Part 5 – Applying Textures

Before we jump head first into this tutorial I suggest skimming Part 2 – How I use Flats, because this goes hand in hand with it.

Also some of the things I do require Photoshop CS2 or greater (I think).

Okay, so lets look at where we left off. We have our “lines” layer on the top of everything and set to Multiply. Under the lines we have our “flats” layer with the opacity turned down to zero so that it’s invisible and it’s locked. We can still select from it though. Then we have our “colors” layer that is adjusted to our liking. Below that I always put a solid white layer. This is what it looks like.

Now lets pick one of our textures that we made back in Part 4 – Creating Your Own Texture Library and drag it into our file. It will look something like this. Make sure your texture layer is above the colors layer.

Rename the texture layer by double clicking on the layer name. I just name all my textures “texture”. Call me crazy.

While you have your texture layer highlighted, hit Apple+G (mac) or Ctrl+G (pc) to create a group/folder and whatever layers you have selected will automatically be moved into your new group/folder.

This may seem trivial but it really makes it easier later on when you have a bunch of textures. Now, lets rename the group “Textures”.

Now the magic starts to happen. Click back on your texture layer (not the group) and change the layer mode to Darken.

Now click on your Textures FOLDER and change the folder mode to Overlay.

Now things are starting to take shape. Notice how anything that was white stays white even though there is a texture over it. Any of our painted colors suddenly have textures affecting the color. If you don’t want your texture color changing any of the colors you adjusted, then try turning your texture to black and white. I like keeping most of the color from the texture intact though because it adds to the hand painted look and sometimes it creates strange subtile color combinations that look really great.

Now take some time to slide around your texture so that it works with your art. I’ve used the edge of the texture with the edge of the lighthouse to give it the impression that it’s hit by light on the left side. This is where you need to start designing how your page will look and feel.

You can also duplicate your texture and slide the duplicate to fill another part of your image. Since your first texture mode was on Darken already, your duplicate will also be on Darken. This is perfect for making these texture blend together so you don’t see where one ends and another begins. But since all these textures are inside your folder that is set to Overlay, Overlay is the only thing that is affecting the rest of your image. (I believe this is only possible with some of the newer versions of Photoshop like CS2 and above.)

Transform. Rotate and scale.

By hitting Apple+T (Mac) or Ctrl+T (pc) while on a texture layer, you can freely transform it however you please. I would avoid streaching or skewing textures. Try to keep it mainly to rotation and scale to avoid it looking “photoshopped”.

If your textures are too saturated or full of contrast you can always adjust the Hue/Saturation of each texture. On this page I decided to use colorize to convert my texture to a monotone texture so I could control it a bit more. I usually don’t do this because you loose lots of good color information when you hit “colorize.”  Once again, Apple+U or Ctrl+U for Hue/Saturation.

After Colorizing my textures (very rare), I duplicated the texture again to finish filling in the gaps. Now I have three texture layers all on Darken inside a folder set to Overlay.

NOTE: If you have an older version of Photoshop that doesn’t allow this then you can always cover your page with textures set to Darken without them being in a folder. Once you have all your textures positioned then merge them all together and change the mode to Overlay for your flattened texture layer. To merge your layers together, hit Apple+E (Mac) or Ctrl+E (PC).

Now we can close our texture folder to keep it all out of the way.

From here on, we just continue to do the same process that we did in Part 2 by selecting from our flats and adjusting our color layers until we get the color we like. But now that we have textures affecting our colors, we might need to push the color layers even further to get the colors we want. I try to avoid adjusting the textures themselves unless they are really bright and affecting my color layer too much.

Keep adjusting your color layer while selecting from your flats layer until you are happy with it. If you don’t like the texture anymore then drag a new one in and see what happens.

Here’s what my page looks like after adjusting.

The only thing left is to add some shadows and lighting.

But we can save that for another time.

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Coloring a Graphic Novel Series (How I color reMIND)

Part 1 – Multiply and Flatting

Part 2 – How I use Flats

Part 3 – Textures – Art Directing your Graphic Novel

Part 4 – Creating your own Texture Library

Part 5 – Adding Textures to your Flatted Page (You are here)

Part 6 – Masking and Applying Gradients

Part 7 – Light Source and Shadows

Part 8 – Dialing it all Together