How does Mr. X do it?

..or Junglebroad's blind date with Bobo...

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A lot of people write and ask how I do the color art, what software I use, how long does it take, can I learn to draw etc... so I decided to put together a simple how-to tutorial on how I colorize an erotic heroine's pic.

First off, let me list off the software I use:

Adobe Photoshop 3.02 (90% of the time)

Coreldraw 3.0 (you can literally get this free now if you buy a donut)

Bitedit and Paledit (both sometimes)

Hijaak Pro (for mass conversions from jpg to gif etc...)

Bryce 2 (for some terrain and backgrounds)

Raydream Designer (hey, it came free with something or other. Used again for some backgrounds)

Poser 2.0 (Great for those hard to draw shots or gaggles of misc people. The main logo was made with this)

Secondly, this tutorial will not teach you to draw. I don't think any web page can do that. That's why you'll probably froth at the mouth when I start stage 1: Also, I work with Photoshop and will be using it as my example app. I'll try and explain what functions are in the program so, if you are using some other paint product, you can try and follow along.

STAGE 1: Line art.

Oh yeah, right, like this is easy? Again, I'm just showing how to colorize. You still have to provide the initial artwork. Take a look, though. As you can see, the scene is of Junglebroad trapped in a cage with a raging (and horny) gorilla. The evil villianess Madam Nazina watches from afar. What you'll notice is the line art isn't Earth shattering. Lots of flukes, stray lines, ink blotches etc... Not exactly Conan or Axa so don't let this intimidate you. You'll be surprised how that pic of yours will look after some cool colorizing.

To get your art to this stage you must first ink it as best as possible. You'll notice that the pic is devoid of the bizillion hash and shade lines most BW art has. This is because I know the art will be colored and the hash lines will only get in the way. Only areas such as major muscle groups, severe curves etc.. need some shading. You can also draw in pencil but, make sure your art is clean (no stray lines or smeared areas) before you scan.

When scanning, you want to scan as a black and white image. This art was done on 8.5x11 paper and scanned in at that resolution. I have a TWAIN driver that works directly with Photoshop so I can scan straight into Photoshop. In either case, scan in your art as BW (2 color) then open it in your paint program.

After scanning your pic should be an 8.5x11 inch BW pic. Now (without converting to gray scale or turning on any anti-aliasing) reduce your art by 50%. Make sure it is EXACTLY 50%. Most reduction algorythms work best when scaling with powers of two. Why not gray scale or anti-alias? Well we want the lines to still remain thick and with high contrast. Gray scale or anti alias conversion will add soft, gray edges to the lines making future work harder, especially for flood filling etc... While you're reducing the pic, also change the pictures resultion to 72 pixels per inch. You can do this at anytime but now is probably good. It will make texting your pic far easier.

Now we will work on our 4.25x5.5 artwork from now on. Using the mode change in Photoshop, change the mode to RGB. You may have to do this in stages, first to gray then to RGB. Now save you work.

STAGE 2: Rough Filling.

What we want to do here is fill all areas with the base color for that object. You'll notice the art is taking on a 16 color look, like in the old EGA days. Color selection is important, especially for shading later. Do not pick extremes in colors. This means, don't pick the brightest yellow or the brightest red. On the Photoshop palette block, I usually pic colors that are around 50% the height of the block. This allows me to later pic a color that's darker and bright when shading and hilight. Picking extremes will limit your ability later to add darkness or hilights. If you do need to add a general bright color, as in Junglebroad's bright yellow hair, pic a yellow that is 75% toward the brightest color. Give yourself room to work those colors.

Closing the gap: At this stage you'll notice, as you start flood filling, colors will leak into other parts of the pic. This stage is tediuos because you'll have to go through your work with the line draw tool set to black and seal up any gaps. Take Junglebroad's lovely left leg for example. When scanned, there were several small gaps my brush missed when I drew her. When I filled the area with skin color, the whole background flooded as well. I had to go though the area of her leg and seal it off, kid of like making a lake. In fact, thinking about this as tiny lakes is a good way to deal with it. Your paint is like water and, if there isn't a black shore around the entire section, the paint will flood out.

Why the purple background Mr. X? Good question. No I didn't flunk interior decorator school. The purple is going to be used as a mask color later. I usually pick an extreme color I know won't be in the final pic so I can use Photoshop's Select Similar function to grab the background. You only want to fill the background with this color. This will help immensly with stage three.

