+ inload: Using hue and temperature

 + Full Stride: creating a path around your model  +

'I spent a mortal lifetime searching for what was good. I beheld then Titans; and ever after have searched for what is right.'

Aphorisms, Polyphy


+ Painting weathered white +

+ The Sons of the Temple, my Titan Legion, have orange and white heraldry, so finding a way to quickly and effectively paint large panels was key. Below you'll see a composite picture of how I tackle this. While it's demonstrated on white, the colour is largely irrelevant; as the same mix and technique is used for the orange and blue panels, too. This is important in terms of harmonising the scheme. +

+ To give the sense of scale, colours must be ever so slightly desaturated; and tonal contrast slightly reduced. Aerial, or atmospheric, perspective is the term for the effect that makes distant objects look increasingly blue and less vibrant than closer ones (owing to dust and light scattering). This technique makes blacks ever so slightly lighter, and whites slightly darker, while also merging the tones across the whole model. The intent is to mimic the effects of atmospheric perspective. +

+ The main image is the finished result, the top row the various stages. 

i_ I start by painting a flat, clean surface of Army Painter's Mummy Robes. This colour covers well, so two thin layers usually gets the result you want. If you are including any freehand (such as the heraldic fur markings visible in the finished pictcapture here), paint this on now. 

ii_ Next, we mix sepia ink (I use Daler Rowney's calligraphy ink, as it has a convenient dropper) with brown paint – I used Dryad Bark for this example. THis is then thinned down with a little clean water, a little flow enhancer (a colourless medium that breaks the surface tension of the paint), and granulation medium (which encourages the pigments in the paint to clump together, creating a gritty visual texture without physical depth). This is applied with a 12mm (½in) flat brush in vertical strokes, working down from the top of the area. 

There's no magic consistency or proportions of these components; indeed, I think it's best to vary it, as it leads to more naturalistic, realistic results. Having said that, you want to find a balance that ensures it's fluid enough to be lifted off by a dry brush, and thick enough to stay in the recesses. 

iii_ Working quickly, for the paint must still be wet for this stage to work, rinse the brush and dry it on kitchen paper. It doesn't need to be bone-dry, but take off as much water as you can. (You might instead keep a separate brush for this, but I find it more enjoyable to use one rather than stopping and swapping all the time). Using the dry brush, repeat the downard strokes slowly, allowing the paint mix to be drawn up into the dry hairs of the brush through capillary action. This is called 'lifting off'.

iv_ Allow to dry completely. This is shown in the top centre of the picture above. You can see how the granulation fluid has caused the paint to, well, granulate. It's a simple way to build very fine texture that, again, helps to suggest the colossal scale.

v_ Repeat steps ii_ and iii_ until you are happy with the result. As per my note on consistency, there's no real 'right' way of doing things – just make sure that you stop before you go too far. You can always add another layer later, but it's a [SCRAPSHUNTERRORABORT] to remove. +


+ Dread Hellespontion +

+ We last saw this Engine in my review of the Nemesis Warbringer Titan kit [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], and the poor fella has rather slipped through the net on painting updates. I think I got enthused by Blood Angels and Gatebreakers at the time, so never posted him up. +

+ He is, however, well on his way to completion. He's also a good example of how the weathering technique above works across a whole titan. You can see some blue and white panels here alongside the orange; and different iterations of the same mix have been applied across all without discrimination. +

+ Two particular things to note – not every armour panel has been treated, and the metals are not touched with this. As an example of the former point, the knee and lower leg on the left of the pict-capture above are the plain base coat. This gives me the freedom to add freehand to these areas later, once I can see how the overall structure looks. Assessing and adjusting is something that I like to do while I work, as it keeps my mind active and involved, creating interest and stopping it becoming a chore. +

+ Secondly, leaving some areas clean means that I can build and layer the existing panels later, creating natural variance in the finish. Titans are both vast and religiously important to the techpriesthood, so cleaning and maintaining them is not just a case of getting the garden hose out. I reason that the enginseers might occasionally replace entire panels of armour, leaving some (temporarily) pristine, while others are repaired and made good. Over the years, these much-repaired panels would build up a particular patina and distinctive quality. Who knows? Perhaps some Legios allow individual Titan crews some leverage in deciding whether and how to make sure their charges are maintained – making the decision of whether to repair or replace areas a balance akin to the preservation and modernisation of mediaeval churches. +

+ Variety and difference in the quality of the glazes and layers helps to suggest this effect, but it's important that it appears intentional. To that end, I suggest building two or three broad finishes to ensure some cohesiveness, rather than painting every panel in a completely different way. +

+ Returning to the point about the metals, they are not touched with this layer; they will be done later, at a separate stage. The intent is that it helps with the differentiation between armour and superstructure, preventing eveything blurring into one. +

+ Another angle. Note that the model at this stage looks quite murky and muddy, so some contrast is needed to help add some pop. How do we do that? Let's read on. +


+ Giant laser guns +

+ Speaking of visual pop, how's this for contrast?

