Digital Painting: How to Color a Character like a Pro | Stephanie Böhm | Skillshare

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Digital Painting: How to Color a Character like a Pro

teacher avatar Stephanie Böhm, i'm a Illustrator in the Games industry

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (39m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Selection

    • 3. STEP 1 Basecolor

    • 4. Wopwopwop

    • 5. STEP 2 Ambient Shadow

    • 6. STEP 3 Main Light

    • 7. STEP 4 Secondary Light

    • 8. STEP 5 Occlusion Shadow

    • 9. Last Finishes

    • 10. Wrapping it up

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About This Class


Do you also know the feeling of being hopelessly overwhelmed when you colorize a picture?

And then - out of sheer frustration- we yell at our roommate, lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling until life comes to meaning again. ( happens all the time, right……no?)

 Let's say yes, just for the moment, ok?

So, you are lying around, you raise your hand to the sky and accuse the world in general "Why are my colors looking so flat and wrong and just…..not good????"WHY ME????"

 And right at this moment I arrive on a shiny…… something…..and bring you these fantastic, amazing, completely new levels reaching, RENDERING TECHNIQUE!!!!! WUUHUUUUU


 So, but how is this now working?


I will guide you through a step by step demonstration in which I will show you how you can colorize a character. ( I will even give you my outlines, so you can do this exercise together with me).

And this is what I will teach you:

  • How you divide your render progress into small steps and make so everything soooo much easier
  • How colors and contrast can enhance your storytelling and character design
  • How you master different light sources
  • Bring more dynamic, depth and vitality in your painting
  • and more


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Stephanie Böhm

i'm a Illustrator in the Games industry


Hi there, nice to have you here.

My Name is Stephanie, I am a professional Artist. An Illustrator and Character Designer and i like to work for games: Video games, Card games, Roleplaying games, Boardgames....and Comics (I'm working on my first one right now...... uhhhhhh exciting)

I am born and raised in Germany, thats why I have an accent and make many mistakes (sorry guys). Right now I live in France with my three-legged dog (actually he has 4 legs, but he use only 3) and my beloved one (who is also making games but as a publisher and writer....and he is a musician....and a feminist...and he makes delicious Quenelle....he is great, really ). I'm learning right now french with his 99 years old grandma (just to say it again...99(!!!!) years......she is amazing).... See full profile

