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Harmony 11 - How To Paint

Determine the differences between bitmap and vector drawing layers, the advantages and disadvantages of using one or a combination of both. You’ll also be learning the difference between the line art and colour art and why they’re handy to have. Automatic gap filling and strokes are demonstrated; invisible lines that delineate a painted zone. See how pencil lines are converted to brush strokes and use the smooth tool. Learn about colours and creating palettes.


Video Transcript

Welcome to the tutorial How To Paint. In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to paint your superhero character, as well as go over some of the colouring features in the software. So to begin, I'd like to go over the four combinations that exist for line art and painting. So let's do that by going to the Timeline and clicking on this button here, the Add Drawing Layer button. And so what I mean about the four different combinations is that you can have a layer that contains vector line art with vector colour art, or vector line art with bitmap colour art, or bitmap line art with vector colour art, or bitmap line art with bitmap colour art. So I'm going to create four layers with those varying combinations and I'm going to name them accordingly. So my first layer will be VectorVector to indicate both the line art and the colour art are vector. My second one will be VectorBitmap. My third one will be BitmapVector. And my fourth one will be BitmapBitmap.

So I'm just going to turn off the Clean and the Rough layers, as well as disable the Light Table here. And let's start with the VectorVector layer. So this is the simplest one to understand. If you choose any of the two vector tools to draw, the Paint Brush or the Pencil, I prefer the Pencil actually, you can draw a simple outline. In this case let's draw a circle that you can then easily fill by selecting the Paint Tool from the Drawing Tools Toolbar, and then selecting a colour swatch from your palette and filling the object. So it's really as simple as that. And when you render both the line art and the colour art, you'll see that you have a nice crisp outline and a nice flat solid colour. Then if you decide that you would like a vector outline, so what we just did, for example with the Pencil Tool, and we create another lovely circle, this time instead of colouring directly on this vector line art layer, we're going to go the bitmap colour art layer. So we haven't talked at all about these three icons that are always on the side of the Drawing and Camera View. So the first one is actually the line art layer, whereas the second one is the colour art layer, and you can toggle between the two. And as you can see, what we just drew is on our vector line art layer and we have nothing as of yet on our bitmap colour layer. So the best way of thinking about it is almost as if every layer in your Timeline actually has two layers embedded within this single layer here. And you don't have to use both of them. As you just saw in the VectorVector layer, you can do both the line art and the colour art on the same layer. And this third icon here at the top just allows you to see what's on the colour and on the line art layer at the same time.

So I'm going to select what in this case is the bitmap colour art layer. And then what I'm going to do is choose the Brush Tool and then select, this is nice, a nice textured brush like this chalk one that we have here. You can always scroll through this list to select another one if you like. And it's at a nice big size which is not too bad and I'm going to select another colour from our palette, and then do something like this. So the possibilities are endless, but obviously colouring a kind of bitmap texture behind this line art is more of a stylistic choice more than anything. So let's go the BitmapVector layer now. With the Brush Tool still selected, but this time we have a black swatch. And I want to go to the line art layer. Let's create our line art as a texture and you can always fill this right away using the Paint Tool with a colour. And I'll show you what that looks like. So it looks like that and you can kind of see those rough edges. So that's kind of an interesting effect. And we're still on the bitmap layer for both the colour and the line art at this time. So if I undo that and I go to the vector art layer, you could do something like choosing the Stroke Tool which creates invisible strokes. You can use the keyboard shortcut [K] so that you can see these visible strokes and on the vector colour art layer, you can draw kind of an offset shape that you can then fill with colour like that. And then if you hide strokes, so the effect would perhaps be something like that. Once again the stylistic possibilities are endless, but the point being that you can create vector colour art on the colour art layer and you can create a nice soft textured bitmap on your line art layer.

