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Coloring a Strip From Start to Finish

Uncoloured strip

I will explain, briefly if I can, the steps it takes to coloring a strip from start to finish. The strip above will be my example.
  1. I begin by loading up the strip into Photoshop (5.5, as I find it easier to work with). I convert it from its original format (.gif indexed color, for those who understand what I mean) to RGB color. This allows me to use effects, layers, and a full color pallete instead of the 256 or so colors given by the original format.

  2. I add a layer for each section of the strip. This allows me to have better control of the colors and layout. All layers containing color are set to Multiply, so that the color blends into the black outlining instead of coloring over it. If any characters are wearing glasses or there is water soaking a character (such as in the Easy Target storyline our example strip is from), then more layers are added as necessary.
    Layer setup

  3. I then go through and repair any sections of the strip that would look distorted or otherwise odd after being colored. This includes unfinished lines, backgrounds, or texturing. I also correct any obvious mistakes that D.C. may have overlooked and would be much easier to spot in a color strip (such as in one strip Simpson forgot to color in the black tip of Millie's tail. Oops!

  4. After I finish the repairs, its time to color. I load up my color chart that has all the main characters colors and a few other things that are constantly seen (couches, etc). As I color more strips, I'll add more colors to this chart. (yes there are spelling mistakes here. Ignore them.)
    Color chart

  5. I usually choose one character and color them in fully in each panel. This lets me work a bit faster instead of constantly switching colors.
    Color stage 1

  6. I then color in all the characters. If I'm coloring a character I don't usually color (such as, say, Ms Sorkowitz) I'll load up strips that have been colored by D.C. Simpson to get the coloring, tones, and layout looking correctly.
    Color stage 2

  7. Now I add the backgrounds. If a panel has no border (such as the 2nd panel in the example strip) there is no background. If the background has objects in it, I try to keep it matched up (such as in a classroom for example), but if the background has texture (like the 3rd panel) or is blank (like the 4th panel), I can color it as I choose. I try to keep with the mood or a common color theme for that storyline.
    Color stage 3

  8. Almost done. I add the final colors for objects (like the waterballoon here). I also add mood coloring, such as Millie in the third panel.
    Color stage 4

  9. For the final step, I scan the image over to make sure I didn't miss any coloring spots (I seem to a lot though). I add the watermark image, and then its ready to upload! I save a backup copy, edit my copy of the webpage, and when I get a chance, upload it.
    Finished strip

Creation Video

These videos are of my coloring methods in motion. They are encoded in DivX 5.01, which is a superb compression video format.

Same as the Old Millie

Download DivX codec - If you are unable to play this video, download and install this codec package.

Ozy & Millie, and everything related, © 1997-2007 D.C. Simpson.
No animals, humans, or otherwise have been harmed in the production of this colorized webcomic. That is unless you count the poor white pixels destroyed mercilessly by the blue and red and purple pixels enlisted to defeat the white space that has so invaded this excellent webcomic. Permission has been granted from D.C. Simpson for this website to exist.
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