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Siticus the Ancient
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PostSubject: Re: Drug-Crazed Psychic Vampire Space Elves   Sat Jun 02 2018, 18:28

I truly get what you mean about the repeating Ossefactors - it's a super cool weapon, but the fact that every single Wrack in the world has the dinky little extra forearm when they pick the gun up, is a bit silly.

The oldschool Dire Avengers look spiffy, but the Scourge is especially smooth and lovely. 24 hours though? That's madness! I can barely devote more than 10 hours to a model without getting tired of it! What's your painting method? I assume it's some serious sequential layering with brush only, going by your hour estimates.

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Calyptra
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PostSubject: Re: Drug-Crazed Psychic Vampire Space Elves   Sat Jun 02 2018, 20:52

@Siticus the Ancient wrote:
I truly get what you mean about the repeating Ossefactors - it's a super cool weapon, but the fact that every single Wrack in the world has the dinky little extra forearm when they pick the gun up, is a bit silly.

The oldschool Dire Avengers look spiffy, but the Scourge is especially smooth and lovely. 24 hours though? That's madness! I can barely devote more than 10 hours to a model without getting tired of it! What's your painting method? I assume it's some serious sequential layering with brush only, going by your hour estimates.

For context, painting to this standard, I generally spend about 30 hours on a character, 10 hours on a trooper, 60 hours on a pain engine. Depending on the project I do sometimes impose limits on projects less dear to my heart in order to paint more quickly, such as no more than three layers of shading/highlighting, or using a single wash for the whole model. My Praetorian Guardsmen take only a couple hours apiece to paint. I still paint the eyes.

I have reasons for all this. I don't want to think, "This could look so much better if I'd just spent a little more time on it," every time I look at my model, but that's only part of it.

There's an experience to looking at other people's models. They look different from three feet away, so when they are compelling enough to invite you to pick one up for a closer look, it is a process of discovery. If a model is beautiful from three feet away but slap dash under closer inspection, I am disappointed. (And having seen that, you won't be able to unsee it when it's 3 feet away again.)

So if someone looks closely at one of my models, I want the experience of that to be rewarding. I think there's something wonderful, if you've come this far and actually looked, to tipping that Praetorian back and seeing that beneath the visor, the eyes were painted in. I think there's a joy in that.

Lots of people don't care about it at all, or as much, and that's fine. We're getting different things out of this hobby, and if someone else's fun couldn't care less about mold lines, their fun is not wrong.

But I get really excited about unique, well-painted models. (The day I saw someone playing a Carcharadons army, I think I may have literally jumped up and down.) In that this is a hobby about painting toy soldiers, I don't think I'm unique in that.

We shape the experience of the other people at the gaming table or club or store. It matters to me that the person playing against me has fun. And if they're so inclined and ask to look closer at my models, what they find there matters to me too.

Sorry, that was a bit more of a manifesto than I was planning to write.

I paint with traditional brush only. I almost never drybrush and I don't use waterslide transfers because I think I get better results without them. I think I also just feel better about painting freehand details than about just sticking on a decal.

Mostly I'm using washes for shading, and then layering on the highlights in thin applications of paint, typically in 4 or 5 steps. I do a lot of line highlighting, and in order to smooth the transition along the edge of the line, I layer them - so my nested line highlights will consist of a thick line, followed by a brighter, thinner line, followed by a really bright, really thin line, followed by a dot highlight on the pointy bits. I occasionally resort to two brush blending on large areas.

I seem to be shifting a bit from obsessively line highlighting everything to obsessively glazing things, particularly fleshtones. Glazing temperature variations in skin tones is probably not the most fun, but it might be the second most fun.

I want to experiment with painting in and layering in the shading, instead relying on washes or the absence of highlights, and see if anything exciting happens.

That's probably way more information than you actually wanted, but maybe someone will find it interesting.

TL;DR: Calyptra doesn't want people to feel disappointed when they look closely at his models, and paints everything the hard way.

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Siticus the Ancient
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PostSubject: Re: Drug-Crazed Psychic Vampire Space Elves   Sat Jun 02 2018, 22:35

Actually, you illustrated the thought process behind the long hours better than just running down your technique itself! That is great, as it is what I really wanted to know - I know exactly what you're saying about getting excited at great looking models and how others get so much enjoyment from it too. I am much in the same mindset, as to me 40k is in large part about just really cool models on the table. Even if the photos take away some of the model's detail (it is truly a struggle at getting the stupid electric eye to see things exactly like we do!), I can see there's tons of labor and love put into your models, with individual sigils on each patch of the haemonculus' coat to all the various shades of that very same skin coat.

I am glad that you touched upon glazing, as your earlier works definitely seem to be done in the more traditional base-wash-highlight way. I've spent several years painting mostly commissions and little of my own models, so my process has gone from the more time-intensive oldschool way to a bizarre mix of basecoating, then glazing them, sometimes even working up highlights in almost greyscale to near white, to then give them colour with glazes... Often enough it's near impossible to properly replicate the method I used to paint a model, simply because there was less method and more just wild experimentation!