So the last layer that we have of course is the BitmapBitmap layer. So both the line and the colour art are bitmap. Let's once again select our Brush tool with the black colour. Maybe we'll choose a different brush in this case just to show off some of the different brushes, maybe this one. Let's see what that looks like. So it's quite fat. Let me just reduce the maximum size a bit, try that again. So we have another circle. We're going to select the Paint Tool, select a different coloured swatch and then paint the inside. So now we have a bitmap outline with a bitmap fill on the bitmap line art layer. If I undo that for a minute, what you can also do is what we saw on the VectorBitmap layer and that's to go to the bitmap colour art layer, select a different colour, perhaps select another textured brush such as the chalk once again, and do what we saw before. So this way, you can have a funky textured background and a funky textured outline as well. So that just gives you a little bit of insight of some of the playfulness you can have with the four layer types. And I just wanted to add quickly that I hope I didn't make it seem like you couldn't draw textured brush lines on a vector layer. That's actually very possible. And also that the only option for a bitmap texture is a stroke. You can do many things such as import in an image that's a texture on your bitmap layer. So there's many, many possibilities. What I just showed you is actually just very basic examples and if you're finding all of this information overwhelming, just know that all you need to do is create a VectorVector layer in your timeline and then you can use the Pencil, the Brush Tool, solid lines, textures, whatever, all working on the line art layer which is always chosen by default. And you can still create a very lovely animation just using those basic features.

So what I'm going to do is delete these layers from the Timeline and enable our superhero. And you can actually also see the rough that's underneath because I just turned on the Light Table feature. Let's go the line art layer again and turn off our ability to see both layers. Okay, so in the last tutorial, I outlined the rough of our superhero character using the Brush Tool on a bitmap layer, but in fact what I would like to have is a vector outline. So what I did is I re-traced our character using the Pencil Tool, and if I get rid of the rough and select the superhero layer, you can see that. I'll zoom in a bit so you can see that these are in fact pencil lines. And if I select the Contour Editor Tool and I select one of the lines, you can see that these lines have a central vector, that they can also have thicks and thins just like the brushes. So you're not restricted to having a uniformly thick line. And of course with these contours, you can manipulate them any way you choose. And once again this was really just an aesthetic decision.

So if you would like to have the same thing, but you don't want to take the time to re-trace your rough using the Pencil Tool, there is a quick and easy way to create vector outlines from a bitmap brush. And I'll show you how to do that quickly. Let's select our Clean layer. Let's create another layer in the Timeline, this time Vector/Vector. Let's drag that vector drawing layer under our Clean layer. Let's select the drawing from the right side of our Timeline, as well as the cell for the vector drawing layer. Then let's go to this menu here in the corner of the Timeline and select Drawing > Vectorize Line Art in Selected Drawings. And then the Convert To Vector dialogue box will come up and in this case, I do want black and white, and not greyscale. I'm going to say OK. And now if we take a look at our Drawing layer, so this vector layer, you can see that our bitmap layer or bitmap outline, which looks like that, has been vectorized. And we know this because if we zoom in and we select the line, we can see that now there's this vector contour with a bunch of vector points surrounding each stroke. And if you're finding the number of points overwhelming, what you can do is select the Smooth Editor, which is hidden behind the Contour Editor Tool. Let's zoom in again so you can see that these are actually just the points glowing, and you can do something like this. You can just swipe the Smoothing Editor over your character, over your lines to reduce the number of Bezier points. And it's a really simple vibe. But I still find that re-tracing your rough using the Pencil Tool is really your best option.

So I'm just going to delete that layer and we're going to use this clean character outline that was created using Pencil lines. So before I finally get down to the business of painting our superhero character, I just want to go over our palettes really quickly. So the way to know if you're on a bitmap or vector layer is most obviously seen through the Colour View. When we're on a vector layer, our colour palette looks like this. We have a bunch of swatches in a row like this and in fact they are dynamic, which means that if I paint my character with one of these swatches and then I decide to modify that colour, it'll update automatically on my character. So that's something interesting to note. Up here at the top, we have a list of the palettes in our scene. The reason that you see the 01_Interface is because this palette was automatically created when I created this scene for the first video tutorial. And since then, I've been saving my scene as the new tutorial name, so in this case, it's #3 How To Paint. So the original palette stays there because I'm continuing to save the same scene under different names. The Pencil opacity is something that comes with the default with all of your scenes or all of your projects and the superhero palette was created off camera specifically for our character. So you can create palettes by clicking on this [+] button here, you know, and then you can rename your palette whatever you want and say OK. And then you can start filling this new palette with a bunch of different colours. So you can double-click here, change this, rename this to whatever you want, like Costume. And then you can actually just click on this again to add another one. As you can see, it'll take the colour of the previously selected swatch. You can change the Colour Picker view from RGB to Hue/Saturation value. You can select another colour, rename it whatever, like that, and you can continue adding colours to fill this colour palette. But I'm actually going to delete this new palette from our list. And once again it's as simple as that.

