Since you're going to be using the paint bucket technique, I would scan it as a bitmap, not greyscale. That way you'll have nice hard edges for the colour to flow to rather than the anti-aliased halo-effect of filling a greyscale. And you would not need to adjust the levels on a bitmap. Just change to RGB or CMYK after scanning and start colouring away!


Katie, try this: Take your bitmap scan, convert to greyscale, "Select/Color Range" and click on the black in your file. Copy and Paste, and in your Layers palette, double click on the new temporary layer and name it. You now have a layer with black and transparent areas. Select the background layer and delete the image from it. Convert to a colour mode and start colouring on the background layer with a nice, big, sharp-edged brush. Colouring on the background layer allows the lines on your art layer to cleanly cover the edges of your colours. When you're done, flatten the file (or a copy of it) and save as a TIFF or EPS.

Happy to help.


Want to know my method?

Method A:

Scan in grayscale. Bring the thresholds way in from both sides in the adjust levels pallet, so that there is very little range of gray but goes very quickly from black to white. Change to RBG If colouring with the paintbucket: if there are little white halos around the black lines get rid of these by clicking the paint bucket twice each time OR by stroking around the edges with a paintbrush.

Method B:

My favorite method if I have the time. Scan in grayscale or RGB. Adjust the output level way down so there is nothing over 50%. Open a new layer and redraw over the lines in black with a paintbrush. Trash the original layer. Switch to RGB if you're not there already.


Well, Photoshop has a specific function to "flatten" the image into one layer. I think it's in the image pull-down menu.

Also, most image file formats (JPEG, GIF, etc.) don't support multiple layers, so if you only saved to one of those without saving a copy in native Photoshop format, your layers will go bye-bye.


First of all make sure that both layers are in fact layers. If you leave one labled as "Background", the default, it won't work. Next. On the layer with the photo, use the magic wand to select everything outside of the photo and delete (make sure the colors are the default - black as the forward color white as the back color). You should then be able to see the layer below.

Your photo needs to be on a transparent layer, so select the surounding pixels (white?) with the magic wand and delete them, you can't do this if the layer is the "Background" so double click on the layer's name in the Layers palette to make it "Layer 1" Drag the layer name down over the "duplicate" button in the same palette (next to the little trash can icon). Now you have two identical layers. Select the lower one, check the preserve transparency box (top left in the same palette) Fill with black (or whatever colour you like, purple sometimes works best) by clicking alt-backspace if black is your foreground colour. Then un-check the preserve transparency box for that layer and apply your Guassian blur, move the layer down a bit and left or right a few pixels and adjust the layers transparency with the slider until you get the desired effect. Photoshop 4 has a scripted "action" in the Actions palette that does this with one click but you may not like the presets and once you've done it once you can do it with your eyes closed! I use this trick a lot!

In Photoshop, select the area to be filled (either with the magic wand or lasso tool and then press option + delete.

To fill a selected area with the foreground colour the keystroke shortcut is alt-backspace (or option-delete, same keys different names, ie the key with "alt" to the left of "Command" plus that key top right with the left pointing arrow)

Alternatively Shift-backspace brings up a dialogue box, the default being fill with the background colour, but giving options to adjust opacity or use foreground colour.

To select lots of small areas of the same colour use the magic wand on one area and choose "similar" in the select menu, the tolerance will depend on the setting of the magic wand. You can deselect areas by alt-clicking with the wand, or alt-dragging with the lasso. The quickmask option (rubylith type thing at the bottom of the toolbox) is handy for seeing what is and isn't selected and adding to or subtracting using any paint tool. You can even add a gradient to the selection to fade out the effects of a filter for instance)

Hope that saves you some time!
Paul ;^P

Monica wrote:

"I have a PhotoShop question once again. I'm trying to use the Magic Wand Tool to delete the background around a drawn image. I want it to be transparant, but it isn't deleting! There's a new layer underneath my drawing, and it's transparant, but I can't get it to delete around the image! It stays white. I have messed with the opacity setting, preserve transparancy button, and anti-alias. Uhggg!"


