Digital Toning
By Rio

So you want to digitally tone your work? Here, I will cover only the use of seperate tones much like the tangible Letratone and similar tone sheets. There is another way to "tone" by using the grayscale and/or gradiant feature (if your software has it, anyways) plus some others but that's another tutorial. Anyways, moving on to the fun stuff, let's get started!

1. Get Yourself Some Tones
The first thing you have to do is to get yourself some digital screen tones. These tones may be scanned from patterns, originally made, or digitally made using the grayscale/gradiant feature. Ashura has a neat collection available in our Guest Tutorial section called Screentone Depot. For more tones, here are a few other sites on the net you can get some tones:

Xepher Screentones
Celes Chere Digital Screentones
Ratbat's Tones
Kiraseldon Screentones
Mandichan's Free Use Tones
Cartoon Club

2. It's All About Layers!
Now that you have some nifty tones, you've got to have a graphic software that can do layers. Layers allow you to have multiple images stacked together, each seperate from the other, on the same picture. It's much like animation where they have the background and several cells on top for the characters and special effects like fog.

Some software's that have this feature is Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw. There are definitely others out there but you should be able to accomplish the same result regardless of which software you'll be using. Speaking of which, I will be demonstrating how to tone using Photoshop.

3. Getting Started
Now that you've got some tones and a nice software, open up your drawing in that software. Make sure the lines are all cleaned up, crisp, and the background is crystal clear. If you've already done that, unlock your image by creating a copy. To copy your drawing, just drag and drop your drawing layer onto the paper icon on bottom of the Layers window as indicated by the arrow below.

Copying a layer

Now that you have an unlocked layer, you can edit your image such as color on it, move it, and all them good stuff. Make sure you delete the locked version, btw. You don't need it anymore. Just drag and drop it onto the garbage icon just right of the copy layer button.

Click on the Magic Wand (stick with sparks) on your toolbox and select areas in your drawing that you will tone. In my case, I'll be toning everything so I deleted all the white within my artwork. When you select an area, the Magic Wand will select everything of that same color. If you have a broken line, it will select colors outside of that line as well so manually use the Eraser if you want to avoid that problem. Here's my finished cleaned artwork:


4. Putting in Tones
Here comes the good part - putting in the tones! Select an area you want to tone first. For me, I'll do the suit. Decide what tone you want to use. Open that tone file, click on the Move button on your Toolbox (arrow), and drag and drop it over your drawing. If it's not under your drawing, drag and drop the tone layer below your drawing in your Layers Window.

Example: Ashura's marble tone used for suit

Putting in tones

5. Editing Tones
Move your tone around till you have it positioned in the correct place by using the Move tool . If your tone overlaps another area that will be toned, just erase the excess tone with the Eraser tool. Keep putting in your tones, position them, and erase any excess off until you have all the tones that you want in your drawing.

Example 1: Erasing hair tone....
Example 2: All tones have been added =)

6. Finishing Off
Add highlights and shading by CGing in the appropriate color over the tone. Make sure you do the colors on another layer and not on the tone layer itself. If you do so, you'll be erasing the tone and it's going to create a lot of problems for you - especially if you made a mistake or change you mind.

Here's what I did for my example:

Shades: I decided to darken his shades but wanted to keep the speedlines a bit visible so I used 40% opacity brush.

Hair: Originally, he was supposed to be medium haired but I changed my mind and I lightened up his hair. I CGed his whole hair in white and just erased the parts that were in shadow (exposing tone below).

Other: I also erased some other white areas for his nose, ear, chin, and under his jaw. I also moved him to the right side to create more impact and added a black gradient at the far right.