Tutorials - Colour editing # 2

This tutorial was designed to help you change the skin tones on your cartoon dolls. It will also work with colour editing on other props and images that have a limited number of colours. It is assumed that you know how to get your own cartoon dolls from the web since I am NOT offering any for your use here.

The tutorial was written for Paint Shop Pro 7 from Jasc.com but it may very well work in earlier editions as well. I am not sure if the tutorial will work for other graphic programs, but if they have a colour replacer tool it may work.

Now let's get started!

1. Open your doll image in PSP. It does not matter if the doll is on a transparent background or on a coloured one. It is important though that the background colour does not match any of the skin tones.

2. Just to make sure that you will be able to work with the image set the colours to 16 million by clicking colours>increase colour depth>16 million colours. Then open the layer pallette and double click the layer the doll is on and then choose 'ok' to make sure the doll is on a raster layer and not on a background layer.

tutorial image

3. This is the image I will be working on (notice that it is watermarked and that I am not offering it for your use). My doll has three skin tones and it is easy to change the colours on it. Some bases you can find on the web or in Palace are messy and will be more difficult to work with, but if you get a base from for example Xandorra, Veriria, Josie or Miniature Reality (just to name a few, but there are other sites that also offer excellent bases) then they will be nice and clean, and you will be able to change the colours easily.

4. My doll is very pale and I want to make her skin a darker tone. You can decide the tone before you start working either by finding a few tones that you like or by lifting them off of another doll which skin tone you like. I will just choose them as I go along and see what happens.

5. First click on the dropper tool dropper tool to activate it.

6. Then right click on the lightest skin tone on the doll with the dropper tool. Your background colour will now be set to that colour.

7. Set your foreground colour to the tone that you want to be the lightest in your new colour scheme.

8. Click on the colour replacer tool colour replacer tool to activate it and in the tool palette choose approximately these settings:

tutorial image

9. Hold the mouse button down while sliding the cursor over the entire body of the doll. The lightest tone should now be changed to the new and darker colour. This is what mine looks like:

tutorial image

10. This looks weird but don't give up. Now using the dropper tool choose the second darkest of the old colour tones on the doll and right click. This is your new background colour.

11. Right click on the foreground colour (not on the doll but where you choose the colours) and choose 'other'. Find the 'light' setting and slide it a bit towards the left so you see a difference between 'old colour' and 'new colour'. The 'new colour' is the one you will be using. Choose 'ok'.

12. Slide the colour replacer over the doll again while holding the left mouse button down and you will see the colour change again. This is what my doll looks like now:

tutorial image

13. Once again use the dropper tool to set your background colour to the next tone that you want to change. This will be my last time but if your doll has more than three shades of skin tone you will have to do it more times.

14. Just like before right click on the foreground colour and make a darker new foreground colour.

15. Then change the colour on the doll with the colour replacer tool. This is what my doll looks like after I've changed all three skin tones:

tutorial image

16. Now you might want to take the opportunity to 'clean up' your doll just by using the paint brush tool paint brush and the size set to 1 (in the tool palette). My doll looks pretty clean, but there might be some left over pixels in yours that were not coloured. Fill in these. Then notice how the eyebrows in my doll are not visible because they are almost the same colour as the skin. I want them to be visible so I'll choose black as my foreground colour and then just colour them in with the paintbrush. You may also want to change the lip or eye colour and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. This is what my doll looks like after I've made these small changes:

tutorial image

17. The last thing to do is to save your doll. Choose file>save as... name the file a different name from your original file. I would recommend saving as a psp file because they are the best and easiest to work with. Then choose ok and you're done.

(This entire tutorial © October 16th, 2001, Guðrun Jacobsen)

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