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February 8, 2013
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Tutorial: Adding Color With Gradient Maps by Shinerai Tutorial: Adding Color With Gradient Maps by Shinerai
My progress image for the Yoi painting seems to have been received well, and I've gotten questions in the past about how I add color to my monochrome images C: I tried to find some good Gradient Map tutorials to show other deviants, but I had no luck. So I made one myself.
I'm not that great at making tutorials, so I hope it isn't confusing. It's probably not the best for beginners at Photoshop.

I hope you enjoy, regardless.
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:iconanjona:
Anjona Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This looks so cool! Can't wait to see if it works with my version (I have only Elements). I really like how you explained everything. I don't feel confused at all, and it's the thing that sometimes annoys me in other tutorials. :P
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:iconframpel:
frampel Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2015
do you know if this can be done with paint tool sai as well? ( I dno't think so, but it's better to ask it now than to regret it later ^^"..!)
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:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello! I'm sorry for the late reply on this. To be honest, I'm really not sure if this can be done in SAI! I've never actually used it before ;o; I'd say you can probably give it a try to reach out to an artist that uses SAI. Sorry!
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:iconwings-of-the-heavens:
Wings-of-the-Heavens Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
My Old toppie used to say if you don't learn something everyday, you're in trouble. So that's one down for today, thanks for the tutorial Shin! :)
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you are quite welcome! I hope it's useful to you cx I'm thinking about making a more advanced version
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:iconxkaseix:
xKaseix Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you so much for uploading this tutorial. I have been struggling making the transition from Open Canvas to Photoshop and this was SO easy to follow along with and understand. :heart: I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge with the rest of us, it really helped me out a lot. Can't wait to play around with gradient maps on all my black and white practice paintings! :D :glomp:
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You are very welcome for the tutorial!! I saw one of the paintings you did and it looked really great!
I tend to use gradient maps in an advanced fashion to color characters with complex markings. I encourage you to download this PSD I posted to dA and recolor my dragon! shinerai.deviantart.com/art/Vo… 
It'll probably help to give you some ideas on how to utilize layer masks when applying gradient maps :)
Reply
:iconxkaseix:
xKaseix Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Oh wow, yeah, thanks! That was cool to look at (and play with) and definitely gave me more ideas on mapping. You are so stinkin' awesome for making a work file like that available to the masses. *-* Many thanks. I've been playing with Photoshop every waking hour since I first looked at your tutorial, it definitely kicked me into gear and shed some light on the faceless, nameless beast that is Photoshop. It's only mostly intimidating to me now instead of completely terrifying. xD
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:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
HAHAH. Well that's a start at least ;u; I'm sure you'll be posting your own tutorials soon enough!
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:iconxkaseix:
xKaseix Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Haha, well I don't know about that. But thanks for the show of faith! :D
Reply
:icontwin-earth:
Twin-Earth Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much for this!
Reply
:iconjmiera:
JMiera Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Goodness Shinerai! You are my hero :love:
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
YAYAY! I like being a hero. Preferably green lantern.
Reply
:iconjmiera:
JMiera Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Professional Filmographer
You can be whichever lantern you like :D
But seriously - thanks so much for this tutorial haha I can't wait to try it out :heart:
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome! did you see the PSD file I submitted where I had colored something with gradient maps? you can click all the layers on and off and stuff?
Reply
:iconjmiera:
JMiera Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I did! I downloaded and pulled it up as soon as I saw it! It was super neat of you to do that - a really good way for people to get an in depth look at your process (at their own speed) instead of uploading the animated gifs a lot of people do :) I admire you for being so open about your workflow with your followers - I think most artists are too scared of theft (or something) to let people that far into their process / one of their pieces. So Kudoz to you! I'll definitely be dissecting that PSD along with using this tutorial when it comes time to throw out some color tests :D
Reply
:iconsketcherjak:
sketcherjak Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
So good and helpful!  Thank yous x10!
Reply
:iconviur:
Viur Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
really helpful tutorial, thanks! I've been trying to learn how to paint with grayscale lately with little success... usually I find that I've messed up my values and the piece, especially the highlights, have wound up too dark. Do you have any tips for getting a hang of how light or dark you should paint areas before adding colour to them?
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello!
I hope you can find this tutorial useful.
It doesn't really matter how light you paint your lights or how dark you paint your darks with this tutorial. If you don't get enough contrast, just slide your color stops inward a bit. I suggest you play around with it.

The uncolored version of this drawing was actually done in orange --> shinerai.tumblr.com/image/6924…
Reply
:iconlunaleaf:
Lunaleaf Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
So beautiful! Thanks for sharing this!
Reply
:iconubegovic:
ubegovic Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I shade the similar way, but in a multiply mode and I use flats colors underneath the shading layer. This looks way better, I think I'm gonna try this out! Thanks!
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Let me know what you think! :D
Reply
:iconnooknook:
Nooknook Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for this technic. I already knew it exists but your way to explain it makes it easy to understand! Thanks again!
