I'm pretty sure the method I'm using is fairly common but I've searched like 50 different ways of asking this question and no one seems to have ever had the same issue.

I have a b&w image that I'm trying to colour in PS. The common way to go is to set the layer to multiply and start colouring away. It's always worked until today when of course I have to colour like 50 images in like 2 days for work. No one here knows what the hell is going on and I'm stuck desperately picking through the web with all the answers being for some other super specific issue that has nothing to do with what I'm looking for.

Has anyone had this issue???

a busy cat


It's hard to tell from the image, but it looks like you're coloring on the layer on top of the b & w artwork. I'd put the put the line art above (set to multiply) then color on the layer below.

  • 1
    Thanks if you look at the layer palette I was colouring on the line art layer that was set to multiply which has usually worked. I just did a similar project a couple weeks ago where I was working with a purely line art/transparent layer (not b&w like this image) and I just painted right on the line art layer set to multiply and the line art was preserved. Anyway painting on the layer under seems to do the trick so I guess I'll continue that way from now on. Thanks again. – Natasha Phillips Oct 18 '16 at 13:52
  • Just also got another answer at a different forum and decided to post in case anyone else had this "issue". It's not an issue I just forgot that if working directly on a line art layer, you have to have your BRUSH set to multiply in order to paint "under" the lines not the layer. If you want to work on a separate layer, then obviously set the layer to multiply. Thanks! – Natasha Phillips Oct 18 '16 at 14:04
  • It's a good idea to paint on the layer that doesn't contain the line art. There are a lot of reasons, but a couple are: * If the line art changes, you don't have to worry about the painting * It's easier to fix mistakes with your painting layer as well * If it's getting printed, line art prints better at a higher resolution (600+ dpi) than the color. So it's a good idea to place a hi resolution version of the art over lower resolution color. Good luck with your project! – ira f cummings Oct 19 '16 at 18:49

Looks like the colour that you have added is on the same layer as the image to be coloured (as far as I can see from the low res screenshot). The colour needs to be on a separate layer and whichever layer is on top should be set to multiply.


You can do this in 2 different ways:

  1. with a new layer over the drawing layer set as multiply and paint on it so it showed the drawing lines underneath.
  2. Set a new layer without colour (transparent) under the drawing layer Then set the drawing layer as multiply mode.

The trouble with using a brush with multiply mode is that the multiply blending mode only applies to the brush so the behaviour does not relate to the other layers but only the one you are working on. So basically every stroke you make on that layer will blend as multiply. And you end up with overlaps.

example of using brush with multiply on a different layer. You cant see the lines of the drawing and you get overlaps.


Using the brush with multiply directly over the drawing layer :

you will be able to keep the lines of the drawing but the different brush strokes will blend as multiply so you will end up with overlaps again. Also you will have trouble correcting it because if you erase the colour you will of course erase the drawing because they are all in the same layer


(I painted outside the lines so it would look more evident see how the orange becomes more red when I make another stroke over?)

Final advice is: Use the drawing as a multiply layer and organize your colours by layers begining with a background layer at the bottom and working out all the different depths of colours as you go along. Again that will make it easier to work the colours isolated and and correcting the edges as freely as you want and with no blending modes changing the colours as you paint over.



I was colouring on the line art layer that was set to multiply

You say you are painting AT the lineart layer? like, in the exact same layer? if so, you must set your brush to multiply instead of your layer.

Although this is not recommended since any changes to the original lineart layer are rendered irreversible after many changes are done. and because overlaping brushtrokes will multiply with themselves as well.

Paint at a layer above it and set to multiply. or paint at a layer below it and set the lineart as multiply.

  • wouldnt multiplying colors multiply themselves if put above? – Micalatéia Oct 28 '16 at 16:33
  • 1
    not if you isolate them inside a group and set the group as the multiplier – Lucas Flicky Oct 28 '16 at 16:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.