I'm feeling lazy and it comes up with some nice results if done right. Have you tried it?
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:iconchibirikku:
ChibiRikku Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
My favorite method is the channels method in this tutorial: [link]

It's also useful for changing the color of the line art and you can even cleanly isolate messy pencil sketches from the white of the paper without losing quality.
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:iconbee-chan:
Bee-chan Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Whatever lineart separation technique works best for you, as there is really is no "one way" to do it. ^_^

Personally, I've fallen hard for the technique that Peter Mohrbacher ( =One-Vox ) uses, as I think it creates a nice totally clean image and completely gets rid of everything BUT the black lineart. And it's pretty damn simple.

Deleting the white from a drawing

No use of the Multiply option. ^_^

~~Bee
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:iconsikartist:
sikartist Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I got this method from an ImagineFX magazine and it's worked out quite well for me, especially since I like to work in pencil.

Once the image is scanned make sure to unlock the layer by double clicking it. Then go into the channels panel and ctrl. click (command click, for Mac I believe) and you will have selected the white are of your image. Now you can return to your original layer and delete the selected area leaving only your image against a blank background. The next step, if you wish would be to 'lock' your pixels by clicking on the checkered icon on your layers panel (right under the layer property pull down menu). Once this is done you can just merely fill in your layer as you normally would with any color you like and it will only color in your 'line work'. Hope you give it a try some time, It's worked out really well for me and cut's down my work time by a lot.
Sorry for the long post.
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:iconjamarbhsamurai:
JamarBHSamurai Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Photoshop and Mac I'm so happy :la: thank you Chris Sanders X3
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:iconhiphopfarendo:
hiphopfarendo Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010  Professional
I don't know if anyone's mentioned this, but I have a personal favorite way of cleaning up the linework. Your method is probably more convenient for cleanly inked work like yours, but I use this to keep that scritchy pencil quality when I need to. I scan my image and leave it messy as is, but I scan it in color. Then I bring it into Photoshop.

Under Adjustments, I go to color adjustments and select Color Replace. By using this I can select anything in the background that isn't white and lighten it until it is white. This rarely affects the pencil much. Now that I have a white background and clear pencil lines, I can increase the contrast and even put it into grayscale if I want.

For what it's worth, anyway. (:
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:iconfelisdeityus:
felisdeityus Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010
Sounds interesting.... but if there were a few tones to get rid of, wouldn't it take some time to select them all?
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:iconhiphopfarendo:
hiphopfarendo Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010  Professional
it actually doesn't take long. usually when I scan my pictures, there's only a few general tones and the feature generalizes them.
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:iconroaldiswack:
roaldiswack Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
... just curious, why not just put the paint layer on top of the lines and set it to multiply?
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:iconhiphopfarendo:
hiphopfarendo Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010  Professional
I love multiply to pieces and I use it a lot when quickly coloring pencil drawings, but I've noticed that if I have black outlines (especially thick and solid ones), multiply lets my paint affect the color of the outlines. It's subtle but it's there. Not that big of a deal, but it makes all the difference to me!
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:iconstarfiregurl26:
starfiregurl26 Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010
WOW this is insanely helpful!! Even more so for me since you are on a Mac and so am I! XD I can't wait to see the finished product on this!!
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:iconcheckmarkedheart:
checkmarkedheart Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010  Student General Artist
Awesome, this is really good stuff to know!
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:iconzerj19:
Zerj19 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010
you can also always paint over the ink layer without having to trouble yourself extracting the outline off the back ground..
If your your ink is pure black and your back is pure white you can paint over it with the layer on multiply mode (color x white = color) and (color x black = black)just another way to go round it.....
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:iconcaptkiro:
captkiro Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
i prefer to open the image in photoshop greyscale.

then go to channels and click the little dotted line circle on the bottom of the channel menu. this should select your lines which are black.
( i also recommend adjusting levels first before doing this.)

now inverse the selection (command+shift+I)
now go back to layers and make a new layer. pick the paint bucket and fill in the new layer. then you should have just the lines without any backgrounds
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:iconcaptkiro:
captkiro Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
then from there i just make a layer for each section of the piece. for instance a layer for shoes, one for skin, one for hair, etc.
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:iconfelisdeityus:
felisdeityus Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010
Separating Ink and Paint using Channels.

I find this method works the best for me, because not only does it save you selecting all your white spaces laboriously (ok, well, not so laboriusly), but it is also very sympathetic to pencil work and will effectively remove all white matter without damaging subtle tones.

- Make a new layer above your lineart and fill it with black.
- Switch off the visibility of the black layer, but leave it selected.
- Go into the channels palette, and ctrl-click (command-click, I think) on any one of the channels to select the lineart. This will give you marching ants (or moving lines) on your lineart only.
- Back in the layers palette, click on the layer mask button.
- Turn the visibility back on the layer and invert the mask (ctrl i)

You can then leave the mask as is, or right click and apply it.

If you need a white bg underneath, simply make a new layer and fill it with white. Rock on.

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:iconfelisdeityus:
felisdeityus Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010
You might also find that the levels adjustment works a little more cleanly than brightness/contrast...
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:iconyezzzsir:
yezzzsir Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010
I use a similar system but using A solid fill layer set to black rather than the normal layers.
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:iconfelisdeityus:
felisdeityus Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010
I tend to use keyboard shortcuts, rather than the top menu bar. Saves time.
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:iconbaron-cimetiere:
Baron-Cimetiere Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010
In inkscape there's a way to get perfect, backgroundless vector lines just by pushing one button.
But I hate using more than one program myself.

Great tut!
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:iconalohalilo:
alohalilo Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010  Professional Filmographer
Tell me more about Inkscape, is that a different program? I'm always interested in vectors.
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:iconmazil:
mazil Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2010
Inkscape (Windows and Mac app) is very nice! I must say I prefer it to Illustrator for vector drawing, mainly because the way you adjust the points feels "nicer".

I must admit to not having used many of Illustrator's advanced features though (gradient meshes and such).
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:icontartyrsause:
Tartyrsause Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010
..Adobe Illustrator CS4.. AUTO TRACE and AUTO PAINT functions.. dunno if you heard of that or not though..
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:iconbaron-cimetiere:
Baron-Cimetiere Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010
Sent you a note about it.
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:iconngomess:
NGomesS Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I said to make one of them invisible, I mean the original layer, as I like to keep backups of them.

And instead of erasing I just create masks for each layer, you can correct as you want without going back in the history, or re-doing anything.
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:iconngomess:
NGomesS Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm doing some coloring after a inking of mine, for a cover of a friend's band, anyway, for the lines being separated you could just Duplicate the layer (ctrl+j) and set the dup layer as Multiply, in this mode of layer just the black tones still making presence, all the white is gone, after that you can get one of those invisible, as just the top (with the Multiply mode) will do the job, and get your white background at the bottom. Well it works for me and it's easier. Let me know if you could do it too, or there's any problem with it ;)
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:iconjake10684:
jake10684 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010  Professional Artist
An alternative to this method is to unlock the background layer, then create a "solid color" adjustment layer (the little half black/half white circle at the bottom of the layers panel are all your adjustment layers, in case someone doesn't know) below it in the stack.

Then, as you said, set the ink layer blending mode to multiply.

Create layers for your colors between the color fill adjustment layer and your inks, and it gives the same end result, but also allows you to quickly change the color of your canvas with just a click or two.
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:iconphilbrush:
Philbrush Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010
This is the method I use...you basically paint under the black lines, but over any white!

I find this very usefull when the line art has a fair amount of anti-aliasing on it!
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