Color Correction-Digitally Correcting Watercolor Pages Part 1

I often talk about day to day comic and art process on my Twitter, sharing what I'm working on while I'm working on it.  Over the past few years, I've also started sharing tutorials via Twitter- using screencaps and explaining as I go.  Twitter is frustrating to search as an archive, so I thought I'd share some of the better threads here on the blog, for people who don't follow me on Twitter, or maybe can't find the threads.

 
Raw Scan Vs Finished Page

Correcting traditional media digitally takes practice and some finesse, but once you have a routine down, it becomes much easier.  I haven't talked about digital corrections a whole lot on the blog, mostly because it's just a pain for me to document.  I'd like to remedy that by sharing some of those Twitter tutorials over the next few weeks.

Right now, there isn't an elegant way to share my tweets, so I hope you guys will bear with me and endure the ugliness.  Tweet threads are also linked, for a more organic way to pursue the topic.  You don't need a Twitter account to see the threads.  To view the images, I HIGHLY recommend clicking the provided links- Twitter is able to serve up large versions of the images so you can see what's going on, whereas Blogger cannot.  I can't rehost the images, as Twitter saves files as Large JPEGS, which no other service (including Blogger) recognizes as an image format.

These examples are from various chapters in 7" Kara Volume 2 and cover a range of corrections I make when digitizing pages. 

When making corrections, I prefer to use Photoshop.  While other graphics programs may be capable of some of these adjustments, I am not familiar enough with them to be able to provide more affordable alternatives.  If you have any experience- please feel free to contact me about a guest post!

Scanning Pages

When I started 7" Kara, I used a smaller Canon scanner designed for scanning film strips.  It does an excellent job scanning, but sometimes has trouble with larger images.  At the time, I would scan in two halves, and use Photoshop's Automated Photo Merge option to try to stitch them together.  Often, this process would fail, and I'd have to try to stitch them together digitally- a time consuming and frustrating process.

Joseph purchased me a large format Epson scanner as an engagement present.  While I love my scanner, and the large format makes life a LOT easier, it's a $2000 minimum investment, so it's not something I would recommend straight off the bat.

I scan my watercolor comic pages at 600DPI (dots per inch) which makes for huge files, but allows for higher fidelity images that are easier to correct than their 300DPI counterparts.

Overview of my Color Correction Process: 

Copy original layer, hide first layer.  Copy that copy, and hide the first copy.  All color adjustments will be made on this third copy.

Adjustments- Hue/Saturation
Move it over to the left a couple pegs, as my scanner tends to scan warmer

I may also increase the Saturation a bit, as sometimes my scanner desaturates

Duplicate this adjusted copy, set the duplicate to Multiply under Color Modes.  Decrease the opacity down to usually around 15%- I usually compare this to the Original watercolor.  


Color Correcting Scans 
Adjusting and Accomodations for Intense Colors

This is part one of a four part series on digitizing, correcting, and lettering watercolor comic pages!  If you're interested in more about the digital side of my watercolor art, please let me know- I'm happy to create more tutorials that showcase that side of the process.  If you enjoy my art, we're preparing to launch the Kickstarter for Volume 2 of 7" Kara!  Almost all of the art in this watercolor correction series is from Volume 2.  If you Follow us on Kickstarter, Kickstarter will let you know when the project has launched!  And if you're interested in learning more about 7" Kara, I have a mailing list that talks about 7" Kara in depth. 

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