Illustrations/Digital Models: process' Recoloring an Image Methodology: Magnus into Powered Convoy

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by process, Apr 12, 2012.

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  1. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

    Dec 1, 2008
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    Higher resolution, I'll try to get to this later today.


    How's this?


    Gladly. I'll try to make this as descriptive as possible without turning it into a yawn fest. If we don't already have a tutorial in the resources section, I can do a more in-depth write up with graphic support.

    I use Photoshop CS3, but the technique is probably the same across different versions, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same in other programs.

    The concept is simple, but the execution is made difficult by the medium. Digital images, especially compressed formats like JPEGs, are notorious for having lots of artifacts. For instance, take the Ultra Magnus image above -- certain parts may appear to be solid colors, but there are actually a myriad of different colored pixels in there. Dozens, if not hundreds, of blues, reds and greys. Thus, the trick to replacing colors is to work with ranges of colors. The larger the range, the more consistently and convincingly you'll be able to swap colors.

    There are two methods that I use, depending on the state of the image, and what I'm trying to accomplish.

    1. The simple method: this works well for images where you have a 1:1 between the stock image and your desired product, i.e., if you had a typical Optimus Prime image, and instead of red and blue, you wanted to make him yellow and blue. This is a two step process: isolate the reds, then change the color. In Photoshop, I typically isolate regions using the Polygonal Lasso tool, manually outlining areas. The color replacement can be done using the Hue/Saturation editor. This allows you to affect the entire selection area uniformly. It won't give you the best control, but you'll get fast results.

    2. The complicated method: I seem to do this more, since recolors are usually never simple 1:1 color swaps, and I prefer to have more control over my colors and effects. This method involves stripping away all color data initially, by completely desaturating the image. Then I manually select regions using the Lasso tool as above, copying them to new layers, and overlaying colors. This preserves the shading and linework, like the ink in comic books, while giving you the flexibility of adding any color beneath it. Every different color usually ends up on individual layers, so at the end, it's like working with a collage. This is the method I used to recolor Ultra Magnus, since the Diaclone deco has something of an "overalls" layout, versus Ultra Magnus' more even distribution of light blue.

    Bleh, wordy.

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