Pulled scene: Ms. L + Homework – Mr. LYSM

This above color treatment and effects became too costly to accomplish within the time allowed so ultimately we settled on b/w-only. Honestly, it wasn’t until after this test that I realized just how many steps were involved. Sure, “Actions” within PS expedite the process -but still! Layers or not. Automation or no automation. It’s involved:


  1. Prepping grayscale, line art scan for coloring
    A 20 step, homemade Action which creates an “animation cel” style layering for quick color work.
  2. Coloring 
    Typically brush work. Depending on pace, layering is used to isolate objects (e.g. character from background, etc.). Understand that’s the ultra short version…as this part is 80% of the work.
  3. Inserting AI Assets 
    Concentric circles? Dashed lines? Call-outs? Instructions elements like these are created in Illustrator (over a screen capture of the scene) then copy ’n pasted into PS. “Smart Object” is selected after pasting and any adjustment to perspective or effects are made at this stage.
  4. Textures
    If necessary, textures are placed between the character(s) and the background to distress select areas. These subtlety distressed areas, from a psychologically stand point, are ignored by viewer . Meaning, yes, you can actually direct people’s attention without them consciously knowing it.
  5. Lighting + Color Timing
    I use “Lens Flare” within the “Render” menu on a Layer set to “Soft Light” + a 50% gray overlay to generate lighting effects. If I need to get nasty I’ll break out the “Lighting Effects” feature. Color timing is accomplished  through the use of a “Photo Filter” placed above all the Layers and set to either “Soft Light” or “Overlay.” It depends.
  6. Digital Photography Filters
    Once the above steps are complete I perform a “Save as…” and create a Flattened version. This version is run through a homemade, digital photography Action that flies through 32 steps and produces an 8 Layer document. From here I can dynamically adjust Levels, a “Glamour” blur layer for further DOP effects, plus an additional color overlay to help saturate colors further.
  7. Daubs (optional)
    Once the “Digital Photography Filter” step is complete, and flattened, I run “Paint Daubs” from the “Artistic” filter menu. For hi-res I often hit it with “Brush Size = 4,” “Sharpness = 2,” and “Brush Type = Simple.” Once it’s done I perform a “Fade Effect…” from the Edit menu and back the filter down to around 70%.
  8. LAB Sharpening
    At this point, if everything is solid, I’ll resize or crop the image and sharpen it via the “Unsharp Mask” feature against the “Lightness” channel within LAB mode. This is a 5 step Action.
  9. Shipping
    Now the final is either posted to a review area or shipped as a .tif (w/LZW compression) to the client.
  10. Chai
    Refill. Drink.

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