How to: Cel Shade (Pose Making)

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Clovette
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Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:16 pm

Clovette's Cel Shading Tutorial

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This tutorial is part of a series of tutorials I have made detailing my pose-making process. There are certain things that may vary (such as layers) if you are choosing to jump into this tutorial without having followed its previous parts. If you have any questions, please ask.

I use SAI for this tutorial. It can be done the same way in photoshop, but you may have to look around for the same settings. If you have questions, I am well versed with this method in photoshop as well and can assist you.

What's cel shading?
Cel shading is generally used for cartoons. It's a simple way to shade without including too much blurring. Instead, you block in simple shapes.

Get out that flatcolour!
Open up the flatcolour you are needing to shade.
For this example, I will use this:
Image
Character (C) Jager!

Make a new layer above your colouring layer and set it to multiply.
Select your new layer, name it shading, and then press the "clipping mask" button. This will bind it to the opacity of the layer below it, which happens to be the colouring layer. This means no loose pixels for you!
At this point your layers should be arranged like the following:
Image

Select a colour to shade with.
When doing this, you should select a colour that is close to the base colour that you are shading over. For example, since I am shading brown, I will be using an orangey brown to shade:
Image
The darker the colour, the darker the shade you will need - the lighter, the lighter you will need.
If the character has various shades or colours, don't worry! Just shade with this one colour for now and then later we can figure out how to change it.

Establish a light source.
Light sources are crucial to shading. If you don't have one, your shading may be confusing and not be accepted by the ART... Pluuuus it doesn't look too good.
If it helps you, draw a miniature sun where you think the light would be coming from.

Shade those areas which would be... in the shade.
Using your little doodad sun, imagine where the shadows would be. Carefully block in those shadows on the shading layer. Or, if you are shading fur, spike in those shadows:
Image
A lot of people ask me how I manage the spikey fur shading, and I don't really know what to tell you besides the fact that I just swipe my pen and hope for the best. I can give you my brush settings, though, for the sketch tool (which I colour and shade with):
Image

Once you have the first shading blocked in, it should look something like this:
Image
You can probably see what I mean by the light color vs. dark color for shading thing now. You can hardly see the shading in the darker parts of the pose because I was using a light colour. That's fine, keep on ignoring it.

Make another layer above the first shading one, name it shading 2, and clip it to the layer below it.
You're gonna do the exact same thing you did with the first shading layer on this one. This is just used to give the pose more depth. It's optional but generally looks more dynamic.
Dat extra depth:
Image

It's time for highlights!!
Make another layer. Set it to screen mode. Clip it. Name it highlights.
Highlighting with a screen layer is a bit tricky at first but once you got it, you got it. Basically, all you have to do is use a really dark colour that is similar to the base colour. You use a dark colour for highlighting (I know, sounds contradictory!) because the screen layer makes it 3847329847328907423897492374x brighter than it really is.
For example...
If I highlight using the screen layer with the colour I would highlight with without it, it looks like this:
Image
There is way too much contrast there.
However, if I use a colour that is significantly darker than the one I tried before...
Image
I get that, and that's acceptable.

Highlighting is where I start to blur stuff. You can use any tool that you want to, but for blurring I use my water brush:
Image

Block in all of your highlights.
Once blocked in, it should look something like this:
Image
You'll notice that most of it looks kinda sloppy.. that's OK. We're gonna blur it.
You don't have to if you don't want to. If you want to get more of a cel shade feel, you can just refine the blocks.

Here's the sloppy block shoulder.
Image
When you blur these blocks, make sure that you are being careful. You want them to retain their shape and not blur into other parts of the pose.
Here's a gif of how I mean. Sorry for the low quality, that's the cost of using Gyazo gif lol
Image
In reality, this is what it looks like.
Image

Now that you've got that blurred, add the fur texture to match the shading that is next to it. I use the eraser to erase parts of the highlight. My eraser tool has the same settings as my sketch tool, which is found above.
Image

You will want to do this blurfur method to each part of the pose.

Places where there is long fur, like the tail, require more attention.
Image
You want to blur it like the rest, but there are extra steps after that.
Image

Instead of immediately eraser furring it, you want to use the sketch tool to lay in more highlights with the same method.
After furring:
Image
If there are areas that are too sharp and you do not like them, you can blur them, too. Change your water tool's density/opacity to around 50% and blur.
Image
It's up to you, but you can lay back in those highlights to keep the look consistent.
Image

Now that you've laid in the highlights, use the eraser tool to do the opposite - erase coming out of the shadows.
Image
->
Image
Lay in some fur clumps too! :D

Image
Image

Finish up the rest of the body using the two methods.

Once you're done with that, change the colours of the shading to correspond more with their base colours.
The light colour I used for highlighting was OK for the light colour, but it's a bit too overpowering for the darker colour's highlights.
Change the colour to a bit of a darker colour to fit the base more, and then opacity lock the highlight layer. Colour over the darker highlights with this new colour.
Goes from this:
Image
to this:
Image

Once you've got everything changed, you're good to go. {: Done.

EXTRAS:
I always do these!!
[spoiler]Once you have finished shading, add some pzazz!
What I mean by pzazz is eye shine, eye shading, nose shine, and hair shine.
It's ez. Make a new layer above everything else for the eye shading. Set it to multiply. Choose a dark colour similar to the one in the character's eye, and then shade the top.
Make another layer above this one and use it for the shinies. Just choose highlight colours and highlight accordingly.

Image

Colour your lines! Choose a colour darker than the base's shade colour. Lock the opacity of your line layer, and then colour over them.

Highlight the insides of the lines where you've shaded. Do this on the highlight layer with the same colour you used to highlight.[/spoiler]

And finished!
Image

Character (C) Jager - their use only!
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Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:23 pm

Thank you for sharing! <3
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Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:53 pm

Amazing
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Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:00 pm

:D ty and yw!
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Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:05 pm

just a heads up that the from this, to this image is the same
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Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:07 pm

spank you i feex
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gus
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Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:09 pm

ya it okeii
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Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:14 pm

Under the pzazz, the image is broke. how do u do the pzazz :(

EDIT: now its fixed thx u
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Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:01 pm

This was really helpful, thank you!
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Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:24 pm

aaaah thanks guys! I am glad this is helpful <:
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Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:12 pm

Marking this for reference! thanks so much for sharing!! definitely going to try this
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Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:19 pm

This is really helpful!
Thanks!
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Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:48 pm

So glad :D yw
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Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:18 pm

Psht the From this, is still the same..

<.< <3 thank you for this though!
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