You need to create a new BACKGROUND, because you have your setting (in Preferences) to WHITE as a BACKGROUND. Just drag the layer down to the 'new layer' button, which will duplicate. Then on the NEW LAYER you will be able to delete that background. (Turn the BACKGROUND 'off' so you can see it.

Then go to the BACKGROUND, and SELECT ALL and then CLEAR. Check your settings and you can set BACKGROUND to TRANSPARENT


Subject: Re: Re: illustration: Photoshop technique

"Just curious, did you do all the artwork in Photoshop, including the original drawings and color? Did you sketch on paper then scan? Did you work with the paths tool to create your objects."

Well we always do a pencil sketch first...scan it...go to Illustrator.....make some friskets sort of things (paths are too ummm limited) import the B/W eps to photoshop and use it to make selections, alpha channels. then start painting in layers above the B/W. It is kind of a pain in the... but it works very well.


I start with a conventional drawing, scan it in, open it up in PS and start adding shapes & layers. Then I work each layer separately, futz around until it looks good, then save as a TIFF, EPS, or whatever. I mostly use the paintbrush, airbrush, and dodge & burn tools.

- -Mark


"I have an irregular shaped drawing and I used the magic wand to outline, then did the inverse selection. I created a border and filled it with needed colors. Well, even though I've been using filters to smooth out the edges, the Feathering, and Modify tools it still has a bumpy edge. Meaning more pixels are showing on the edge than I would like. I've even smudged & ereased! not enough.

Is there a way to create a sharp crisp color border??"

Monica, you get all kinds of options with several of Photoshop's tools. For the Marquee tool, the Lasso, and the Magic Wand, look in the options pallette (select the tool, then hit Return (or Enter if you're on a PC). In the options pallette, you can turn anti-aliasing on or off. If you want a sharp, distinct line, turn it off. Then make your selection.

I'm not sure I follow all the way what your trying to do...or the problem completely but it sounds like when you are making your Magic Wand seletion it isn't perfect to begin with...which happens all the time. What I do is after I make my basic selection, I use the quick mask with a small paintbrush on a hard setting and 100% to clean up the edges....smooth and contract commands can help but it usually ends up clipping or rounding the wrong by hand is always the tightest. But if you want a hard edge do not feather at all...beware of turning anti aliasing off...when it goes to print I have found it to leave very visable jaggies behind.



"I've been trying to scan line drawings into my computer, and color them by painting on a series of transparent floaters. The problem is the lines disappear behind the paint. So I wanted to bring the line drawing to the front, but then all the floaters disappear behind it, because the original drawing is not transparent, like the floaters.

Does anyone know of a way to make the original drawing transparent? (like an ink drawing on acetate in the real world)."

I think the general way to do this is make a clone of your line drawing, and then select everything in the clone and delete it. Now turn on the "tracing paper" option, and you'll be able to draw on the clone, while still seeing the original line drawing "through" it.

- -pd

Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 10:44:07 -0800
From: Chad Greene
Subject: Re: illustration: Photoshop Brushes...

i usually just make my own brushes like this:

paint using the airbrush/brush/pen (paint a small section on a white canvas)

then apply noise filters (or anything to give it texture)

(in the brushes control panel, you can define new brushes..)

crop a small section of the scribble that you just created and click on the brushes palette small arrow for options.. one of the options listed is define brush, click it

this brush will then show up in your brushes palette.. and will be then usable.

experiment with different selections.. you can delete the one's that don't work right!

i have created several brushes that act similar to chalk, etc..

(also, some books, like the Photoshop WOW book comes with a CD that includes custom brushes that they have created)



They have tons of downloadable effects and filters to choose from, I especially liked the brushes!

Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 20:09:22 -0600
From: Eric & Sherrie
Subject: Re: illustration: re: photoshop brushes

I can really reccomend a GREAT book that reads like someone sitting with you at the computer teaching you Photoshop. It has a CD with it with lots of goodies on it. It's:

Official Adobe Photoshop 5.0 Studio Techniques by Ben Willmore

I'm not much of a book expert on these tutorials, but this one is a Gem! Amazon carries it too.

Sherrie :)

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