3.12.2009

A stupid thing happened on the way to shut down

Recently I've been working on a short comic entitled Eran and Coby. It's a good way for me to still do a comic without feeling burdened by a huge story line like some of the stuff I've done earlier.
My typical process for completing a page is as follows; after I've drawn and inked the page I scan it and bring it into photoshop to color. The way I learned to color is by making a copy of the black channel, filling the original CMYK channels with white and then basically coloring under the black copy. The only problem with this method is if you want to print to check your progress mid way through you have to go through a process which basically merges the black copy back into CMYK. After you do this the drawing isn't editable in the same way so you have to use history to get back to editing.
This is where the "stupid" comes in. As I was working on it, I was nearly finished with flatting the art but I wasn't happy with the color palette and some of the elements in the drawing. I wanted to print it out so I could get a better look at what was going on so I went through that whole flattening process, but not before saving and taking a history snapshot so I could get back to the editable state. It printed out fine and then I decided to take a break and watch some television. Some television very quickly turned into several hours of distraction by which time I was pretty sleepy and decided to shut down my computer and go to bed. I did the quick command "S" command "Q" ritual with all of the application I had running and had my computer shut down within a minute or two. Just as I was closing the my laptop I woke from dull sleepiness with this panicked thought process: "That photoshop file was flattened; I just saved it and quit; snapshots only work while photoshop is open…"
I was stunned.
I never make this kind of mistake. I save neurotically and even sometimes save a separate copy of a file if I feel like the information is too important to risk.
Here is the partially finished file. There many things that I would change but since that is no longer an option I figured I would share this as some kind of a graphic design cautionary tale rather than as an example of good art work.

3 comments:

Ayashi said...

Ack, wow. That really sucks!

I haven't heard of that method of coloring before - it sounds complicated! I generally color on top of the black lines but while using the multiply method so that the black stays on top. You can't color white using this method, but usually the background is white so you can just leave it uncolored.

Are you going to rescan and start over?

(This is Caitlin btw - of the Chris G. variety)

Chris Beesley said...

The method I used is kind of old school, but it was one that I learned in college when I first began digital coloring and hadn't bothered to change it. Originally my reason for not changing was that sometimes with the black lines on multiply some of the lines would get darker than others and I didn't like the differences in the blacks that I was getting. Now that I've had this experience I think I'll probably just do the multiply way and try to find some work around to deal with the inconsistent black color problem.
As far as rescanning goes, I don't know if I will. As I was coloring I became kind of frustrated with the quality of the line drawing so I might actually just start fresh.

Ayashi said...

Yeah I had run into that problem too, with the varying colors on the "black" lines. I started adjusting contrast to help out with that so the lines were overall black, but that isn't perfect either, since adjusting it can make you lose detail in other places.

Something else I think you can do is make copies of the main image (before any coloring has taken place) and set the copied layers to multiply, then flatten - that might help darken the lines a bit too. I'm not really sure there is a good strategy for it overall though - they'll all have their quirks. Flattening and saving over hours and hours of work must be so heartbreaking though!

Good luck with your next shot at any rate :)