How to add color to your character

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.5 instructor rating • 13 courses • 608,536 students

Lecture description

In this lecture you will learn how to add color to your character. After this lecture you will understand what a color layer is and how a clipping mask works. I also teach you about the use of warm and cool colors.

Learn more from the full course

The Ultimate 2D Game Character Design & Animation Course

Learn how to design and animate a character in Photoshop that can stand up as professional work

05:22:20 of on-demand video • Updated November 2016

  • Design your own character
  • Build your character in Photoshop
  • Animate your character for a 2D game
English [Auto] Now we can turn our sketch folder off. So just go ahead and turn that off. And now we're left with a really clean crisp shapes an image of the next thing we're going to do is we're going to start adding color to our character. This is where it's going to get really fun. So the first thing we need to do is we need to create a new layer for our colors and then we need to turn those layers into clipping masks. I'll show you what this means later but for now just follow along. So first what we'll do is we'll start with the top layer which is the goggles are going to come down and add a new layer. Next we're going to come up to the layer tab up here and we're going to come down to create clipping mask so select that. And now that layer you'll see has become clipping layer mask for the goggles. Next what we want to do is we want to select both these layers. The goggles. And it's clipping layer mask and we're going to put those into a folder. Let's name that folder. Goggles to now need to do that with every single layer here. We need to add a new layer above it turn it into a clipping layer mask and then put those into a folder and label them so let's do the hair now add a new layer come up to layer come down to create clipping mask select both those layers and put them into a folder then we'll label this hair. So go ahead and do that with all of these layers all the way down until you get to the sketch folder and then you can stop. All right. So now you should have all of your folders created and all of their clipping masks. Once you've done that let's go ahead and open all of our folders. So we'll do that just by hitting this arrow on each one. Next we're going to select all of our clipping masks the way we're going to do that is by clicking on the layer mask layer and then holding down control and selecting the next one. Now if you're on a Mac you're going to hold down command and we're just going to continue doing this. So hold down control and click and now we're just going to go through and select all of our layer masks great. Now those are all selected what we want to do is we want to change their layer type. So right now they're layer type is Enorme we want to change that to color. So we'll go ahead and select color. And now all of those layers have been changed to color now that these are color layers. What we can do is we can paint on top of our image and the values that we've already painted will still come through the color so I'll show you what I mean. So if we select our brush tool and select our hair clipping mask we can then paint in the shape. Now since it's a clipping mask that means that it's creating a mask of this shape right here his hair. So when we paint it's only going to paint within the hair shape. Let me show you as you can see it didn't paint anywhere else except within the hair shape. And since it's on a color layer that means that the color is only going to show through what the value underneath it. Now for this particular character's hair I think I want the top of his hair to be orange and the bottom to be yellow. So I'm going to change the color to a yellow and I'm going to paint in the bottom making sure that I'm using a soft edged brush. Now that's looking a little bit too saturated for me. So I'm going to go back and change my color and now I'm going to repaint that. That's looking better to me. All right. Now let's move on to the face so we'll go to the head clipping mask and we're going to select a new color we want a skin tone to be more in the orange range. OK. And now we can paint that in next. Let's do this scarf. So we'll go to the scarf clipping mask and for the scarf I think I want something more red. OK. I think something like that might be a good color. Next let's do his shirt so we'll come to the shirt clipping mask and I just want to try using the same color as a scarf and see how it looks. Now that's a little too saturated for me and a bit too bright so I'm going to bring it over more towards the gray side and a little bit down. Now let's try that. I think that looks better. All right. Now let's do his gloves gloves. I want to introduce a cool color. Now if you don't know the difference between warm and cool colors I'll show you. So cool colors would be greens Aqua's and blues and purples warmer colors would be reds oranges and yellows and sometimes violets. So right now we only have warm colors working in our image which is fine. But I think I want to introduce some cool colors just to make a little bit more interesting. So I'm going to select an aqua color. OK then I'm going to fill in his gloves. Now that's a bit too saturated for me. So I'm going to bring down the saturation by getting closer to the gray side. OK. Now let's try that. All right. That's working better for me. Next let's add some color to his paints. So we're going to come down to the pants folder select it's clipping mask. Now I want it pants to be a very similar color to his gloves. So we're going to go to the color picker and the only difference I really want is I want it to be a little bit more blue. So we're going to move up more towards the blue side. OK. And fill that in. Next. Let's do our boots so our boots are going to be very similar to a shirt. So I'm going to select the shirt color then I'm going to fill my boots in with that color. Now lastly we need to do his sword. So we're going to go up to the sword folders and we'll start with the blade. So I want the blade to be a blue color. So I'm going to come to my blues and let's start off with something in this area. OK let's fill that in. I like that color. It's just a little bit too saturated. So I'm going to bring the saturation over OK. Now let's try fill in that great. I think that looks better. Now let's do his handle first handle. I think I want a brown color. So we'll select the clipping mask for the handle then we're going to fill that in with a brown color. I think that looks good. All right. Now we have all the base colors on our character. This is really cool. It's really starting come together and I hope you guys are starting to get excited about creating your character.