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!
You should be here.
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 )
Using the pencil tool, fill in all necesarry areas with a solid white.( 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 )
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.
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 )
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.
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.
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 )
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.
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.
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!