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Soft Shading Tutorial via Paint Tool SAI by Sunflorii Soft Shading Tutorial via Paint Tool SAI by Sunflorii
Please download for full view (apologies for the pixelly images in full view XD)

This tutorial shows how I go about shading using Paint Tool SAI.

It includes a general technique overview and goes into detailed examples on how I shade hair, clothes, and eyes, including my brush settings and layer modes.

Finished piece:

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:iconlolztehgamer567:
lolztehgamer567 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2015  New Deviant
Why there's no 15 &16?
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:iconfrappe7:
Frappe7 Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015
this is awesome!
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:iconsolarea:
Solarea Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much! This will help me now how to do the right coloring on my chibis :D awesome!
Reply
:iconfish-mina:
fish-mina Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
ok this is a stupid question but I'm not sure for the first step are you supposed to fill with a color? or just use the magic wand/select tool?
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015
just magic wand :)
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:iconfish-mina:
fish-mina Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
thankTHE SOURCE OF ALL NIGHTMARES 
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:iconxdlowlad151:
XDLOWLAD151 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015
thx dis helpd so much
Reply
:iconpaluumin:
Paluumin Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Ahhhhh you are amazinggggg ;v; Lovely Shoujo Emoji (Huggy Hug) [V2]  this tutorial helped me a lot ;v;

thank youuuuuu :D
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015
Aww I'm glad it was helpful x
Reply
:iconhoniah:
Honiah Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014  Hobbyist Filmographer
quick question.. how do you make a colour gradient?
(really good tutorial btw)
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014
There's no gradient tool on sai so I just use a very big airbrush instead :)
Thank you!
Reply
:iconhoniah:
Honiah Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2015  Hobbyist Filmographer
Ah! Thanks so much! :)
Reply
:icondeadninja21:
Deadninja21 Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Holy dog biscuits, I've been looking everywhere for that coloring trick! Thank you so much! Great tutorial!
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2014
my pleasure! :)
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:iconjunox-reborn:
JunoX-Reborn Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
can you explain this layer by layer

i got lost at number 3
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014
Ah don't worry about the layer numbers, the ones shown on number 3 are just lineart layers haha.
The folder's the only thing that's important on that step. I make the folder under my lineart.

Steps 1-5 are totally optional too, they just show how I generally organize things without being super organized (eg how people like naming the layers, which I never do haha)
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:iconactobacter:
actobacter Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
I did follow the tutorial until step 5, but then I failed to apply any flat color after I selected the New Layer Mask button. I wonder where did I mess up with the step. And can I use an artwork (that I've applied the line art beforehand) with format .jpg for this tutorial? 

Sorry for such stupid question. I'm totally new with digital painting...Waaaah! 
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
Make sure you still have the selection selected from the previous steps when you click the layer mask, then the mask will show up. To add colors you'll have to create layers in the folder that the mask was applied to~ :)

Yes you can use jpgs, just make sure its on its own layer and set the lineart layer mode to multiply, then drag it on top of your colors. or you can try to delete the white space (there are some tutorials that tell you how to get transparent lineart from scanners if it doesn't have transparency)
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:iconactobacter:
actobacter Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
I've tried and it's working! Thank you!^^ But what do you mean by gradient when applying color to the hair and clothes. Is there any tutorials on this?
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
Oh I just take a huge airbrush in another shade and use that to add the other color haha, SAI doesn't have a gradient tool
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:iconactobacter:
actobacter Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014
Thank you! I shall try it later! ^^
Reply
:iconsmp-megajack:
SMP-Megajack Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for this. I knew I was going the wrong way about coloring, and now I know why.
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014
Glad to help! Cheers!
Reply
:iconivegottalent:
IveGotTalent Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
About step 7. Do I need to make a new layer for every flat colour I have?
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
It depends, you can usually just get away with making sure each different colour on one layer doesnt touch, making a new layer until everything's coloured. Some people like having a new one for each colour, but personally I dislike having 50 layers in one colourful piece haha.
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:iconivegottalent:
IveGotTalent Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks a lot, I'll remember that. For now, I just have to work with my 50 layers because I got impatient and didn't wait too long for a response. Nice works, btw, I'll fave some of them right now. :) 
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:iconskailak:
Skailak Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014
you saved my life with the "fringe" thing. Ive been searching for that for always. I simply cannot thank you enough <33333
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014
Glad to hear it! :)
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:icon100dayssnow:
100DaysSnow Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh you did make coloring tutorials whoops my b
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014
LOL was just about to link ya aha thank you btw!
Though this is a year old, not much has really changed *u*!
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:icon100dayssnow:
100DaysSnow Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like the tutorial I think I'm going to try it out ~ 
I've been having a difficult time with my art lately .-.
thanks <3
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:iconareksandura:
Areksandura Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2014  Student Writer
THANK YOU OMG I LOVE YOU <3
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:iconmeowberries:
Meowberries Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been looking for a tutorial like this for so long, it's not even funny. I know this is old and everything but thank you so much for uploading this omg. ;u;
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:iconellumy-sshi:
Ellumy-sshi Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2014
it is helpful!! thank youu:D (Big Grin) 
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:iconkarrarasim:
Karrarasim Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Thank you so much very helpful tutorial.
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Very glad you think so, thanks for the comment! :)
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:iconkarrarasim:
Karrarasim Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014
Nod :) (Smile) 
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:iconcagekuro:
CageKuro Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014
I don't have an oil water tool... is there another tool that is also good for blending?
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014
Here are my settings for oil-water and my other brushes :)

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:iconcagekuro:
CageKuro Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014
Thank you so much! (^_^) Your tutorial is awesome by the way!
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:iconoreimoo:
oreimoo Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Can you give line art or project files, for me practice
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:iconbluesea88:
bluesea88 Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2013
luv the tutorial tyy!! :iconbunnyloveplz:

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:iconshanyume:
Shanyume Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You have such a beautiful coloring style.
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:iconkokoya1223:
Kokoya1223 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I don't seem to have the Fringe effect... is there any other brush that is similar? (I probably have a different English Sai)
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013
oops I meant effect > fringe XD
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:iconkokoya1223:
Kokoya1223 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Whoops! I was going over to the brush effects, not the layer //shot

Thanks!
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013
Be sure to check under "paints effect" usually found under the navigation box. Then go to texture > fringe. I think all SAI have it!
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:iconflorineil-chan:
Florineil-chan Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013
omigod, i love this tutorial, thank you <3  I've always been wondering how to select the lineart the easiest way and you answered it, really thank you for this :iconcraiplz:
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:iconsunflorii:
Sunflorii Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013
I'm so glad it helped <3!!
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:iconburlew:
Burlew Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, thanks for the great tutorial. :squee: I love your oil water tool!
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