STAGE 3: White Elimination.

Hey, what's the difference between this and the previous pic?? Very simply put, stage 3 involves eliminating all small white areas. No matter how well you flood or draw, your art will always end up with little one or two pixel islands of white. Man they look aweful. Using Photoshop's Magic Wand and the Select Similar option, select all white pixels. Now, you can use the pencil tool with the appropriate colors to clean up those white areas. Junglebroad's hair was a mess with these white areas from the hair lines I had put in during drawing. Using this method, I selected either Black or Yellow and used the pencil to eliminate the hilighted white areas. Its very important to get rid of these since they'll make your artwork look spotty and poor later. You'll notice this method also gives me a chance to nail Junglebroad's ropes with brown, which would have been a nightmare with just the flood fill tool. Also notice I don't do her teeth, Bobo's teeth or her eye whites. Those are naturally white and should stay that way.

You may have to do two or three pass, reselecting white till all areas are filled. Also, when using the magic wand, turn OFF the anti-aliasing option. Anti-aliasing basically softens selected edges. For example, you may have a gray area that's toned from dark to light. With anti-alias off, the wand will only select the exact adjoining colors to the one the wand touched. Anti-aliasing on will select that color plus any adjoining colors that are within a certain color tolerance range. This range is set on the properties window in Photoshop. For now, since we are doing rough art, all anti-aliasing for all draw functions should be off. If not, you'll start losing your hard black lines and sharp edges.

STAGE 4: Layers

Notice the checkerboard pattern. This is where flooding the background with purple will come in handy. Now, and hopefully you weren't flood filling with anti-aliasing on, select all purple areas with the wand and Select Similar. Now use the Select Inverse fucntion to select everything that is not the background ie. Junglebroad, Bobo and the evil Nazina. Use the cut option and cut the art. Now, create a new layer (layer 1) and make it the active layer. Now paste the art into layer one. You'll know you did this right if you turn off seeing the background in the layers menu and you see a checker board pattern (like in the pic above) show through.

We split the pic into layers so we can jazz up the background. For now, reselect the background layer and erase it to white. Make sure you are only erasing the background layer and not layer 1 (where your art is).

STAGE 5: Its shading time!! Time to get real dark.

Now comes the fun part. Time to add those shadings and hilights. We first need to establish darkness. The way I work is light comes from darkness. I find it far easier to lighten up a dark area than to go and darken up a lighted area. This is why we're going to add the dark areas first. Let's start with Junglebroad. Now here's where not anti-aliasing with the flood fills and using a medium, uniform base color comes in handy. Using the magic wand and the Select Similar option, select Junglebroad's skin. You'll notice Nazina's skin hilights also. Don't worry, she'll get hers in a minute.

Next we need to select our base dark shading color. To do this, select the skin color with the eyedropper. Next, open the color in the color cube and select a darker color toward the bottom. This will be according to taste, the darker the color, the more extreme the shading. I usually pic a color that my eye tells me is sufficient enough of a difference from the original color to be obviously different (maybe halfway down to the bottom of the palette). If you don't select the color you want, don't worry, you can always apply a darker color or lighten it up later. Also, when selecting colors, try to pic colors that are vertical on the color rectangle. Going side to side on the color rectangle changes the RGB values while going up and down just darkens and lightens them. Makes selecting these shaded areas far easier later.

Now, here's the tongue out of the corner of the mouth, hold your breath part. Select the airbrush (spray can). In the properties menu, set the intensity to around 25% and select Darken as the brush type. Now, you're going to spray areas to darken them. What areas do you pick and how dark? That's another mater of taste and of observation. Let's take a look at Junglebroad's curvey hip as an example (I know you want to anyway). You'll notice I sprayed a darkened region near the outer edge of her hip. Think of the human body as made up of cylinder and spheres. Her hip is rolling away from us so we need to shade the outer edge darker to show it has a curvature. This is value degration, a very powerful tool in art to show 3D. The idea is a scene will either grow from dark in the background to light in the foreground or visa versa. Same with 3d shapes. They will either be light close to you and dark farther away or dark close to you and light farther away. In this case, her hip rolls away so it should get darker. Also notice under her right breast, her ribs and between her legs. These are all areas that are not only rolling away from you but are also areas that are shadowed or darkened. Her neck and under Bobo's hand at her bikini bottom are two more examples. His hand will cast a shadow on her leg as well as the stretched panties. These areas are also darkened.