So then if we go back to our bitmap outline, you can see that the Colour View has changed. And that's because the way that you select vector colours and bitmap colours functions differently. You can see that the superhero palette can also exist as a bitmap palette and it has all the same colours. But this is just a starting point. You can add colours to this palette as well in the bitmap form, but I'll show you how it varies. For example, if I draw another stroke, I'm just going to select a new brush, so here's my blue stroke, and then I'm going to select, let's say yellow, and draw it over top. This might work even better if we change the opacity from 100% to something like 50% and I draw it on top. You can see that there's a nice mossy green that's created by the overlap of the two colours. Then if I use the colour picker, I can select the colour that was formed by these two colours. And I can also save that as a swatch within my palette. However these colours are not dynamic. They don't automatically update, so if I decide to modify this, let's do something really radical like make it pink, you'll see that this centre overlap colour will still remain green. It doesn't change because these are bitmaps. They're not vector colours. They don't update. They're not linked in any way. But anyway you can take the time to maybe explore these two different colour palettes on your own time. So let me just delete. And just one more thing. As you see, I just tried to select these strokes separately, but the moment you draw something and then move away and perform another action, your strokes become flattened and not just these two strokes that overlap, but these two strokes along with your character are considered the same image on a bitmap layer. They're not separate items even though they look like they're separate items. So that's another function of the bitmap layers. So I'm just going to undo in order to remove those two strokes.

And we're going to go back to our superhero layer and using this colour palette here, I'm going to paint in the zones of our character. And because this is somewhat of a repetitive process, I will probably speed up this part of the video.

Okay, so now that I'm done painting my superhero character, let's talk about some of the things that I did as I was painting. So one of the things you may have noticed is sometimes there'd be a little white spot that hadn't been painted in, so I would just zoom in really close and then I'd be able to get those little areas. So that's always a good idea, to zoom in and out as you're painting. Another thing that I did is I missed drawing the details of these wrist cuffs, so I just drew them in quickly using a Pencil line and then I filled those in, so that was no big deal. The other thing I was doing is I was using invisible strokes to create zones so that I could add a shaded tone or a darker tone to create the illusion of shading on the character. And once again, you can locate that tool behind the Paint Tool here. It's the Stroke Tool. And then to see those strokes, because usually when you create an invisible stroke it's invisible, you would have to use the keyboard shortcut [K] and you can also view that through the View Menu under Show > Show Strokes. You can see that the keyboard shortcut is listed right beside.

Okay, so the last thing I'd like to talk to you about is how to close gaps. You may have noticed when I first started painting, I was unable to fill the colour in this thigh. And if we zoom in a bit, you can see why. It's because there's a large gap here on the leg. The two black lines do not connect. So what I did was I went into the Tool Properties panel for the Paint Tool and I selected this Options drop-down option, which allows you to not close gaps or to close different sizes of gaps. And I usually always choose the largest Close Large Gaps. So even with a gap this large, the software will be able to calculate roughly where the border should be and fill the zone with paint. However there are other ways to fill gaps. For example, if aesthetically you wanted to make your character have open lines like this what you could do is use an invisible stroke to close your gap. That's basically using the same tool that I used to draw these zones. So I'll show you how that's done. Let's select the Unpaint Tool and unpaint this zone for a minute. I forget what the keyboard shortcut is for the Stroke Tool so it looks like it's [Alt] or [Option] + [B]. So we can do that and then I can just draw a line like this across the two black lines. An error message always comes up that tells you that you will be unable to view the line you just drew unless you enable the Show Strokes option and you can always say "Don't show me this message again" and say OK. So obviously that line disappeared because I don't have the Show Strokes option enabled. I'll press [K]. Now I can see all the central vectors of my vector lines, as well as my invisible stroke here. And then what we can do is go into the Colour View and select our shaded swatch. It says Eyebrow, but it's also the shading for the pant. Then we use [Alt] or [Option] + [I] to select the Paint tool and then paint this zone in. If we deselect strokes, it looks something like that. If you don't like the shape, you can always do the Contour Editor Tool to fix it so that it's a little bit nicer like that. So that's it for the tutorial How To Paint. Stay tuned for the next tutorial, How To Import Bitmap Images.