+ It's a bit of a PCRC in-joke that my models all look like they've been dragged through a muddy puddle. That goes doubly for the Titans, as I can't push the contrast in areas as far as I normally would – for fear of losing the sense of distance and scale created by the atmospheric recession. +

+ I'm not normally one for special effects on figures; I like a heavy dose of verisimilitude to offset the inherently fantastical nature of space knights and aliens. Typically, therefore, I would treat Titan weapons as properly encased, looking to create something that looks like a naval gun; but I'm not completely averse to the sparing use of visuals like this – it does, after all, look cool!+

+ My solution to the problem of the models looking boring was thus to bring in the SFX team. Not being tech-savvy enough to make use of Bob Hunk's awesome LED tutorials [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] – yet – I opted to use paint to create some much-needed visual contrast. Aerial recession is less noticeable on light-emitting objects, so opting to give a bit of weapons glow to the models helps bring back eye-catching interest. It's a very simple process: base paint the areas white, then gloop on the new Contrast paint. Once dry, use slightly thinned white to emphasise the effect slightly. +

Pow! Pop! KAZAM! etc. etc.

+ Choosing accent colours for impact +

+ More important than the technique is the colour choice. The lasers here could have been any hue, but using blue is particularly vibrant because it's the complementary colour to orange. When complementary colours are placed alongside each other, they each make the other appear brighter and more vibrant because each stimulates different photoreceptors in the eye. +

+ If you're unsure of a colour's complementary, a quick way to check is by staring at the colour under a bright light for thirty seconds or so; then quickly looking at a white wall. You'll get an afterimage in the colour's complementary. This is because the photoreceptors of the colour are temporarily bleached through stimulation, causing the optical illusion that the white wall is stripped of that colour, leaving the brain to assume the complementary is present. +

+ The importance of hue and temperature +

+ The use of your own eye is a useful technique because bald colour theory often neglects the precise hue of a paint. While it's true that orange is opposite blue in the colour wheel, there are lots of different oranges – some leaning more towards the red, others more to yellow – and lots of different blues, which likewise can err towards red or to yellow. If both the paints you pick lean towards red (for example), you'll be slightly harmonising the effect, which isn't what you want. Instead, you want to maximise contrast. This quality of colour – the precise blueness of a blue, for example – is 'hue'. +

+ Colour temperature is another way of creating contrast. As mentioned above, aerial recession makes colours appear increasingly grey-blue in the distance, which makes them appear cool. Some hues are naturally cooler than others. Duck egg blue, for example, is a yellow-tinged cool blue; while French ultramarine is red-tinged and warm. If your main colour is cool, you can use a warm accent for greater contrast and impact. +

+ For the Sons of the Temple, who have an overall warm scheme, I used cool blue for the lasers. As you can see, the effect is striking; preventing the force from looking realistically murky – but also a bit boring. This will also have a nice in-game effect, making things easier to distinguish for the players. My plan is to extend to idea to other weapon systems, using purple or green for plasma weaponry, and red for future volkite upgrades. +


+ Summary +

+ A last little shot of the force as it currently stands; and a close-up of 'Old Spiteful', Senex Codomannus. With his trim completed – in warm gold, he shows what a difference that punch of ice-blue makes to the finished result. Compare the similarities and differences of the blues hues across the model:, and the effects that has on how the eye works across the figure: from the immediate focus of the laser, then to the cool blue focal point on the carapace, and finally to the warm harmonising deep blue on the knee and lower leg. +

+ Be as generous as you can to your viewer: use hue and temperature to guide their eye around your model, and they'll spend longer looking. We spend a lot of time on our models; and a bit of theory can really help – whether your aim is painting for competitions, or simply to make get results for your own pleasure. +


  1. Fantastic, insightful post, thank you for explaining it all, seriously. Impressive work, thanks for the tips and the time to explain everything.

    1. Well, if you're kind enough to look at the pictures, I think it's the least I can do to make the accompanying text as interesting as possible! Thanks for the kind words, and hope the ideas come in handy.

  2. This is a significant body of work. As you may know I've followed your narrative and your world for years, but you have recently crossed into another transformation altogether. Keep it up.

    1. That's awfully kind of you to say, thank you! Hope I can keep things up to standard :)


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