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Submitted on
February 17, 2011
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1.3 MB


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Vector Mask Painting by MissNysha Vector Mask Painting by MissNysha
This is a guide for those who want some more in depth clarification about my fav digital coloring technique: vector mask painting, which combines vectoring and tablet painting in a single layer. This time, you don't have to hunt through my other tutorials to try and understand the concept! :D

Intermediate level, as it assumes some photoshop vectoring knowledge. See my previous Ultimate vectoring guide for further details: [link]

Also check out my Hair Coloring Tutorial to see me using vector mask painting in full! [link]

Made in photoshop cs2, but the technique still applies to other versions. :)


All parts made by me - No stealing or ripping any of its content.
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MelikeBAt Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is awesome! Thank you!
MissNysha Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
:D Glad you like it!
Galenia Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Omg you are perfect! *-*
ChenilleLily Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013
Hey there, sorry for bothering again. I have a question, I've just tried to group all the layers and add a group vector mask to it but when I was about to apply the gradient tool, it said "Could not use the gradient tool because the pixels in a group cannot be edited without merging the group"
Could you please help me with that?
Thank you.
MissNysha Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
Please PM me a note with a screenshot please. :)
ChenilleLily Featured By Owner May 29, 2013
Thank you!! This tutorial is really helpful, but still don't know how to make the colors so soft like yours. I have a question, when you paint a character, do you color the skin in a single layer (or vector mask) or make separated layers?
Thanks, again :)
MissNysha Featured By Owner May 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
I make a new layer for each color so they can blend into each other softly (I mess around with the opacities and blending modes). I also use layer masks to erase around edges to "mold" colors into a nice soft shape too (with a large airbrush). I may merge these layers together later if the file size gets too big. All layers are grouped within a vector mask to keep me organized and their edges nice and clean. :)
ChenilleLily Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
I see. Oh the problem is, I don't know how to erase the edges, if you don't mind, [link] please take a look at the picture I'm working. May I know how to erase that part?

I'm sorry for my English.
Thank you very much.
MissNysha Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
Hmm let's see...
This could be caused by several things. Depends on how your layers are stacked too. If you have the same vector shape stacked in several layers, the outside edge develops a pixelly outline that can't be erased unless you group all the similar layers under a single mask (example of the bow at the bottom of the tutorial).
Also, if you used the paint bucket to fill in a pen tool path, and rasterized it, then the edges may become pixellated like this. I'd have to know what you did to make this, or see your layers to really give you a good answer.
ChenilleLily Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013
I've figured it out, it's because I didn't erase the layer under the vector mask. Thanks for answering my question. =D
Oh I see, I'm new at vector mask so I still don't know how to use it. I want to make soft shading for the skin, clothes, and hair, but I don't know how to make them without making them pixellated. ^^; Should I use brush or gradient tool? And is it okay to use smudge tool? I'm afraid the edges may become pixellated if I use it.
Ah I'm so sorry I don't have the file anymore, I was only practicing and I didn't save it. :(
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