Setting Up the Drawing for Digital Blueprint

Sep 1, 2018

The artist needs to execute a few modifications to be able to work with a color version of his/her drawing. The drawing is created in a grayscale environment, so any color that would be applied on it would show as a shade of gray. To be able to add colors to our drawing, we have to change its Image Mode to RGB. When the artist chooses a different color mode for an image, he/she permanently changes the color values in the image. It is recommended to merge the layers (collapse all layers into the top one) before applying any color modifications, because the interaction of colors between layer blending modes changes when the mode changes. For a certain sequence of actions to be applied repeatedly, it’s advisable to save a template (Style) to add some automation to the process.

Setting Up the Drawing for Digital Blueprint

(1) Any enhancement of the entire document should happen on a merged version of the drawing, with no background or reference layers included.

(2) Make all the layers that shouldn’t be part of your blueprint invisible, then go to Layer and choose Merge Layers. When asked if you want to “discard hidden layers” click OK.

(3) Change the color mode of your drawing to RGB (Image/Mode/RGB Color). Note that using RGB mode adds quite a bit to your file size. The image quality shouldn’t be changed (8 Bits/Channel).

(4) Add a Layer Style to your drawing. Pick Color Overlay from the drop-down menu. This command opens the Blending Options panel at the Color Overlay side menu.

(5) Change the blend mode of the drawing from Normal to Lighten. Lighten excludes all the white pixels (white brush strokes over damage) from the color changes applied in the next step.

(6) Hit the color panel next to the Blend Mode drop-down menu and choose the color you want to apply on the drawing. Use the Color Picker or the preset Color Libraries to determine your color.

(7) Once you find the right shade of your blueprint it can be added to the Photoshop swatches (Add to Swatches), so it doesn’t need to be reset every time you need it (Window/Swatches).

(8) The entire sequence of action (changing the Blend Mode and applying the Color Overlay) can be saved as a New Style. Make sure both options are checked on the New Style panel.

(9) Your new Style can be found in the Styles Panel (Window/Styles). It can be applied from right here every time you need to create a blueprint, eliminating steps 4-8 from the process.

You can download the short tutorial to learn this skill.


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