Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fancy Comic Book Inking Easy To Do For Animation Now

I always admired the way guys like Shane Glines, Bruce Timm, Joe Sinnot and the Harvey Comics inkers could wield a brush. I never had the dexterity to use a real brush with ink myself.


But once I got a Cintiq and started inking on the computer I found programs that allowed me to do the thick and thin styles I like so much in Comic books - and without the mess.

I started first with Illustrator -which was a bear to learn. Now I'm finally used to drawing in Photoshop - I can do the kind of lines I like, but can't use the paint bucket to fill flat colors because to get the smooth lines, PS antialiases the edges which buggers everything up. - We used to do Thick and Thin in Flash but that was a monstrous process - expensive, tedious and time consuming.

But in Toonboom's programs, it's really easy to do good lines (even for a non-dexterous person like myself).

We made a demo to show how easy it is to ink on the computer in "Animate".

John K Inks George Liquor from John Kedzie on Vimeo.


By the way, Toonboom's "Animate" is on sale today if you wanna get beautiful comic book style inking in your animation.

27 comments:

Ryan Storm said...

I use Sketch Book Express for Inking images, its free and allows for thick or thin lines. It does fall back in coloring though, considering it lacks an eye dropper tool. I have to take a note on the number of the color I use, because if I forget to fill in a certain area with that color, I have to find a different similar shade. This time being careful not to miss anything.
Other than that its a good enough program.

Robert Wertz said...

I love Toon Boom's Brushes. I have gotten addicted to using them in Storyboard Pro.

It would be a great help if Toon Boom made a standalone professional drawing program for comics, illustration and animation backgrounds. I am just not satisfied with anyone else's brush tools. As it stands I am going back to dip pens for a new comic book project, even though I prefer digital formats.

Peggy said...

oh man now I'm having flashbacks to the days of sitting there in Streamline painstakingly hand-optimizing drawings of Cigarettes

Archie said...

Love this bonus video. Hope we can see more :)

Kein said...

If I understand the issue correctly, you can use layers in Photoshop to avoid the issue with color filling. Also, anti-aliasing can be disabled, as far as I know.

Unknown said...

Do you know how long the sale will go for?

HemlockMan said...

Wow. I know this is the way things are going to be from now on, but it all seems sad to think we're going to lose the methods of the artists you mentioned.

When I was a kid, I loved the Harvey Comics. They had the house style of course, and everyone stuck to it, but just as with the Disney books from Dell, there were "good" artists whose work stood out from the pack.

Seems to me that all of the Harvey inkers were masters. Whenever I look at old Harvey comics now, I never see any poorly inked pages.

Elana Pritchard said...

Whenever I don't want the paint bucket to bugger up my lines in a pixel based drawing program, I duplicate the layer and color in it's bottom level twin.

I am playing with Animate today. It's mostly great, but I'm finding it to have many buggery problems as well, like not doing the same thing each time you perform the same action.

Is it just my computer not handling it properly or is it like that for everyone?

I drew a little guy flipping a sign over and now I'm going to ink him...

Amber Gail said...

Flat fills with the paint tool in Photoshop are a bit tedious but they can be done.

1) on the lineart layer, select the area with the magic wand tool (can select a number of areas at once with this method)

2) in the overhead menu go select>modify>expand... and set it to 2 or 3 pixels depending on a number of factors like how thick your lineart is

3) make another layer underneath the lineart and in the overhead menu go edit>fill... and tell it what colour to use

Facundo Ezequiel said...

John, what do I need to do to work for you? It would be a dream job, even if I had to do your dishes...

Carlos E. Mendez said...

That's great. I've been trying to learn digital cleanup. I still do cleanup for 2d animation on paper as a freelance artist. All the studios are doing digital cleanup so I feel I have to catch up. PhotoShop works good for me. And figured out to use the blob brush in illustrator. I can erase and tighten up lines with the blob brush. And I don't like flash to cleanup, which some studios are using. I'm going to try animate pro.

miha.rinne said...

I could figure that cintiq and digital inking tools are incredibly useful for animation, as you would be able to precisely control the line.

But for comics, I think inking on paper provides still best flexibility and quickest feedback - the only lag comes from the user :)

Tony Ross said...

Looks Awesome! If you don't mind me asking, would you please share your brush settings you used in this example? They looked "just right".

Dennis Cornetta said...

You should give Autodesk Sketchbook a try---especially since you've got a Cintiq.

Hey by the way, what's that font used for speech bubbles in the above George Liquor comic?

ca60gregory said...

a good way to get around the PS anti-aliasing paint bucket issue is to set the line art layer to "multiply" mode use the magic wand tool to select the areas you want to flood fill expand selection by 1 or 2 pixels then use the bucket on a layer below the line art, hope this helps!

