Coloring In Photoshop-UPDATE 7/6/11 Tips for Coloring Professionally

Coloring In Photoshop-UPDATE 7/6/11 Tips for Coloring Professionally

Re: Coloring In Photoshop-09/19/10 Angie's Big Overall Guide
« Reply #75 on: Mar 16, 2011, 08:16 AM »
I didn't know about that Red, I'll have to try that out! Since all my PS knowledge is self taught I had no idea how to use actions.
Kittens wearins mittens

Re: Coloring In Photoshop-09/19/10 Angie's Big Overall Guide
« Reply #76 on: Mar 16, 2011, 08:30 AM »
I didn't know about that Red, I'll have to try that out! Since all my PS knowledge is self taught I had no idea how to use actions.

I never used actions in photoshop until I learned about them in Illustrator and wondered if PS had the same feature. I'm so glad it does ;_;

Re: Coloring In Photoshop-09/19/10 Angie's Big Overall Guide
« Reply #77 on: Mar 16, 2011, 10:02 AM »
I knew about it but I just never gave it much try since there were some actions it wouldn't do. Also my Mac uses the F row as a function row so I can only use the +Shift/Command and that can be a bit awkward. I guess I should try and disable those functions but then I could switch windows as quickly. :/

Still a wonderful way to do this. Invaluable.

Tips for Coloring Professionally
« Reply #78 on: Jul 06, 2011, 12:34 PM »
Tips for Coloring Professionally

Disclaimer:this is for those just starting out. I do not work for any large companies yet so I'm not going to give you bs and tell you this advice will land you a job at DC. These are tips on how I personally get jobs, all my clients are small publishers or are just individuals so this may be different than landing a gig at a large company.

Tip #1:Your greatest assets are speed and consistency.
There is no room for perfectionists. Small time pro colorists are a dime a dozen and there's a ton of them all over deviantart just waiting to take jobs from you. The way to stand out is by being a speed demon and doing it well. Honestly no one cares if you can churn out painterly masterpieces if it takes you a month to do 2 pages.

That's not to say you should be good at shitting out mediocre coloring. You need to be fast and good at what you do. But if you can churn out a ridiculous amount of pages and make them look good, the word will spread and you will get more jobs. At the moment I can do 60 pages in a month if I'm on tight deadlines and am juggling about 10 different jobs, I got those jobs because I built a reputation of being a speed demon and people like getting things done quickly.

Also keep in mind, when you're starting out you'll be lucky to get $20 a page from most people. If it takes more than 2 hours to color a page you'll be making less than minimum wage so it is a ginormous waste.

Tip #2:Don't be too trusting.
Okay now that sounds harsh, but you need to protect yourself by making sure you don't get screwed. You can do this with the following

Write a contract-by making a contract you have your terms in writing, this will save you headaches in the long run. My contract isn't very well written or lawyer sounding but it gets the job done.

Half up front, half upon completion-If you have never worked with this person before, this is very important. I have several clients I've done several things for and I just have them do payments in installments. But for new clients, since this is the internet you need to cover your ass. You never ever EVER want to wait until the job is completed to receive a payment.

Unless they're Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, etc. say no to back end payments-back end payments are where you don't get paid until the book is completed and has started to make money. Now this can happen in large companies and can be a necessary evil. But if you're super small time, there is no guarantee the book will sell and you may never see a penny for your hard work.

Tip #3:Charge for revisions
And you better tell the client your rates for charging, no one wants to get charged for something they weren't warned about. People will take advantage of you and have you recolor entire pages if you don't charge them. I personally charge by the panel. Never ever let people take advantage of you.

Tip#4:Your client is a human being, treat them as such
I have a few clients I do a ton of work for and am on friendly terms with them. This has lead to more jobs and more opportunities. While I know on a job it can be hard not to see someone as just "your boss" because they're paying you, but if the client likes you and likes your work they're going to want to give you more work. That's not to say be all "hey dude, sup?" or be super casual towards them, you still need to act professionally because this is a job.(so don't tell them you just banged this hot girl with a nice ass in the bathroom at a bar last night) I'm not necessarily BFFs with anyone I work for, but they have my back and have helped me in the past.

On that note, keep communicating with the client during the duration of the job. Phone/email tag isn't very fun and people giving you money don't want to wait to hear from you. Be considerate and responsible.

Tip#5:Be open and be honest if there's a problem, but don't make excuses
This kind of goes hand in hand with #4. If there is a problem with your computer or a death in the family, you need to let your clients know ASAP. 9 times out of 10 your clients will be understanding. But the second you abuse it just because you slacked off, you might get fucked in the event a real emergency arises.

A week ago I was pretty much computerless because first windows update corrupted my videocard drivers, and then the videocard died a horrible death. The first thing I did was pull up my phone and email all my clients on all my current jobs to let them know there would be a delay. They were all understanding and one even gave me an early payment to cover the repairs for which I was extremely grateful for.

