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Old 10-24-2009, 07:51 PM   #1
Jasen Smith
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Flatting

I have seen a lot of new colorists who kinda skip on an important step in coloring. I don't see many videos about flatting and the settings are very important in photoshop. I maded these videos to show you how I do it, there are several ways but the most important thing is to make sure to have anti-aliasing turned off. NEVER use the BRUSH to fill in small parts only the pencil tool.

I skipped video 3, for one it didn't show much more than video 2 and 4 and I couldn't cut it for some reason.

Here is a link to them.
Flatting
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:35 PM   #2
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For my Warmageddon projects, I very rarely do flats unless I'm unsure about what I want the project to look. However, when I do flats, it's all about separating elements as fast as possible.

My flat technique is to start large and then work smaller. For the Elektra piece, I would have filled in the whole area with one color. Then I would have filled the entire defined rectangle with another color. Next, I would have use a another color on the Hand figures and then filled the Elektra figure. Once I had all the figures one tone, then I go in and separate details.

That's a fairly simple image, so flatting it should have taken maybe 15 minutes.
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Old 10-24-2009, 10:09 PM   #3
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I can send you the line art to separate it and make a video of it.
In this video I wasn't going for speed just showing you different ways to do it.
It is a simple image, I figured, I'd use a simple image but the different ways that you can do it.

Some people flatten with the brush tool which is a no no.
Some people don't know how to set up their tools which is also what I was showing.

How about a challenge?
15 minutes to flatten an image, record it, no need for audio commentary.
We can post it here.
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Old 10-24-2009, 11:32 PM   #4
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No video capabilities on my production machine. I keep it free of everything, but what I need on it.

Send it on and I'll see how long it takes me. There aren't really any tricks to flatting. You build speed through practice. My first image was a Tellos image simpler than this and it took me 3 hours to flat.
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:00 AM   #5
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HAHAH, there aren't tricks to it no, but knowing HOW to do it is the key. You are right, you learn through practice and during that practice you learn the tools.

Now, what you said, work from biggest to smallest. Yes, this way is the way 90% of people will do it.
BUT you don't have to go in and use the lasso tool for every selection, it slows you down and when flatting you want speed.
The pages I did before this one took 7 minutes to flatten and it had more selections, I did this to tell people how to do it. Not show them how fast I can be.

I'd love to challenge you, but I have to see it to believe it, and without the software, COUGH then the challenge can't be proven.

To each his own, I was a freelance flatter for six years and colorist at the time as well. I hit the deadlines, may have lost some sleep when I was starting out but i learned a lot.

Later, after I stopped flatting, too many people don't pay, I just played around with things and learned about some different tools.

This is just a demonstration on flatting.
Make a tutorial on creating sound FX
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:52 AM   #6
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I think I flatted for Val Staples, Chris Blythe and occasionally for John Rauch for about a year. It was just too much work for too little money. I don't see how any one can do it for too long because even at my fastest, I was earning near minimum wage and I was being paid more than flatters are now.

Now there are plugins that can do a lot of the flatting grunt work. Personally, I don't flat my own work at all unless it's a cover or pin-up. With sequentials, I have a good idea where I'm headed and don't tend to make very many changes.

As a letter, I hate SFX. With my project, I generally pick one SFX font and stick with it for most everything. For E and O (http://warmageddon.com/comic.asp?storyID=8&page=1) and Thomas (http://warmageddon.com/comic.asp?storyID=10&page=1) SFX font of choice is Blambot's Zooom. Comicraft has the best SFX tutorials.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:22 PM   #7
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What exactly is the difference between flatting and coloring?
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:26 PM   #8
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Flatting is basically separating the different sections of the the image, so that the colorist can easily select the shape later.

Flatters generally don't have to worry about colors or color schemes. When I was flatting, I would just randomly select colors, so when I finished you could have characters with purple skin.
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:56 PM   #9
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Yeah, I often use a flat channel rather than a flat layer when I'm working a large, memory intensive piece. Since that means my flats are converted to greyscale anyway, I usually stick to one basic colour and just use markedly different levels of darkness to make sure that each of the areas in my flats channel has its own clear value and avoid ending up with multiple areas with similar values so I don't have any issues with selecting the exact non-contiguous areas that I want.

When you've already begun rendering an area while colouring, there's no longer an easy way to select that whole area unless you've made a flat channel. Say, for example, you went through and nicely rendered all the shadows on a character's bare skin areas but had to shut down and leave the project for later. When you got back to the project, if you wanted to select all of the skin areas again, if you didn't have flats to make selections from, you would have to use the lasso and hand select that area all over again. When it's a complex shape, even a pro would save a bit of time by having the flat, and when you're a rank amateur like me, it saves a many many minutes.

I've noticed a lot of paint-over style artists don't use flats, but then they're working with a more traditional approach and a much more fine tuned output.
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Old 10-30-2009, 04:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HaphazardJoy
When you've already begun rendering an area while colouring, there's no longer an easy way to select that whole area unless you've made a flat channel. Say, for example, you went through and nicely rendered all the shadows on a character's bare skin areas but had to shut down and leave the project for later. When you got back to the project, if you wanted to select all of the skin areas again, if you didn't have flats to make selections from, you would have to use the lasso and hand select that area all over again. When it's a complex shape, even a pro would save a bit of time by having the flat, and when you're a rank amateur like me, it saves a many many minutes.
Actually, if you already have it selected, right click and choose save selection.
close come back, then right click load selection. You can still load it even after you have started rendering.

(Using only any selection tool)
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Old 10-30-2009, 04:53 AM   #11
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I've never used that feature before. Does it allow you to save multiple selections? In any case I suppose it's just as easy to do the flats if you're going to be back and forth a lot. I wish I could take some lessons in digital painting, I don't have the formal background and haven't spent enough time colouring to branch out naturally. There's big gaps in my skills and knowledge, and I have too many interests and too little drive, so I've never devoted fully to one arena.
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:27 PM   #12
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Yes, you can save multiple selections.
In photoshop there is about 3 ways to do the same thing.
It all depends on how you want to do it.

I have three different actions setup to separate the line art.
My most preferred is to put it on the layers but that's just how I was first taught and preferred that method. I can still color the lineart blur it, blend it whatever that you can on a channel.

I also have one that puts the lineart on multiply instead. I only use it for simple images that don't require me to modify the lineart.

Then one that place it in a channel.

They all get the image print ready first in the same way but taking out any color and making it bitmap, then converts it back to RGB.

Yes I work in RGB instead of CMYK. I like RGB and since my color palettes are already set to CMYK I have no color variance.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:40 PM   #13
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I have a question.

In the first video when you put the first background color in you use the wand tool and select all the outside parts of Electra. After that when it doesn't select everything nicely you said just "deselect" and then there's some tool that lets you outline where you want the wand to go around.

What tool is that? In the video you click something but it's not clear what you clicked on.

Anyways thanks for posting this I'm trying to learn how to flat my own stuff and videos like this really help out. I appreciate the time you took to make the video and explain stuff.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:16 PM   #14
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It's the polygonal lasso tool.
If you hold the ATL key and go around the part you want to deselect, it will remove the unwanted selection.

Thanks for the kind words.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:15 AM   #15
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Quick example:

A flat panel.



A colored panel.



Good LORD, look at that nose!
Is that how I drew them back then?
Why nobody ever said anything?!
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