"Blighted Arts tutorial to setting up your lineart!"
(Sorry folks, no pictures)
-either a lightbox or a damn good light for tracing.
-half a brain, don't be fooled, I keep my half in my pocket. *shot*
Okay, first sketch your image out on paper, it's recommended you use the properconstruction techniques for what you're drawing, for example, if you're drawing a character, make sure you get the anatomy down right, and use a line-of-action (basically acts as the 'spine') to show the overall flow or shape of the character. Or if you're doing a perspective background, draw a focal point and use a ruler to plan perspective lines... Okay, now that you have you pencil sketch... Ink it. Preferrably on a separate piece of paper, you might want to buy a lightbox to make the tracing easier. After you've inked your drawing, edit it a bit before you scan it, by editing I mean you could either go back to the pencil sketch and add a couple more things, then ink, or do what I do and make some of the inked lines bolder, some bolder than others etc.
Now that that's all over with, get your scanner out... it's looking hungry yes? Well lets feed it with... ... paper... Uh... k. Well anyway, put the paper in the scanner, open photoshop. Good. Now go File > Import > (your scanner).
When you're on the scan screen you should be able to click a "Preview" button somewhere, do that, and you'll get a mock-up of your drawing. Select the very edges of your drawing for scanning (edges of the lineart, not the paper). Now you may have to go to "advanced settings" for this part:
Set the DPI (Dots Per Inch) to 300, what this means is how many pixels an image has in an inch. Say you set it to 300dpi, there'll be 300 pixels of colours in every inch on paper ( 90,000 pixels in 1" squared). This'll help with the quality of the lineart and give you a large area to work with. Then set the image type/scan type/whatever from Colour (probably the default) to Greyscale. Naturally this nullifies all colour and gives you a white-grey-black scale image. Since we're going to be getting rid of the colour either here or in photoshop, it may aswell be here, this also lowers the amount of time it'll take to scan.
Now that all this is ready, scan you image.
Now you may notice a lot of spots/dust/etc on your image, you shouldn't worry. Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels. You'll see a graph pop-up, notice that there should be two 'hills' on the graph, and three arrows at the bottom of the graph, pull the two outer arrows together to make sure they're IN BETWEEN the two hills. What this does is, originally, the hills represented the amount of which there is of that colour, the hills show that there is a lot of grey in the image that we don't want, we want a crisp black/white lineart. Now that you've dragged those arrows together, the margin becomes smaller and those greys are basically "forced" to side with either black or white. The arrow in the middle basically sets the remaining colours, drag it towards the 'white' arrow and you'll notice there'll be more black in the image. You may be thinking "wtf?" but look at it this way, if you drag the arrow to the white side, there'll be a smaller margin between 'grey' and 'white' and a larger margin between 'black' and 'grey', giving more oppurtunities for a black colour to show through. However we really don't need to know this, it's food for thought, but we just need to nullify as much grey as possible. Click OK.
Now if you zoom into the image (CTRL and + on windows) to the lineart, then hit CTRL and Z, it'll undo what we just did, don't worry, this is just to show you the drastic change that happens before and after toggling the levels. Hit CTRL & Z again to go back (if you want to keep stepping back through your history, hit CTRL & Shift & Z, then hit CTRL & Z without shift to go right back to the 'present' of your history). Now that you've done 'Redo' and the levels are once again active, you'll have that almost crisp black line. You'll notice when you zoom in that there'll be a bit of grey on the edges of the lineart, that's good, if they were completely black or white it'll look very pixellated and crisp on the image which is bad, we don't want too crispy, nor too soft.
H'okay, take a coffee break if you want.... ..... ...... .... Welcome back.
Next step, go towards the Layers panel (I think it's Window > Layers to open that if it isn't already) and you'll see a layer named "Background", it'll be locked. To unlock it just double click on the name and rename it, it'll be Layer 0 for default which's fine, but name it "Lineart" to keep yourself organised. After changing the name you'll notice the padlock isn't present anymore. Now on the Layer panel, change the Mode from "normal" to "Multiply" via the drop down menu. I'll explain the relevance in a sec.
Okay, we've got our lineart, all ready for colouring, and our lineart layer set to Multiply, now create a new layer, there is an icon for such at the bottom of the Layer Panel. Click and drag that layer underneath your Lineart Layer. Now go to Images > Mode > RGB and just click "Don't Merge" on the pop-up that appears. Now, with the new layer selected, choose a colour from your tools. Then grab the pencil tool (click and hold on the brush tool then release on "Pencil" from the dropdown menu that appears), make sure you have a colour that isn't black, white or grey, and draw a line right across the image. Yep. You heard me. Slash a line right through the image on your New layer.... .... Interesting hm? Notice that your colour shows perfectly fine over the white? Even though that white is on a layer ABOVE your colour? And yet the black still remains untouched?
The reason for this is because that layer is set to Multiply, which basically means "Make colours darker". Now white is the brightest colour you can get, so any other colour besides that is darker, ergo the white will 'give way' to every other colour on the layers underneath. Since black is the darkest colour you can get, the green is still technically showing through, but it makes the black "darker" so to speak, or atleast that's what photoshop thinks, but to us it makes no difference since it can't get darker than black... if you still don't get me then quickly make a new document with ctrl + N, choose a colour, such as green. Choose the pencil tool, then up at the top there should be a "Mode: Normal" drop down menu, change that to multiply... Okay, now draw a line, then scribble on top of that line... ... now do it again, you'll notice that there'll be three tones of green, each scribble darker than the last where it overlaps a previous line. Okay hopefully that gives you a grasp of multiply, (the opposite of multiply is Screen, making things lighter, but you can work on that yourself later). Hit CTRL + W to close that document and don't save it. Since we're back on the original image, lets keep going. Now what you can basically do on the underlying New layer (call it the colour layer) is basically put all your colours in there, without having any risk of damaging your lineart. You'll also note that even though there are greys in the lineart, that's not a problem since the "multiply" mode allows those grey pixels to be toned as appropriate to keep a smooth yet crisp outline on the image... Now colour your image in and don't forget to save as a .PSD file regularly!!!
Hope this tutorial helps.