Photoshop to vector
Sonic team style CG tutorial in photoshop
Sega sonic role playing site

Please note that this is in no way official-- Yuji Uekawa never divulged any of his enviable methods to his adoring public. This is simply the method I use for my work that works very well for me. I hope it does for you, too. I must also warn people that while Sonic style appears to be beguilingly simple, it couldn't be further from it. This tutorial is meant for advanced Photoshop users. If you're unfamiliar with Photoshop's interface, own an earlier version of Photoshop(This doesn't automatically discount you, but the tutorial was written for Photoshop 7.0.), or are new to CGing, I'd suggest you save this for some other time. This tutorial is not for the faint of heart. I highly reccomend you read through the entire tutorial, first, as opposed to trying to do it as you go along. I also suggest you make good friends with the polygonal select tool, now. You'll be using it a lot. You should also look through and have handy several high quality pieces of official art for reference and color dropping. The reason I suggest color dropping is because many people have different monitor settings, which could effect how personally mixed colors will be viewed. Official art can always been counted on for accuracy (but not necesarrily consistency). I suppose that's all I can think of for now. Good luck!

We begin with the solid black linework on a transparent layer by itself. This is the top layer. We will be working underneath it on a new, seperate layer. You will never need to touch the top layer unless you want to edit the linework. ( View image )

First, I will state that I strongly reccomend that you use the eyedropper tool to get colors off of an existing piece of good quality official art. Start by coloring in all the appropriate areas with the flat, base color with the pencil tool set to 100% opacity. ( View image )

Use the magic wand tool to select the base coloring. Though to a certain extent, the tolerance doesn't matter, I usually keep mine at "1." Use the eyedropper to get the darkest color used in the shading against the contrasting highlight. Using the air brush tool set to 25% opacity and 25% flow, shade all areas where the contrasting highlights will be. Though quite often, it's difficult to determine where these should go, over time, I've noticed this reccurring trait in official art: Aesthetics over logic -- If the lighting makes sense to you, it's probably wrong. Rather than where there should logically be highlights and shadows, Yuji Uekawa seems more focused on what is appealing to the eye. This means balance. If shading is present on the left side of the image, it should also be on the right. Inner arms and legs are almost never given the notoriously contrasty highlight-against-shading. Remember as you go: The highlights look best when they are thick, so shade accordingly! ( View image )

More than likely, some areas of your selection will have to be unselected and reselected as you apply shading. For example, as shown, Sonic's backside will need a nice, long strip of shading for the highlights we'll later apply. However, to avoid air brushing on the back spines while we do this, we'll have to deselect them while keeping out other selection. This can be achieved by utilizing what you will come to accept as your best friend in Sonic Team style CG: The Polygonal Lasso Tool. You can subtract from an existing selection by holding the "Alt" key as you select what you wish to deselect. You can add to an existing selection by holding the "Shift" key.
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Select and deselect as necesarry until all areas that need to be (for whatever base color you're currently working on-- In this case, blue) are shaded.( View image ) ( View image )

By now, the coloring should look something like this. ( View image )

Now for a brief tidbit: Most primary colors like blue, red and green are more complicated to CG than others in this particular style. This is because the highlights are given much more depth due to a wider range of colors. Rather than highlighting with one color, "Sonic blue" highlights require two. As shown, you can see that I've zoomed in on a piece of official art and eyedropped almost the darkest color in the highlight, as well as the lightest.( View image )

Now, it's time to apply our highlights. Select the highlight area using the polygonal select tool.
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First, run over the selection with the darker of the two highlight colors with the air brush tool (still set to 25% opacity and 25% flow), making the color most intense at the center of the selection and weaker towards to ends. Follow up by doing the same with the second highlight color. Rinse and repeat until all highlights are done.( View image )

You should be here.

Continuing on, we'll now do the fur on the muzzle, arms, belly, and inner ear(s). Start out filling the areas with your (hopefully dropped) base color using the pencil tool at 100% opacity. Use the magic wand tool to select the newly colored areas. Shade for highlights using the appropriate colors. Also, it's best to keep in mind that highlights and shading on the muzzle, belly, arms, inner ear(s), etc. are usually not as thick as those on the main body color.
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Select the will-be highlights using the polygonal select tool. Drop your highlight color from the lightest color within the highlights (if you're dropping from official art). Apply the highlights using the one dropped highlight color, with the air brush tool (opacity 25%, flow 25%. This will not change, so I won't repeat it again.), using the same method for the other highlights: Weakest highlights toward the ends of the selection, and strongest toward the middle. ( View image )

You should be here.

