OK, so I know that I just did a Process thread last month but I had a lot of fun with this one and thought that I would show what went into it as well as exposing some of my Photoshop color sep technique since my last Photoshop tip went over well. Oh, and some of these pics are big since they show interface stuff. If people hate that I can make them smaller.
Here we go…
For starters, the poster is for a show in Providence featuring the awesome headliner BLACK COBRA along with Providence’s HOWL, Columbus’ STRUCK BY LIGHTNING and Providence rockers VILLAINER. My favorite rock posters are those that take into account something about the show: the bands, the location, one of the songs from the bands…y’know.
All of the drawing phases happen in my house so I throw on my favorite Black Cobra record “Bestial”, blast it and start drawing. I wanted to riff off of the band’s name for the imagery but did not want to do a typical straight up cobra…no matter how much I love cobras (a lot). Instead I started going for a Thulsa Doom/Conan kinda beasite. Starting in the sketchbook, I drew up some sketches:
In general, I had 2 sorta looks that I was playing with…a swoopy, curvy look and a more graphic, angular look. In the end I liked the angular one better and decided to make that the final poster image.
I don’t typically like to us a projector, but I really loved the gesture of the sketch that I did and figured I would just trace the projection to get the gesture. The arms and head and will need be redrawn but the main gesture and composition will be taken right from the sketch.
As usual, I am drawing this one at full scale (11”x24”) as I find that is the best way for me to get the brush to do what I like. In my last Process thread I mentioned wanting to stop doing the inks on the plastic based vellum that I was using and to move over to paper. I think I may have found my alternative…but too late for this drawing. More on that new translucent paper later. For now; some Pro Black, a red Sable brush and Iron Maiden’s Killers LP and I am all set to ink.
For this poster, I wound up doing some of the text right on the original art and some in the computer using the tablet. However, before I did anything I was testing out what I wanted to use for inking the lettering. I wanted it to be a little rune-ish so brush strokes would look bad. I liked the single strokes of the felt tipped pen but wound up going with a multiple-stroke scratchier look made with a new Sharpie “pen”.
Unfortunately, this was a sort of epic FAIL. Unlike Sharpies of old, these new “pen” style ones are NOT permanent at all and in fact come right off vellum just by breathing on them. GAH! It smeared all over my hand and all over the vellum. From here I used a Sharpie Paint Pen to redo the letters and then tried to erase as much of the smear as I could. Serves me right for not sticking with what I know but I am just a sucker for new pens.
The whole shebang was now inked and it was time to scan the sucker. Check out my last Process here to see how I use Photoshop’s “Photomerge” to automatically stitch multiple scans into one large one. Once scanned, I move into the color planning and separation phases. This is by no means the only way to do this, and maybe not even the best, but it is the way that we used to do it back when I colored comics in the mid 90’s. Computer coloring was pretty new and the computers were SLOOOWWWW. This technique uses as few layers as possible and if done with some minor planning, can provide seps at the same time as color experimentation. So, here is Ryan Lesser Photoshop Tutorial Numero Dos:
My main goal here will be to create a top layer that is my super clean final inks…which for me is always the darkish “key” image that prints last. I will also create a version of this that is basically a FILL template. This will let me really quickly throw some colors into the image, and on different layers too. For starters, here is my main image (make sure to look at the LAYERS window on these suckers as I walk it through...):
1. I am going to call this main layer KEY IMAGE.
2. Duplicate this layer, place it under KEY IMAGE and name it FILLER (feel free to start singing some Minor Threat in hour head). This image will be the one we alter to pour colors with.
3. Hide KEY IMAGE
4. With the FILLER layer selected, choose Threshold. Threshold converts your image to pure black and white. No grays. BINARY BABY! I usually find the default setting of dead in the middle works great. Results may vary. By doing this, the FILLER level is now prepped to have perfect fills…but only if you do the next few steps…
(Note how the blacks now have no soft edges in the zoomed image above)
5. Now, while FILLER is selected, choose Maximum. Maximum will expand the whites and contract the blacks. Depending on the size of your image, you can set this in a way that it will automatically create your trap for you. Notice in the detail that my blacks shrank like Costanza in the pool. Be careful during this step. If you enter too large a number, you will creat breaks in your art making it impossible to fill.
note how the linework shrinks:
6. Unhide KEY IMAGE and set it’s screen mode to MULTIPLY. This will let you see through the KEY IMAGE to the layers below it. Since your FILLER layer is now contracted, you should not notice it at all as it hides behind your KEY IMAGE.
7. Cool. Setup is done. Now just make a few layers representing your colors and sandwich them between the KEY IMAGE and FILLER layers. Time to fill.
8. Choose the paintbucket, and UNCHECK anti-alias in it’s options. Anti-alias is the technique that Photoshop uses to soften hard edges. We however, WANT the hard edges. By pouring colors with hard edges into layers using our Threshold based black/white layer, we will never get into the weird issues of ghosting, halos or even dot patterns on prints.
9. Fill away! I hide the Key image here, select the color layer I want to fill in and choose “All Layers” in the options for the paintbucket. This option will let me use the hard edges of FILLER as guides for my color layer fills. In seconds I have filled color into my whole image.
(here I turned on the KEY IMAGE to see how it looks)
10. Since these are all now on their own layers, they can be selected and tweaked like using Hue/Saturation to alter colors, or Preserve Transparency to use them as masks for overprinting, etc. Check out the trapping too. Here I am hiding the FILLER layer and reducing the transparency of the KEY IMAGE so that you can see the checkerboard and the trapping beneath the KEY IMAGE.
11. PRINTING: I am no printmaster, but typically I will convert even my KEY IMAGE to binary using Threshold just before printing films so that my prints are perfectly crisp with no dot patterns.
Phew. So… back to this particular poster.
I shipped off my files via the interweb to Fred S (exxxlonghair) who makes my films for me. While I wait for those to get printed out I get the bright idea that I need a vacuum table. Actually, Fred tells me I need one to which I said “No way!” and then because like a shark I can never sit still…I decide to make a vacuum table...
(this post is too long for the GIGPOSTERS forums...so it will continue in the next post.