Online Help for Chasys Draw IES: Coloring Tutorial

Coloring Tutorial

What is this tutorial exercise all about?

This tutorial exercise shows the user how use the “colorize” options of the Effects Brush tool to add color to black-and-white photographs, drawings and cartoons. The tutorial assumes you are familiar with the basic operation procedures of Chasys Draw IES.

This is an old tutorial that was done before some advanced tools were added to Chasys Draw IES. As a result, the approach taken here might not be the easiest or most ideal way of doing things with a modern version of Chasys Draw IES.


Coloring Photos

For this exercise, we will start with a back-and-white photo, then use the colorize fx brushes to add color to it until we end up with a full color photo. This is the image we’ll use:

Yes, that’s yours truly at some stony beach very far away from Kenya (we have the best sandy beaches in the world) very many years ago. Copy this image into your Chasys Draw IES window and select dark blue as your current color. From your toolbox, select the Effects Brush tool and select its Colorize Foto option . Set the brush width appropriately (width parameter on the Tool Options tab) and paint yours truly in blue as shown below:

The dark blue you’ve just applied is the color of the trousers and the shirt (same hue, different shade), so we’ve already made some progress. Select a dull cyan or green-blue color for the ocean water. Paint out the ocean, being careful not to recolor me or my trousers. Reduce the brush size if you need to; this might be necessary when coloring the finer details like the parts near the shirt or the space between the right arm and the trousers:

Now, we need to color the rocks. For this, set the color to pale brown as shown below. It doesn’t matter how you set the color, as long as it looks like a proper color for the rocks. Color the rocks. Be careful not to let the color spill over to the ocean or onto my shoes and clothes. If you do, you’ll have to colorize those again. You may have to change to a very pale shade for the rockes that are partially submerged. Make sure you get all the rocks, as shown below:

We’ve already colorized the largest elements in the image, so from this point onwards you might need to work with a smaller brush tip, perhaps 10 pixels wide or less. But this is totally up to you. I’m sure I’m not blue in color, so we need to fix this. Set the current color to skin brown and do my face and hands as shown below:

Next, pick a shade of brown that’s close to leather brown and do the belt and shoes. Watch out for the fine details, like the trouser loops through which the belt goes and the belt buckle:

Next, do details like hair, shades and watch with black, black and grey respectively. In case you are wondering why we are doing the watch in black, it’s because black, grey and white are just shades of the same color: no color. Also do the soles of the shoes in black. Do the belt buckle in gold – a pale yellow color with a brush tip of two or three pixels should work just fine. Add orange patches for the rocks to make them more realistic:

Painting out the edges is hard work, and I don’t expect that you managed to do it perfectly – you probably have a little spillage here and there. don’t worry, this can be fixed easily. From the Effects menu, select Camera then Color Fringing. Color Fringing Correction reduces color artifacts in photos. 20% should be good enough. Click okay to apply. Your final picture should look like the one bellow. Not too shabby, huh? Careful examination will reveal that our little coloring job wasn’t perfect (for example, the blue of the ocean should fade into grey towards the foreground), however, for a first job, it isn’t too bad.


As mentioned below (other coloring methods), this is not the only way of colorizing photos is Chasys Draw IES, however, it is a good place to start before you get to learn how to use more advanced techniques.


Coloring Cartoons and Drawings

Coloring cartoons and drawings defers from coloring photos in two ways:

  • Black must be preserved
  • Color must overwrite white areas at full saturation

The Colorize Foto option used in the previous section is optimized for colorizing photos, where preserving luminance is very important. You can't overwrite white with color and maintain the same level of luminance, thus, a separate tool is needed for coloring cartoons. That tool is the Colorize Toon option of the Effects Brush tool .

Colorize Toon is very similar to Colorize Foto in terms of usage; you just run it over the image and it paints. You basically start by loading the cartoon/drawing or by drawing one yourself in black against a white background. If you have a graphics tablet, drawing your own cartoons is as easy as drawing on paper - which is another input method, you can draw on paper the scan it into Chasys Draw IES. This is what I have:

A little pale yellow for the head:

Some blue for the shirt:

And finally a few details here and there:

As you can see, I'm no expert cartoonist, but this should be good enough for learning purposes.


Other Coloring Methods

While we have been using the Effects Brush in this exercise, it is important to note that it is not the only way to color a photo. An alternative method that is very popular with artists is the use of layers and blending modes. By placing a layer of blend mode chroma in front of the layer of interest, you can paint into the chroma layer with ordinary tools like the brush and shape tools and the result would be a colorized copy of the original photo. While this technique has its advantages, it is more difficult to understand.



Copyright © John Paul Chacha, 2001-2024