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1. Intro: - way are Welcome to everyone. This is my special class in Stephanie. I'm a character designer illustrator on today. Want to show you my favorite rendering technique that will have you to improve your workflow and to bring more brutality to your character? I will guide you through a step by step chemo on example. Okay, it starts. 2. Selection: meant moment. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. This puppy, you We will do this puppy because puppies are amazing. So but for sure, we will start at the beginning. What is the outline? And since I want you to do this exercise with me, you can download this outline or one of these two other guys. Or do you only these it could be. And what will be the few thing that we do? Making a selection. So therefore, we have three different tools that I want to show you. Number one with the brush tool. So, like when you remember when you were a kid and you're this painting books, so just, you know, along the line. Tip tip, Tip, Tip Tip number two is live the lesser tool. And then you made one I wrote for Mecca Venture instead of trying to Richt's Oh, thing I don't breathe. Okay, so it is not really well working, So just make small parts in one flow and pushed a shift pattern. And then you see, there is now a plus sign and then you ads the next one and the next one. Okay, so if you press note, it old how to pronounce this a retreat. Then you have a minus. So you can take this away. Desert moon that I want to show you is the pen tool. Dependable is something I waas not using for a long time. Because, in fact, I did not really know how to use it. So I was always disc Okay. Yeah. Shape. Okay? Yeah. Great. I can't do this. I can do this, huh? Yeah. Okay, I can do this, and then you want to do something more difficult, but you really want to have a, um, sharp angle. Ah, OK. I had to do this. Okay? It was with this, huh? And then I have to push this. 00 okay. Okay. Okay. Yes, I haven't, but I had No, no, this is so Oh, uh, yeah. Okay. And it don't leave back me up. And I had no clue how to do it. And it was just poor frustration. But now I learned how it works, and it changed everything for me. So first shape. And now you can push the old button and pushed click on the last point, and then you see one off this controllers disappear, and then you can sit your new point like it is a starting point. And then go on till here, for example. And again I'll click away the Second Control. And again, Chitty Chitty Chitty. Okay, this rate, it gets really controllable and super useful. Since then, I really love to use it. I will make a selection with all three tools Stop the time And in the end we can see what was the fastest in is the best result. And what is the most Sandy? I mean, I guess it's obviously okay, so on and so horrible. I should use the cell into next time. I have to stay in the deadline just to really create a lot of pressure. Oh, Okay, so now we at the time let's look on the result First on the brush. Ah, it's all a little weed of bubbly, bubbly warders with the lasso won. He is a strange saying years of thing, Um, here, big more. But all in all, I would say the lassitude looks a little bit more sharp in the outlines and also year of humor questions are needed on let's see how already results with the pencil. Okay. In my opinion. This is the most sharpest and cleanest one. But for sure it also took the longest. If I had quality wise, this is for me the winner. So the pento, not a pencil. The brush tool is definitely the easiest and fastest. What? If you want something really clean, Do it. If the pen and the last two over here is that in retreat after this very intense race. And now you have still some selection to do. We're not finish it left his technique. I want that you concentrate only on the steps you are working on right now. So please concentrate right now, only you're making selections and pick the colors that you want after you're finished. Raptors. So this is what you have to select and keep them all on different layers because this is helping a lot. If the color plucky in an exit 3. STEP 1 Basecolor: And now it's time for food and new chapter. Color block. Just color. Yeah, base color. Let's call it. Yeah. So when I say base color, what is does? So in fact, this is the color of the object itself. It's our base on which we will continue to put more and more lights on the top. So these are already the base colors that I want to use. But for you it's not a question of rich colors. Do you want to pick? And to help you a little bit with this decision, let me give you a small I would like to give him more insight about contrast. Here was US, right? To make it a little bit more practical for you, I will explain you different kinds of contrast directly on our character. So I wanted to show a kind of a monster that is pretending to be a sweet, harmless puppy that is doing nothing. So wet. Leave this line year because he Oh, okay. Will abruptly boil my skin when I touch it. So it giving this conquest about something sweet and harmless to something that can be disgusting and dangerous. How can I make no color race decisions that are helping transporting the story? You have to note that colors are strongly related to our emotions into our memories. So I said that I wanted to have this monster where we sweet, lovely, nice. So this colors here for us associated with warmness, coziness, sweetness. Think about candy, Think about your childhood and then 3f and contrast to this, this green chlorine is something often associated with something alive if some team fresh with nature, but it's also a color of poison and chemicals. So we have something that is meant in this way as toxic against something that is men, as sweet and harmless as ideas. It is a compliment, your contrast, and it's also a temperature conquest, since green is more on the cold side and regret, the yellow is on the warm side of colors. The temperature of a color son, thing rarely important and absolutely key. If you want to bring more vitality to your paintings, that he will speak more about this later when it comes to the shading of delight. The next thing, and I will do this quite short. A few words about how you can adjust your colors. So the most common quick adjustment functions in Photoshop and the image adjustments, and then mouth Commonwealth, hue, saturation, color balance, and selective colored. And when you want to change the luminous of something, then the first three are a good choice. And especially level, ok, we have days. And then for sure the SS very classical way about just Picking a color and our painting, we are close it on with this chapter. And the last thing, I just want to show you some helpful layer functions. Layer functions. You will see. So for example, I want to make a radiation. It's all over the place in this ideation should no be related to my CDO ahead. So I don't have extra work here. So I click out, I hovered in-between and e1 is the sweet spot where it changed the symbol in the middle line and then I click. And this layer is related to the layer under. And you can do as much layers on top as you want. Just repeat the same action. And everything will be related to the ground layer. You can for sure also do this with