+ inload: Truescale Terminators +

+ What's on the desk? +

+ The Endworlds +

'What did you do?!'

+ Pictured here are Emblem, a whole pile of bits, and Musterion Dorius Brinn, a Rift Team commander (Musterion is a sort of low-ranking Gnostic) clad in one of the Gatebreakers' exceedingly scarce and much-patched Terminator suits. +

+ Brinn is a very kind gift from Kordhal, my fellow traveller on this journey to the distant edge of the galaxy – cheers chum! More on this large Rift Team Lieutenant in a separate inload – and more from Kordhal soon, as he's brewing a [guestpostinload] on his stunning Necrons. I for one can't wait! +


+ Alien Wars: Blood Angels +

+ Theoretical: Shading +

+ More painting on the Terminators of Squad Redepemptor last night. I blocked in the tabards, then laid in the shading on the remaining members. The shading is a very fluid mix of sepia ink; Xereus Purple (the new Liche Purple); flow improver and water. I vary this with Skrag brown(?), which is slightly red-tinged, and helps it stop the shading being too blue. This is washed over a relatively small area – a limb, say. Working quickly, I rinse my brush, dry it, and use the dry bristles to lift off still-wet paint from raised areas. It's a very rewarding process, as you can see the smooth highlights forming. +

+ The pict-captures above and below show the Terminators at this stage. The mix of ink and paint helps keep it fluid long enough to lift off smoothly, while the flow improver ensures brush strokes aren't left as you apply it, and also helps the wet paint left after lifting off to smoothly blend in. This means you avoid a hard transitional mark. +

+ If you try this, do stick to small discrete areas – if left for too long, it won't lift away, and you'll end up with staining. That's not inherently a problem – indeed, the gradients of tone you can create rely on more or less of the mixture remaining in place – but it's best to give yourself a shot at control. +


+ Theoretical: Highlighting +

+ The shading gives some depth and sense of form, but as you can see above, they still look a bit soft and lumpen. The purpose of highlighting is two-fold. Firstly, it creates tonal contrast – the difference between light and dark – which creates impact by being eye-catching. Secondly, it creates structure, by further drawing attention to the form. +

+ Tonal contrast is the single most important thing about creating impact. Whatever your style, approach or medium, if you want an arresting model, you'll need to create tonal contrast. The greater the difference between the darkest shades and the lightest tints, the greater the contrast and greater the impact. +

With a mid-key model like this, we have access to the full gamut of tone: pure black to pure white, and the challenge is to ensure that the transition from one to another is not too stark. A bright white mark on a black surface contrasts so much that the effect is jarring – this is part of the reason that black or white schemes (Black Legion, White Scars etc.) are traditionally seen as challenging. Better to build up the highlights gradually, working from the midtone up to the brightest highlight. For this, I mix Vallejo Flat red (the same paint used for the initial red) with a bright yellow (Flash Gitz yellow could work) and a little white, to create a pink-tinged cream. +

+ This is applied sparingly to the areas catching the light, then diluted slightly with flow improver and more red added. This darker highlight is then used to paint the edges out of the light – this represents reflected secondary light bouncing back onto the model from the (imaginary) surroundings. This gives the miniatures the illusion of size. +

+ For an example of the difference between primary highlights (where light is falling directly onto the figure from the light source) and secondary highlights (where the light is bouncing onto the figure from its surroundings), look at the front leg of the sergeant below. The greave (shin armour) has a bright, primary highlight running down the centre, while the bottom of the greave (the curved area just above the foot) has a fainter, secondary highlight. +

+ By applying the highlighting marks neatly, you start to suggest that the model has edges – which is what I mean by creating a sense of structure. By then overlaying the highlights with a still-lighter tint, you really push this impression, and suggest a crisp, fine area that is catching the light. It's important to overlay only part of the previous primary highlights: by partially covering them, you build on the visual transition, and prevent that super-stark, jarring impression of jumping too far along the tonal scale. For this reason, I don't go to pure white with these models, instead adding a dab of yellow to white to slightly knock it back. Pure white is reserved for the really critical details, like eye lenses or jewel highlights. The primary highlight on the sergeant's greave shows what I mean: the top bit, near the knee, flares outwards, and so throws that bit into shade. The highlight is thus less obvious at the top of the greave than further down. Close study of the form of the figure will help. +

+ Note also that the secondary highlights aren't pushed as far as the primary ones. They're not made too crisp. This is because adding too much structure here dilutes the effect, distracting the eye with too much information. Secondary light is softer and more diffused by its nature, so when building structure with it, it pays to be subtle. +


+ I hope to polish these off tonight – not a great deal more to do. +

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