I think that is what drove me to ask you about the long hours - I've been seeking the optimal way of delivering the maximum visual impact in the shortest possible time. This is honestly thanks to the Vallejo glaze medium that I've been able to save so much time. I could see me doing the wrack treatment to myself and attach several vials of the glaze medium to drip into my bloodstream, that's how much I love that thing. It's interesting to take my older models and compare them with the new and see how much more impact the new have than the old ones, despite me spending barely half the time on them. Most of the effect simply comes from maximizing contrast, but the difficult and time consuming thing is getting the transitions smooth - and that's where the glaze medium really works its magic.

To be fair, this is also because I'm a bit fickle when it comes to inspiration, and a perfectionist too if I let myself. I can have at least three to four ideas for various squads at once and by the time I'm done painting one squad, it is very likely I want to do something else entirely. I am never fully satisfied with my models, but I know there are days when I think they look real cool, while others where I think that no matter how great the paintjob, it's still terrible. So to me, the priority is simply finishing the models to a reasonable enough standard. I want to paint and repaint so much I simply realize I'd never do even one tenth of it all if I allowed my perfectionism to run rampant!

So, in summary, I am in agreement with you in that the spectacle of a grand and beautiful army is the most important to have a truly enjoyable game, and nothing warms my heart more than seeing people really enjoy to see great looking models.

You have a fantastic log here and your whole work must be even more spectacular in person. I share your struggle of the camera eating away some bit of the model's soul.

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yellabelly
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PostSubject: Re: Drug-Crazed Psychic Vampire Space Elves   Sun Jun 03 2018, 08:10

You're clearly a very good painter, your models look fantastic. That pain engine is something else though, what an absolute masterpiece. I'd love to know which colours you've worked into his flesh tones. I'm hoping to achieve that pale, green tinged flesh for my wracks.

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PostSubject: Re: Drug-Crazed Psychic Vampire Space Elves   Sun Jun 03 2018, 18:56

@ Siticus

Digital photography is the hobby I never wanted but is necessary for sharing the hobby I actually care about.

The Vallejo glaze medium is fantastic. Previously, I'd been using a thinned out mix of a number of Golden mediums and gels that I had sitting around, and it got the job done, but the Vallejo stuff is just better. (Using the product for its intended purpose probably has something to do with it.)

@ yellbelly

Thanks!

Pain engines are supposed to be unique creations, and my notes on how I paint unique things tend to be a bit vague, since I'm not expecting to have to replicate it precisely. Here's what I've got and what I remember.

All the paints I used are P3, while all the washes are from Vallejo.

The base coat was a mix of 1 part each Carnal Pink, Bastion Grey, and Morrow White. I was really pleased with this mix, because it was exactly the color I envisioned for them. Then I completely destroyed it by overdoing it with the washes. My notes say, "washed with various mixes of purple, red, and flesh; used some black, green, and sepia in the darker recesses."

(As an aside, Vallejo's sepia wash is wonderful.)

Ordinarily after I lay down a shading wash, I can block the base color back in and build up highlights from there. In this case, because I got carried away with the washes, I had to start with a darker mix than the original base coat when I began reestablishing the mid-tones. I don't have a recipe for it; my notes just say "lean in to the Bastion Grey." It might have been something like Carnal Pink (2)/Bastion Grey (4)/white (1). Whatever it was, I worked my way back up to the original mix, and then highlighted it up a couple steps by adding more white to the mix, stopping short of the highest highlights.

I think I painted in the veins next, just some squiggly blue lines on the arms in (I think) Cygnar Blue Highlight. I mostly hewed to anatomical placement (a Google image search should show you where), but took some aesthetic liberties; this is supposed to be an artificial creature created by aliens, after all.

After that is the fun part: temperature glazes! Living flesh has all sorts of colors in it, and those shifts will help give it a fleshier feel. Finding places to put warmer tones adjacent to cooler tones in particular will really make it come to life. Or possibly unlife, depending on the model.

(Just in case, "temperature" is defined as proximity to blue or orange on the color wheel.)

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about:



See all those blues and greens and purples and reds and oranges?

So the next step is to put the model aside and just mix paint for a while. I mixed 3 warm tones - dark, medium, and light - and 3 cool tones. The paints I used in them were Carnal Pink, Sanguine Highlight, Frostbite, Bastion Grey, and Greatcoat Grey. Then I painted those 6 colors in as small applications of glazes, making elbows warmer and shoulders cooler and so on. Glaze right over those squiggly vein lines, because you want them to look like they're below the surface of the skin.

Finally I finished the last few stages of highlights, again using glazes over the veins, using the original flesh color mixed almost to pure white, or either of the temperature mixes, as I felt like it.

Have fun with it! I hope that helps.

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yellabelly
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PostSubject: Re: Drug-Crazed Psychic Vampire Space Elves   Sun Jun 03 2018, 22:27

Wow thanks, that's an incredibly detailed reply, and an incredibly detailed process. No wonder the end result is so impressive. Thank you for taking the time to share all that information.

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