A back of the envelope character sketch from behind the scenes on The Lego Movie. It’s still disputed whether Lego Paradisa & Tracey made into the final cut, or whether they were ever modeled as CG minifigures at all. Guess we’ll have to wait until the Blu-Ray release to pause the crowd scenes and try to catch a glimpse of the star-crossed stars of Nymphonomena possibly making their first animated cameo.
Stuart St Samuels
@mjhmacneill answered: alright—- what’s trapping?
OK, man, Tumblr won’t let me answer you on my post because of whatever arbitrary Tumblr rules about keeping communication to a minimum, but here comes my long ass answer. So long you can see why I didn’t get into it in the other post, but hopefully not so long that you don’t want to read it. Also I hope (and I think?) that that @ will make you see this, cause this is all for you, buddy.
Trapping is a printing term that I’d probably mangle the true definition of, but is basically accounting for printing errors. Particularly bad registration, which is when one or more of the 4 process colors are printed out of position. When coloring comics, it’s important to color under the black lines. So, for example, if in Photoshop you just paint bucket the white areas of your line art, you’re only coloring between the black lines. The color needs to go under because if it doesn’t, and the black is printed even just slightly off, you’ll see a flash of white paper between the color and the line. Which looks awful. So! We color under, and that, actually, is the trapping.
But! there’s a second part here. And this is how we use (probably misuse) the term in comics. When said color is under said black, you can still see the color through the black. Those big ovoid shapes you can make out in the black areas of old comics is what I’m talking about. Nowadays, a comics colorist will add a layer between the color and the line art which we generally call the Trapping. It’s a copy of the line art which covers those sort of areas, and also makes for a richer, darker black. Some places use a mix of cyan, magenta and yellow to make a gray under the black. Cheeper places just use 50% cyan, like in my Action in the previous post. But, just like we get into trouble by not coloring under the black, we’d get into trouble if this layer were exactly the same as the black. If the black is slightly off, we’ll get, say, a 50% cyan halo around the line art. Soooooo the bonus line art needs a few pixels shaved off the edges. It’s easy to do in Photoshop by first selecting your line art with the magic wand, then going to Select>Modify>Contract and entering a number of pixels somewhere around 3.
I think shaving those pixels is what a printer would call trapping, but a cartoonist doesn’t need to think as hard as a printer, and so we just go around calling this layer we create, for some reason we don’t understand, The Trapping. Hope that makes some sense. Seriously open to answering any other questions.
This is how I add washes or watercolor to drawings for print.
I use a Photoshop Action to select my line art, reduce the selection by a few pixels, and fill the selection with 50% cyan on a new layer. It’s the same action I use to make trapping. If you don’t know what I mean by that, just ask me and I’ll tell you. Anyhow, I print that new, blue art on watercolor paper, and then go to town on it!
Then I scan it, make any adjustments, print it, love it. I thin the lines first (with that Phoshop action) so that it’s easier to get the blue back under the black line art without needing to be absolutely positively precise. I put the two arts together with InDesign, not Photoshop. This involves using two files: a sharp 1200 ppi bitmap line art file on top of a little 400 ppi wash file. It saves my ass on file sizes (crucial, since digital delivery is the only way these things are done anymore), gives me the best of both worlds, and makes a lovely print. Any qvestions?