Hey guys! Yesterday artofcrystaldawn asked me how I digitally clean up my scans so I thought I’d make a little tutorial for all of you! Today I’ll show you the steps I take to clean up my sketches and this afternoon I’m going to paint this drawing and then I’ll show you how I digitally tweak the scans of my watercolors. Digital is about 50% of the process for me, both in the beginning (color roughs) and the end (tweaking bad scans to make them look either like the original or better than the original!).
I’m by no means a photoshop-ninja, these are just things I’ve picked up over time, but I wish someone had told me how to clean scans years ago so I thought I’d post my process. Sorry if this post takes up a lot of space on your dashboards (lots of photos!). If you don’t want to read it all, here’s a short breakdown of tips:
1. use a rough-edged brush to paint white
2. treat the rubber stamp tool like a brush and alter it’s settings, you’ll get more natural results
3. err on the side of not overdoing things. over-adjusting levels or over-doing the rubber stamp will look either garish or blurry (the more you rubber stamp, the blurrier it gets). Dab at it instead.
This entire process takes about 10 minutes once you’re used to it, so it’s pretty fast!
STEP ONE: PAINT AWAY STUFF YOU DON’T WANT
Here’s the original scan of this drawing, pretty crappy:
I use a rough-edged brush to paint white around the part I want. I choose a rough brush because I think it helps to have a non-hard edge between where you’ve erased and where you haven’t to help it look more natural.
STEP TWO: ADJUST LEVELS (LIGHTLY!)
With less information to mess with, and most of the big stuff taken care of, I adjust the levels. Don’t go nuts doing this, though I totally find it tempting, too! I try to stay just right of the big peak of white because if I put the marker in the middle of the white it ends up looking too washed out (especially if I have “grey” tones like shaded-in skin tones). I mostly just adjust the white and then carefully tweak the middle values and barely touch the darkest values for sketches, or else the whole thing starts to look too garish. It’s okay if there are a few fuzzballs that adjusting the levels didn’t fix, we’ll get to those.
STEP THREE: FIX FUZZBALLS BY PAINTING
See these fuzzballs?
This is when I go through and paint with the paintbrush in white the little imperfections away. I also sometimes edit the drawing a little here like removing those crazy sketch lines at the bottom of the drawing.
AFTER (I didn’t get them all this time, oh well)
STEP FOUR: RUBBER STAMP AWAY YOUR MESS UPS!
Sometimes I bung things up in a way I can’t erase with painting, so I use the rubber stamp tool. This thing is a powerful tool, so I recommend treating it with respect and not going nuts with it. :) I used to overuse it and it makes pieces look blurry or fuzzy. I dab with it now (with a tablet pen) and I also recommend playing with the opacity/flow in the “other dynamics” settings on the brush. It took me years to realize you could edit the tip of the rubber stamp, durr, but I seriously recommend it! It makes the stamp look much more natural (a must for watercolor editing which will come tomorrow).
Here are the things we’re trying to remove:
Settings I use. The brush is under “wet media brushes” in the basic brushes that come with photoshop cs4 (I’m behind, what). The other dynamics are set to off with this picture because what I was removing wasn’t complicated, but I think it’s worth playing with them to see what you like:
And there you have it! It’s not perfect, but then again, it IS a sketch! :) I hope that helps, guys, and thanks once again for all your support! Stay-tuned, tomorrow I’ll post a tutorial on how to edit watercolor scans!