right-click. Create, clipping mask. And the same thing but without extra layer is the pixel OK, here on the top you have different locks, and the first one is here making this lock. Now I can paint on this layer and it stays in the shape and don't go belong. The DH, however, was close to forgetting this. Probably you realize I changed the appearance of my outlines issue. Can remember normally they looked like this. So this is capacity 100%. So original outlines, drawings. And I ran now down on our poverty to something like 20%, probably even going down to 10% or something in this range. So I do this because I need my outlines only in the beginning to really fix my design and be really clear if everything. But the more and more my Proquest go on, the last, I need this informations and replaced them with my actually painting. So in the end, I have no outlines at all. They were completely click this layer off because I want something that's looking and more realistic, more 3D like. And this is not really possible. If you have very strong and thick outlines, then your outlines will be always, rarely dominant and you picture looks flat. So this is not a discussion about what is the right way and what is the wrong way. And this is just a decision of style. So, you know, I guess already a lot of images that looks amazingly cool and having thick outlines. But me for my style, I prefer going with no outlines at all or just outlines that are very slightly visible. So do what you prefer. But I go with That's outlines. Now you have all the tools and the knowledge that you need to make your own color variations. Because variations are always create what leads directly to move. It's time for your homework. Because I want you to create three different color variations that you will share with us in the project gallery and pick one referred you want to continue. Because now it's also time for the true magic. This technique. 4. Wopwopwop : What is it? 5. STEP 2 Ambient Shadow: Now it's finally time for what is all this video about? Kind off the filth thing that we will do. We will give our character background so we have an and right around to write on. This is my background a few things happening here, so I will reduce suspect too. This, since my character has really light colors, I would like, in this example, to give it a more talk of background to contrast this a little bit more. What doesn't mean that you always have to do it in this way, It's just, like always try around and see what speaks to you. I still would like to keep our friend separated because this can be useful later. So just making new group he's in and call it face color. And now we can pick in your layer and we can again this kipping mask relate this layer on this whole folder. So this will be our multiply layer. And now you remember when I said about the warm and cold contrast, it will be important in the food of steps because now you have to make a decision. Do you want tohave? A warm shadow and a cold light or a cold shadow and a warm light. These are really key elements. If you want to have a light setting that is dynamic and vividly so my choice is going on this violet pip and this lady and gentlemen, is our first shadow layer called Ambien Shadow that will make our colors fitting to the ambient off our environment. 6. STEP 3 Main Light: And now it's already my favorite moment off this technique when you paint into the light the main light source so you can do this in two different rates. Upton Wrong, you create a new layer. I would put it on overlay. And since this is now a bit colder, I want something worm to contrast this. So I will go in the wrong direction. Ah, like this, for example. Yeah, let's see. And then I pick a big round brush. So Ciro hardness nicely, big like this. And end is amazing moment when you paint into light. Oh, it's a nice Okay, probably I'm not crazy Happy with film if the color of this light. But this is I can adjust this later. Right now it's more important that she concentrate on ready. Want to have your light instead of the color off your life? Because this you can just with adjustments. Um, do you know, do later can also give it a more greenish sitting. Her can be also very nice. Yeah, that's cool. That's cool. More lighter lit, More intense. Yeah, sure. Why not? Why not? Okay, yeah. So and this, then what you do. So you think about a light director a light angle and then just go the whole ready and see OK, if my light is coming from here that it should be here and here in a bit here. And the parts that you don't want just raised him out again. So this is one way to do it. And the other way is to raise our shadow. Therefore, recreate a mosque. This is this symbol here, roller. I will click this often get more clear. So if I feel this now with black, it is no black. So this is then invisible. So if I paint now with white on my layer mosque, everything that is here, right? Makes this part off the layer visible. Okay, so you see? And if I paint no again with black in it, it is like I raise out this layer. Okay? You get it. Just so instead of creating a layer for the light, I will now the rays, with the help off the mosque, all my shadow parts out. So we have the base color under Dennis, then looking like the light. Probably something that was cooler than this. Um mortars river. The light from the top way 7. STEP 4 Secondary Light: okay, After you played a little bit around, I want to move forward to the next layer. Modi. So we have even more combination options to find our light sitting or our lights that things that are the most interesting for us. So therefore we're coming now to our secondary lights. So what is secondary light? Secondary lights are other light sources that are not as strong as our main light and a very important key noted You have to remember here because it is less strong than our main light. Second, every light is only visible in shadows. I have a warm light here. I would like to use all the space here to identifies and not a light with a cold light sores to have here already again this temperature contrast Think so. And for the next layer, I put this on on screen I for sure clip mask it again and I want to choose a blue. Probably only here is a bit spacey And then read it again. A mosque. Fill it with black Koth, Our Russian wide Andrea Ready to go. E was a nice thing. That you can do here is making a room light a room. Life is a light source that is directly behind our object so we can see the source itself. But it illuminates the edge off our figure and support. If there's the readability off our character, what is especially nice when the value of your background and your character are moved closer to reach other So it helps to make the carried a really popping out. Ah ha. I really like this, uh, this step when you playing around with your light sitting. It gives us excitement about this possibility is that this picture can have so you don't to fix anything right now. But it's all right, like, Oh, yes, if it when I do this, this is actually really cool. Yeah, that could become cool. So and then there's already this happiness of way getting become a very nice in me. True, you know, um, without being already so you know, it doesn't feel like work during doing this, because it's it doesn't have to be so accurate