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're very welcome :) I'm glad my explanation made sense!
Reply
:iconstarling16:
starling16 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A feature I've not yet experimented with and it looks dang useful! :D Thanks a bunch! Seems like things will be that bit easier from now on ^^
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You are so welcome :) I hope it does indeed open doors to refining your own style.
Reply
:iconstarling16:
starling16 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm working on it ^^
Reply
:iconiandresc:
iAndresC Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thx, so useful! :la:
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're so welcome c:
Reply
:iconkyzerkech:
KyzerKech Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013   General Artist
xD and this is why many digital artists have a hard time learning traditional. looks awesome though, didn't know your technique was so simple. :3
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you can apply a similar technique easily with markers.
This isn't my primary technique but I do use it sometimes c:
Reply
:iconkyzerkech:
KyzerKech Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013   General Artist
the difference is you really gotta know your craps with markers XD there's no turning back.
and I'm aware, I meant the average digital artist.
Reply
:iconember-eyes:
Ember-Eyes Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oooh, nice. I've had this sitting in my inbox waiting to be looked at for awhile, and now that I've finally taken a look, I can't fathom what took me so long! This is an utterly brilliant coloring technique. I really want to try it out. I hate coloring my stuff because...well, coloring really isn't a strength of mine. :dummy: But this technique here offers a much simpler, easier method than all the one's I've ever tried or read tutorials about. Thanks!! :squee:
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:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're very welcome c: I hope it works well for you!
Reply
:iconember-eyes:
Ember-Eyes Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I hope it does, too. :D
With me being as lazy as I am, though, it might be awhile before I actually try it out... :dummy:
Reply
:iconzakvit:
Zakvit Featured By Owner May 27, 2013
woooooooow *^*
I love drawing.
I love well-coloured pictures.
I FREAKING LOVE DRAGONS.
And that is perfect.
I tried and tried and tried to colour like that with Photoshop CS, but I'm definitely not good with the pen tablet XD
Just how and where did you learn to colour such wonderful digital paintings? I can't, every time I try I end up ruining the drawing I made :(
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for your compliments! I'm glad you like my work. To be honest, I have been drawing digitally since 2006 and, trust me, I wasn't good at first either. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of failure to make progress.
Reply
:iconzakvit:
Zakvit Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013
In only 7 years I would never reach that level XD
But did you attend any lessons, with any teachers? Or did you just learn drawing on your own?
Because I try to do it myself, but I don't know how to use Photoshop, and even if I look for tutorials on the Internet I never find what I'm searching.
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:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I just learned on my own and from friends :)
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:iconzakvit:
Zakvit Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013
Just as I thought, you're really amazing :D
I'll try too, someday I will succeed ^__^
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:iconxxyumetsuzz:
XxYuMeTsUzZ Featured By Owner May 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very thanksĄ
Reply
:iconchika365:
chika365 Featured By Owner May 21, 2013  Student General Artist
This is a cool-looking technique that I will have to try!
Reply
:iconhizzacked:
hizzacked Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
amazing. do you color all of your pics this way?
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:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, not all the time! Lately, I have been but i seem to do whatever I'm in the mood to do xD
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:iconhizzacked:
hizzacked Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
aw very cool. i've been using this technique :) thanks very much for the tutorial! my simple mind was never able to understand the gradient maps until your tutorial haha. now i only wish photoshop had the "select brush" like SAI T_T
Reply
:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're very welcome! I'm glad it was useful to you. I remember the selection brush from PSE2, and it was so hard to get used to not having it when I moved to real Photoshop xD. I think the most comparable replacement is the Quickmask tool. If you press the letter Q, you can draw and paint on the canvas, but it'll do so in a weird overlay red color. It'll still sense pressure and everything. Then, when you're done, press Q again and it'll turn it into a selection!
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:iconhizzacked:
hizzacked Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU. Thank you!!! Wow.... I'm so bad with photoshop because there's so much stuff to learn I just get overwhelmed so I put it down. Ahhh, you've made my month <3
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:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner May 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hahaha. You are so welcome! I know what you mean. There are some programs that I'll just tableflip within 15 mins. And this is what Illustrator makes me do. [link]
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:iconhizzacked:
hizzacked Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
LOL! I feel the same way about illustrator, haha. I only ever learned the very basics of that program, enough to make some vector stuff.. the simple stuff.. when I tried to make anything more involved or detailed, yep, everyone will die.
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:iconshinerai:
Shinerai Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hahaha. The thing about Illustrator is. . . well the only reason I wanted to use it in the first place is when I got my new job, I actually got a cubicle right? And I'm like man, I gotta decorate this ting. I need to make a giant vector image of my lizard's face. And I feel that the people that made Illustrator and the people that made Photoshop just all decided to use the same icons and make them do different things. So everything I was used to just got turned totally up-side down. ffffff
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