Basically, think about darkening down any areas that roll away from you eye and areas that are shadow cast or in darkness already. Some areas are trickier. Her right breast, for example, is merely a sphere. Dark along its outer curvature and lighter toward the nipple will make it a sphere instead of just an oval.

You need to go through the whole pic, except the background and darken the shaded areas. Now, I normally mix steps 5 and 6. Since I already have an area hilighted, I can go, darken, add lighted areas, darken etc.. over and over till I get that right, then move on to the next solid region.

You'll also notice, when I did Bobo, I took the opportunity to color his hand, chest and face more like a gorilla's. Source books and pics are essential. Remember all those kiddy books you had about lions, tigers and bears and how you were going to toss them? Now's the time to dig them out since they are excellent sources of color info for animals. I didn't have any gorilla pics so I had to guess based on what I remembered from TV (and that great Wonder Woman episode).

STAGE 6: From darkness, there came light....

As I said earlier, I usually work from dark to light meaning I darken down first then lighten the area with hilights. First off, select a hilight color. Again, assume Junglebroad's body is hilighted (just the skin and not the black border lines or her outfit). When selecting a hilight color do the samething you did to select a dark color except move upward on the color palette. If you can't get any brighter, its ok to move toward white at this point on the palette, just don't go too extreme. Set your spray can to 25% pressure and set its mode to Lighten.

As with the dark shading you have some basics to work with. Again, a body is round. It has darkened areas toward the edges as well as lighted regions toward the highest points. Take Junglebroad's legs for example. Here, you can run a wide spray down the middle of the thigh to show that portion is lighter therefore closer to you. Since you sprayed the lighter color on top of the darker, that region looks like it is coming out of the dark. If you did the reverse (spray dark on white) you'll push the lighted area down into the darkness. The hilighting will be rather simple. Areas higher and closer (cheek bones, limb centers, raised muscles, foreheads, tips of breasts, shoulders etc...) should be lighter than shaded or rolled away areas (edges of limbs, eye sockets, cheek lines, undersides of breasts, muscle lines and shadowed areas).

Also, there is a cool technique that works on all sorts of things to bring out a nice sheen. Take a look at Junglebroad's right hip again. The outer edge is darkened yet, right along the dark region, I ran a strip of lighter hilight. This technique accents the shaded area and adds a glossy, almost plastic like look to her skin making her look more 3D. All that's happening there is one pass of dark along the edge and one pass of hilight along the dark. Presto, she now has cool, shiny skin. Notice the band on Junglebroad's right breast. Again it really brings out the 3D volume of the breast's curvature and with only two strokes.

This also works great on other things as well. Try it on metal. Make a rectangle, use the gradient tool and shade it horizontally from dark gray to light gray. Right now you just have a dull banded gray box. Now, select a dark gray from the range and, with the spray can set to 25% and Darken, run a vertical streak of dark down the middle of the lighted side. Now using a light gray, run a light streak down the dark side. Presto. you now have a way cool metal plate. Run the streaks at an angle and it even looks better. Using the blur finger you can squiggle the areas a bit to get even a better sheen. This hilight outlining of a dark region can work wonders. Try it when doing spandex or leather.

STAGE 7: AGGH! My art's gone!!

No, its not gone. At this point we're going to start the background. Since Madam Nazina is in the back, I cut her from Layer 1 and pasted her in the same spot on the background layer. I also added some bars. Very simple rectangles using the shading technique in steps 5 and 6. I turned layer one off so I can concentrate on the background. At this point you can pretty much do anything for a background. I could have, for example, generated a Bryce outdoor jungle background and rendered a jungle scene with Nazina behind some bushes. Either way, its up to you.

STAGE 8: More background

At this point I created a repeating brick tile which I filled the entire white area with. I also darkened the area behind Nazina and added a hint of dull lights. I added a gradiated floor. In this pic I decided dark is toward the back so my value degration is light to dark. That's why the floor runs from light to dark.

STAGE 9: Setting the mood.