right now. It's just playing around and trying different things. So it's also very relaxing for the brain, for for my point at least, so I really, really like this. If you think what? No, I have no clue how to do this. How is light looking? This is really in, right Ray on its nature, Looking is very. Is this already in light? Or it's a spin, shadow or social. It will become much more easier when you know more about like. And you will know more about light when you make studies. So the best rate to gain no legend, this topic. It's just making a lot of studies. But it's also not a big drama if you don't have to Snow Ledge because the cool thing is, we are artists, your artist, Reinold scientists. It is not, and this is very that re cling to reality Or this, more important, even some sleep. It's stupid, but that it look cool. Don't stress too much about it. Homer, I Yeah, homework. I forgot the hungry. I want you to create three different light settings, and again trust your favorite with which you want to continue with 8. STEP 5 Occlusion Shadow: we make all our decisions, which is our base color, which is our light setting. And now in the last steps, it's only about rendering and defining. So we have to go now through all of our layers and make them look pretty and clean. This is already in my shadow layer. In the defined reason, I also already defined my screen layer and my room light. What is left is my second shadow layer On this one, I will put all my conclusion shadow. So the shadows that are more darker than the shadow layer we already have. So we have occlusion shadows in area where we're real s to know light is coming in between , for example, between two overlapping shapes and it will help a lot to understand more the several volumes off our character And as a site tip, click off some light and color layers to be less distracted. Where the finding your current layer Okay, I will use a lot the letter tool on the soft, fresh so I can have on one side a very soft radiation. And on the other side, because of the selection of the less a tool I have heart Egx. - So I guess you get the concept on Guy would know move a little bit forward to have some more detail ing on the texture. 9. Last Finishes: So one thing that we can do is empathizing more information about the surface in the moonlight. I put some small strokes here and there, so it gives the idea there some hair. Oh, I'm make here. If there's few dots, the surface, a little bit rougher rental show began also bring a bit more texture directly on the skin on areas where there is light so this parts get reflected. I already did this on the screen layer. It's very light that is, just gives a little bit more. I don't know what is English would foot iss, but you know, just a little bit more haptik him or one other thing that can be sometimes nice to make your skin looking a little bit more interesting and giving it a bit more texture. I make some smaller thoughts, so probably owes a bit. Here. I will make a few bigger ones, just in case you can't see it otherwise well enough what it's doing. So and then you duplicate a layer you duplicate just by duplicate layer, right click or you press out whole it click route. Then you have this two hours and then slip and your duplicated on. Then you go on image and adjustments and invert. So it just invades the color and then you move it very, very slight. But you see them here and you can also play around if you can find something different. - E I close to forget it. A little bit of bounce light. I mean, we don't have so much strong like going on here like a big light source that is hitting the ground and then reflecting strongly back. But still Reeva bid inside our creature going on. So, for example, these place here, this light and this rule you here Since they're both curved, this will reflect on this material. So I we'll take a soft, fresh making again, a little bit selection here. So on then, very slightly, Yeah, I make a new layer and said it on soft light and then pressure a little bit in it. So it's not crazy much just just the same we have here he light is hitting on. Is the selecting a little bit on this'll leg? Uh, what else? Yeah, I would sy, but grown. And then we're done, huh? So if the background I'm actually a little bit lazy because it just copy paste my layers from here to here. So this is my surrounding shadow layer on. I just make a map, this sick radiation. So it's giving a little bit more from the top and the second cheddar layer to bring a little bit more warm here from the ground. And this one I used for my occlusion shadow on the my character and with the same screen layer. I lighten up the background here behind make it a little bit more shiny on Dhere. This is another layer on overly and you won't. There is just the first off fresh painted in a little bit more pride nous year on the ground, and that's pretty much it didn't forgot something, but no, no, I would say That's it. 10. Wrapping it up: So this is the point where we are finished with the rendering on just to show you again a few more possibilities that your half of this technique physical. You can change your colors to color off your base color or the color off your light sources at any moment off the brokers and the probably most important want for me instead of being overwhelmed because you always try to make everything at the same time. This technique will help you to concentrate only on one step after each other so you can give all your attention on so close on the thing that you do right now. And this way, your artwork will improve so much. Pretty sure Closer promised. And he again, a summary off our five steps. Step one based color Step two Ambien Shadow, Step three Main light source. Step four secondary lights. Orso's Step five occlusion shadow and this together give us their super nice rendering. Okay, that waas today's video here here, huh? It's crazy s o little, today's video. Thank you very much for watching. I hope you enjoy it and learn a few more things. If you want to learn more about like, please check also my upcoming video. Probably. It's already here. Go and see. Probably not Lett's, um and yeah, listen, there will be more light How it's words, all different kinds of lights and how they're interacting and all this crazy stuff. But anyway, I would be amazed again as a reminder, I would be amazed to see your work in proquest and you find results in the pro check gallery police do it is for sure. You can also hear again butcher hicken also, um, posted on social media and then probably used the hashtag hashtag skill share class lives differently. Not just skill share. It's definitely Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's nice. Yeah, that s Oh, yeah. Please do this on Gwen. You're already there. Probably You also want to follow me on instagram and you can see what I'm otherwise working on. Probably. That's interesting. I also will get news about new videos on if you have questions or any suggestions for upcoming medios about topics. You want a little more. The yeah. Just sent me a message. Probably will do it. Um, but for sure also followed me here on sculpture, So I guess I am finished with the advertising run. So yeah. Then thank you again Very much. Have a beautiful, amazing day and see you next time back.