Using the pencil tool, fill in all necesarry areas with a solid white.( View image )

Now, the shading and highlights are slightly different for solid white (as well as solid black, though you rarely see solid black in Sonic Team style coloring) as opposed to any other color. Whereas, up until now, I've had you apply shading, then highlights, we'll now apply them both simultaneously-- We kind of have to. Using the polygonal select tool, select the area that will require shading up to the point where the highlight would begin. ( View image )

Apply shading using the air brush tool, making the shading darkest toward the end of the select (where the solid white "highlight" begins). Use the pictures for reference. Repeat for all white areas except the eye whites, and the teeth, if applicable. Eyes and teeth are always shaded with a solid color, which we'll delve into later. ( View image )

You should be here.

Drop shoe colors. Remember ealier when I mentioned that primary colors like blue, green and red were shaded with more depth earlier on? Well, you're in luck. If you're coloring Sonic, you get to do all three(joy!). If you've not already thrown yourself or your computer out the window, I advise you do it now.** Color the shoes with the base color using the pencil tool. ( View image )

Select the base color and shade for highlights using the air brush tool. Select the two highlight colors, and highlight using the same method as for the blue: First, run over the selection with the darker of the two highlight colors with the air brush tool (still set to 25% opacity and 25% flow [I know I promised-- I lied.]), making the color most intense at the center of the selection and weaker towards to ends. Follow up by doing the same with the second highlight color.
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You should be here.

Drop colors and color other necesarry elements of the picture, like shoe soles, buckles, the nose (note that the nose is not perfect black! For best results, drop colors!) etc. ( View image )

Almost done.

Fear. The eyes are the most complicated part of the coloring. Note that Sonic and Amy both have the same color eyes. Twice the happiness if they're both in the picture! Ready for some fun? Start by dropping your base color, and filing the irises with it using the pencil tool.
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Using the polygonal select tool, select the outer-most rim around the center of the eyes (just outside the pupil), making the selection thickest toward the topof the iris. Drop yourself a nice, toxic lime green from an existing (eye) highlight. Using the air brush tool, fill the highlights, making them most intense on both sides near the bottom, and at the top-- Thickest at the top.
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Now, drop a vivid, nuclear banana yellow from the brightest point in the highlight, and use the air brush tool to make a small crecent-shaped mark just at the bottom of the selection at the top of the eyes. This is only at the top of the eyes, and should fade into the rest of the highlight as it goes down on both sides.( View image )

Now, using the polygonal select tool right click, and opt to inver the selection. This will select EVERYTHING BUT WHAT YOU JUST HAD SELECTED, SO BE CAREFUL. If you feel confident enough to do so, you can use the polygonal select to subtract everything but the inner eye which is what you will be working on next. Now, drop the darkest green from the inner eye you can find, and use the air brush tool to shade, making the darkest points at the top and lower sides right next to the highlight. ( View image )

Thus concludes the base coloring. You should be here. Now, we add the solid shading. Make a new layer and set the layer mode to "multiply." Make sure this layer is above the other layer that we've been coloring on. ( View image )

Use the polygonal select tool to select the solid shading. Note that this shading is crucial to the shape of Sonic's quills, and can be the defining point between 2D and near 3D. Shade carefully, and I would strongly suggest you look through a lot of official art to get an idea of how it should look. When finished making your selection, mix a neutral gray (I usually use R137, G137, B137. Darker, for more intense lighting, lighter for less intense lighting), and use the paint bucket tool at 100% opacity (I used 100% tolerance as well, but this is up to you) to fill the selection.
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As you can see, I usually select everything at once and fill everything at once, however, since Photoshop doesn't save selections(that I know of), you may want to do it step by step.
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Viola! You're done. Compress the layers, add a background, do whatever. My back hurts. Yaaay. Hope this was helpful and you enjoyed it. That's all now, bye bye. ( View image )

**Mie is in no way resposible for any damage or injuries sustained while throwing oneself or one's computer out windows, or any other potentially dangerous areas.

PS: Tutorial written with the permission of the Author!