Creating a Neut Lager

To create a new layer on your page, follow these steps:

1. Create the new layer by either

• Pressing Ctrl+Shift+N (I6+Shift+N on the Mac) on your keyboard or

• Clicking the New Layer button on the Layers palette. (Press F4 on your keyboard if the Layers palette isn't visible.)

The New Layer dialog box appears.

2. Enter the name of the layer in the New Layer text box.

3. Choose the type of layer you wish to create from the Layer Type dropdown list.

The previous section, "Getting to Know Your Layer Types," describes the different types of layers you can choose from.

If you're choosing a non-image layer (ruler, selection, guide, panel, panel ruler, or print guide), all the other options are grayed out, so click the OK button.

Note that you can select a masking layer only when you're within a panel layer. (Chapter 7 is devoted entirely to panel layers and panel rulers, so be sure to check that out.)

4. Select the resolution you wish to use with the Resolution dropdown list.

5. Select whether you want a Black f 1 bit), Black and White (2bit), or Gray (8blt) layer from the Expression Mode drop-down list.

6. Beside Output Attribute, choose either the Sketch or the Finish option button.

Aside from keeping your sketch layers and finish layers organized, this option is most useful for deciding which layers are printed and which are omitted when you're ready to print or export your finished work — only layers with the Finish option selected are exported or printed. Check out Chapter 13 for more information on printing and exporting your work.

7. If you've chosen an 8-bit expression mode, select your subtractive method (Does Not Subtract Colors, Threshold, Dither, or Convert to Tone) from the Subtractive Method drop-down list.

I explain the differences in the various modes in Chapter 5.

8. If you've selected the Threshold method, enter its level in the Threshold text box. Or use the slider bar (activated by clicking the black arrow to the right of the text box) and adjust it until you've reached the desired threshold level.

I explain what the threshold level is a bit more in Chapter 3. To summarize, adjusting the threshold level tells the program how to treat any grayscale drawing (below the level converts to black, while anything at or above will be ignored). Admittedly, if you're working on roughs, the threshold method probably won't be useful to you, so you won't need to worry about this selection when you're working on roughs.

Picking the right layer for your work

I talk a bit about resolution and expression mode in Chapter 5, but here is a good place to discuss what types may work out best for you, depending on what you're working on.

f* When you're working on roughs, it's really a matter of preference. If you prefer to draw very loose roughs purely to guide your inking process and you aren't planning on keeping them afterwards, I'd suggest using a lower resolution at 150 dpi or so, with a 1 -bit or 2-bit expression mode. Using a low resolution and expression uses less memory, reduces the file size, and is a bit easier on the processor than, say, using a 1200 dpi 8-bit layer that doesn't subtract colors. And because you're not planning on keeping the roughs in the end, it's overkill to go higher than you really need to.

V If you're like me and you prefer to work on very tight pencils to ink later on (or export to a file to send to your inker), you want the highest-quality layer for your roughs. Choose the highest possible resolution relative to your page—that is, if you're working on a 600 dpi page, create a 600 dpi layer to work from.

Picking the expression mode is a bit more subjective because your choice really boils down to your comfort level. You may find that drawing on a 1- or 2-bit layer feels more natural, or that an 8-bit layer set to dither is more what you're looking for. My suggestion is to experiment to find the right combination that produces what you're looking for.

V When inking, the choice gets easier — pick the highest resolution available relative to your page's resolution, with a 1-bit or 2-bit expression. You want to have the smoothest lines possible when you're inking, and that's possible only with a high resolution. If you use too low of a resolution, the lines will look jagged when you print or export them, and your publisher won't be terribly pleased.

For Manga Studio EX users, you get the additional option of using a vector layer for your inks. You have a bit more freedom regarding resolution (because vectors are resolution independent), which means you could theoretically work on a smaller page if you wanted. (The benefit is a smaller file, which may be good if you're working on an older computer.) Even if you go this route, I suggest working on a higher-resolution page for best results when you print or export your inks.

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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