Turning on and off Layer 1, I use solid Black and the spray can set at 25% and Darken to darken up the wall, edges and shadowed areas. The nice thing about layers is you can darken the layer behind your art without worrying about ruining the art. Junglebroad and Bobo are casting a lot of shadows and that cell has got to be a dank dark place. Also, bordering artwork with defined dark areas helps with a thing called Composition. Composition is very important in art. It helps the viewer focus on what's important, and pushes away the unimportant. For example, Junglebroad and her blind date are obviously the show case here. The rest of the cage is dead area except for Nazina. Since I don't really want you looking at the dead areas, I darken and fuzzy them so they become less interesting.

Darkening also addes to the value degration making the illusion of 3d even stronger. Again, my pic is light toward the front and dark toward the back. Also, notice that the brick colors as well as other colors on the background have low contrast and low color output. Again, the bright colors in front and dull colors in back help with the 3D. I also added the Bobo sign.

STAGE 10: Those nifty last touches.

More darkening and shading. A few more hilight passes on Bobo and Junglebroad. I shaded Junglebroad's lips and eyes and made her hair more contrasted. I also go through one last time with solid white and the airbrush set to lighten and add white shiny spots to Junglebroad's skin, Bobo's fur etc... Gives her that B-Movie look we all love so much. Now all that's left is texting. To text, I usually create a third layer on top and add the text to that. This way, if I have to, I can change the text if some more politically correct need arises.

Here's my technique for text bubbles. This is where changing to 72 pixels per inch resolution comes in handy. Staying at 300 limits your font sizes. 72 allows you to use fonts in the 25 pt range while 300 limits you to fonts in the 8,6 and 4 range. These end up much blockier and look bad. Select a point size that's readable. Remember, this pic is going to get scaled down so keep this in mind. Don't write a book! Next, select a font (I use Cosmic from Corell Draw), write a catchy, humiliating phrase for Junglebroad and use the center text option. Now place the text on your new text layer. It may look like you just dumped text on the art but don't worry, the text is on a new layer. Now, while the new layer is hilighted, use the ellipse tool and draw an ellipse around the text so it encompasses it like a comic bubble. There's no restriction on this. If its a narrative, use a rectangle. If you need to, combine a bunch of ellipses to get thought balloons or to get all the text into a bubble.

Now, here's the tricky part. Copy the selected area, with your text inside, to the clip board. Don't worry, only the text should be stored and not the background art. Using the line select tool and the SHIFT key combine a triangle tail from you balloons to peoples' mouths etc... In this example, I made a tail from my balloon to Nazina's mouth. Make sure you combine the two selections and not deselect the balloon when you create the tail.

Now, use the fill function and fill the selected area with black. WHAT! Your text is wiped out? Good thing you copied it to the clipboard. Now, while you still have the black Balloon and tail, use the selection Modify option and contract the area by 3. I usually use 3 but that's a matter of taste. Now fill the new area with white. You now have a solid Black and White Balloon with a tail with nice, sharp, comic style edges. If you used Select Border, you would end up with a fuzzy edge. Now paste your text back. You'll notice only your text is pasted, and not the old background art. Move the text back into the bubble and paste it. This technique can be done with an entire page in one shot. Just write the text. Put it where you want. Put balloons and tails and you're set.

The Junglebroad logo I created using Coreldraw 3.0 and colored it in Photoshop.

STAGE 11: Post it!

Ok, so what do you have after this. Hopefully a nifty colored pictured. So what's the problem? Oh its 3 layers in size, 4.25 by 5.5 inches and probably 4 or 5 megs. That just won't due. Also, it still looks a bit choppy and harsh. No soft edges. Now we reduce the image. Reduction does one other thing besides making the pic smaller. It causes an anti-aliasing effect that smooths the art and cleans up those jaggy lines. This is the only time it pays to use anti aliasing in this process. I usually keep the original 4.25x5.5 inch version around.

In photoshop select Image, then Image size. I usually reduce my image so the height is 600 pixels. This works out great for 800x600 displays. Don't change modes before reducing. You need the pic in RGB mode to get the anti-aliasing. Also, you can go ahead and flatten the image (combine all layers).

After reducing you should now a have a much smoother pic. Here you have to make a choice. You can either save it as a JPG or you can perform one more step and save it as a GIF. I prefer GIFs (so do choosey mothers) and so change the mode to Indexed Color. Photoshop will ask for number of colors. I usually go with 8 bit, adaptive and diffusion. Now save it as a gif.

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