Robert Wertz said...

For Inking In Photoshop, I actually use the Pencil tool, which is not anti-aliased. The trick is to work at a resolution larger than your destination resolution. Then you can fill in with the bucket, or select with the wand, with anti-aliasing turned off.

I have done flat coloring (lowley intern level work!) for comic books, and the line art is usually at 300 dpi or even 600 dpi. When you print, the resolution is much higher than the line-screen of the printer so you don't see the jagged edges of the lines.

Though the coloring process for comics differs, because they are printed, you could use a similar approach for animation drawings. Work at double the needed resolution and reduce it when you are done.

Roberto Severino said...

Hey John! I pledged 10 dollars today so you can make what could possibly be one of your best cartoons you've ever created. I wish I could give more but I know have to save for college so I won't end up a huge debt trap there and as I said, it's not Cal Arts or SVA or any of those costly art schools, so I'm hoping I'm saving myself a lot of money here.

furrykef said...

I am intensely jealous at your speed and efficiency! While I think I'm good at inking in the sense that I produce pleasing results and can make a 2D drawing seem to "pop", I am not fast. Surely you could ink several drawings in the time it takes me to do just one. I can probably ink fast enough to do a comic book if I really want to, but probably not fast enough to do an animated cartoon...

I use Manga Studio 4 EX to ink, and it costs about $100 whenever it's on sale, which is often. It is not the perfect inking program, but it is by far the best one I've tried. Its vector tools make it so easy to manipulate lines after they're drawn, and in a way that's much more intuitive than in other vector tools like Illustrator.

However, it looks to me that you wouldn't need it, since you already seem to be able to nail your lines on the first, second, or third try, and you're probably done with your third try by the time I'm done with my first.

I think part of the problem is I'm using an Intuos and you're using a Cintiq. Even though it'd be worth the money, I just don't have $1000+ to spend on a tablet...

juan manuel said...

hey john! i would like to know you opinion of this music video made by Anthony Schepperd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF_C7BvAf_A thank's for your time!

Jeff Read said...

Here's a simple way to get inks and filled colors in PS or similar:

Create a layer for your inks and a layer for your colors. The ink layer should be on top. When your inks are complete, select a region inside a closed inked area in your ink layer, go down to your color layer, grow the selection by a pixel or two and fill it with color. Repeat until the whole picture is colored as you like, then you can go back and add shading if you wish.

Darkhawk said...

A Cintiq is great isn't it? I got the Cintiq WX. If you are looking for doing mostly black and white or greytone inking style then look into Manga Studio Debut 4 (or some similar version). You can get the sharp crispness of vector lines and can use tones. Coloring in it is a little more tricky, since most Manga (which it is mainly used for) is made in black and white. But once you get the hang of it you can use it as a great comic book page program. It has pre-made page layouts with crop marks and everything. And the program itself is pretty cheap.

Still for a traditionalist, there is no replacement for someone who is an awesome inker. It was an artform and a skill unto itself.

Dan Chambers said...

Good to see someone else using Undo as much as me!

The Ol' DB said...

That's it. I have to buy a Cintiq now. There is no other option.

I was just wishing someone could scale it down to like an iPad sized interface that worked as well as Wacom.

pauljs75 said...

Hey there John, great to see your work in action... Funny how many tries it takes you to get a line just right though. Or is it difficult to get into "the zone" while also explaining something?

Anyhow it's funny how many comments there are about the fill workaround in PhotoShop. Even I was going to say something myself... Old hat if you're into PhotoShop long enough.

Although I'll agree that it's still not the best software for inking. To me inking in PhotoShop is overlapping strokes with some cleanup or doing a hacky vector-ish method with paths. The real problem with natural inking in PhotoShop has to do with the way PhotoShop handles pressure sensitivity. There's no way for a user to change the bias vs. pressure applied to various tools and brushes, I believe it's linear or some such which isn't really natural compared to actual drawing and inking tools. (Dunno if they ever changed that in the latest PS, I'm still using old stuff here. I wonder if a plugin could ever fix that?) Tablet driver pressure settings are too crude, either not enough or way too much. However I've used other programs like OpenCanvas which lets the user define a curve for pressure sensitivity and it's like night and day vs. Photoshop when it comes to natural swoopy lines. I suppose ToonBoom has that feature too?

John Harris said...

By the way, how about Spooky's character and design? It's like he's died and gone to Sluggo.

Dudo said...

Does Toon Boom Animate have tempos?

SoleilSmile said...

I've gotten pretty good at the tablet and Illustrator inking method you taught us a few years back. I'll be forever grateful.

Much love,

Ashanti