Tip #6:Be smart, save and back up your work CONSTANTLY
This is something you should have all learned from participating in Void, but shit happens. Computers don't last forever and things can go wrong. During the computer crisis I mentioned above I was not the least bit concerned because I had all my data backed up on a second hard drive as well as dropbox. A computer crash should NEVER EVER EVERRRRRRRRRRRR be an excuse to not finish something. You can net a portable 1TB hard drive for under $100 and a 500 GB one for even less, NO EXCUSES.

And on that note, if you have computer issues don't ever go to Best Buy. Their solution is always to reinstall Windows, you can do that yourself for free. Hit up local places, you will save time and money this way. I hit up a local 24 hour computer repair service and they fixed my computer and put a superior videocard in for a little over $200.

Tip#7:I don't care if you're good at one style, learn more styles
While you don't have to learn every coloring style under the sun, the more styles you can do, the more valuable you are. While I love to color in one specific style, I have picked up new ones because a client wanted it. Be flexible! It also looks good if you're going to go out of your way and specifically learn a new style for someone.

Tip#8:keep your mouth shut
I'll be the first to admit I complain a lot. It's a filthy habit and it's hard to stop. But dammit, you better not ever complain to a client ever, and don't even think about breathing a word of it on facebook/twitter/whatever. I have never done this but I know someone from my college that went on to work for Dreamworks. He complained about a job on facebook. His bosses found out and he got canned and blacklisted. He now can't find work in the industry because of this reputation.

Tip#9:Only do freebies if it is worth it
It's okay to be selfish, only take on free gigs that either really want to do so you don't care that you're not getting money or b.this free gig will lead to more work. You are not a charity, you do not owe anyone anything, don't let people take advantage of you. Some companies will have you do test pages, that falls under "will lead to more work". I've personally done a few freebies because it got me more jobs. If someone randomly notes you on DA saying they got a really awesome comic they want you to color but don't want to pay, say no. (and be nice about it)

Tip#10:Know when to say "no"
No matter how fast you think you are, there is only so much a human being can realistically do. Know your limits because you don't want to let everyone down because you can't meet any deadlines. I recently dug myself into a hole by taking on too much work and took a week off my day job so I could get on top of everything. I can tell you first hand the human body was not designed to color 5 pages a day for a week, it hurts and you don't want to put yourself in that situation. I learned from it so heed my warnings and don't make that mistake! More work will come to you so don't feel as if you have to take on everything.

Tip#11:You are not the star
Sorry to crush any dreams right now, but you aren't. In advertisements, publications, blogs, news, etc. they're most likely going to be going on about the penciler. There's been instances where I haven't been credited or was miscredited in books and such. Them's the breaks for inkers, colorists, and letterers. If you want to be the star that everyone talks about, coloring is not for you. If you're cool with being in the background and doing awesome things even if it means you might not get credited or have people showering you in praise, coloring is where it's at.

And most importantly...

Now obviously there are agents that will help you get actual work, but you yourself are the one that will be responsible for your success. Work hard and do what you can to move up in the world. Just because you have some buddies in the industry doesn't mean you have a free pass to working for a big company. No one has any responsibility to make things work for you so you better get your ass in gear. Here in grown up land things aren't handed to you!
« Last Edit: Jul 06, 2011, 05:10 PM by angieness »
Kittens wearins mittens

Re: Coloring In Photoshop-09/19/10 Angie's Big Overall Guide
« Reply #79 on: Jul 06, 2011, 04:01 PM »
... I never knew this thread was here. I LUVZ YOU ANGIENESS
- I yearn for redemption, but I'll settle for a breakfast sandwich.

Re: Coloring In Photoshop-09/19/10 Angie's Big Overall Guide
« Reply #80 on: Jul 06, 2011, 04:21 PM »
haha np, always looking for more ways to help people out

*edit, fixed some errors and added a few more tips
« Last Edit: Jul 06, 2011, 05:08 PM by angieness »
Kittens wearins mittens

*claps* everything she said - i fully agree, endorse and have lived.

biggest thing of all - its a job kids- its fun, but you wont sleep some nights, - if you get paid to do this, remember- you COULD be working in retail.

i know, i did my 6 year stint in it.
<3 angie

angie, you are the definition of BALLER.

Thanks guys! <3
Kittens wearins mittens

I'm about due to make another tutorial, if any of you guys have requests and want to know how I do some things let me know!
Kittens wearins mittens

I kind of have some knowledge, but you should post something about 'clipping masks'--although not everyone uses it, but if you're super nit picky, it is a life saver.

Also, actions are incredible--you can easily set them up on your F2-F12 keys, so you never ever have to keep dragging your mouse over to certain tasks over and over again. Here's a tutorial that explains it:

Since I see a lot of work here that starts off with flat colors, I bet many of you always use the 'select>expand>2px' thing all the time, or maybe 'flatten>dpi=2' or even 'edit>transform> rotate 90 degree'--with action keys, you can make simple things like that set up to a hotkey. Saves your hands some sanity and time. (just watch the video for better explanation) not in the video: If you want an action set to a hotkey, there's an option called 'function key' when you press the record button.
*note: this tutorial also leads to the 'batch' function, which is also the magical time saver. The Batch function allows you to set the same 'action' to a fat wad of files in a folder.
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