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Secret Sophie 2017: Rasia, Bladedancer (02970)

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I like the way yours turned out.  Your assessments are pretty spot on with the gold.  I have mine here I entered in Rcon '16 that I use as a reference.  You gold is highlited pretty well and reads nicely as gold.  Bikini Top I wanted to create a bit more of a shiney feel for it, so I put a darker color immediately under the highest point (pseudo SENMM).  

 

Now for the sword, your highlight placement is pretty much where I put mine.  I think the big thing you missing is the mid-tones.  You go to quickly to the dark color is the best way I can describe it.  Now I'm not the best at NMM or describing how I do things.  So if you need anything explained better feel free to ask.::):

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Looks really good!

 

Regarding the placement of the steel highlights (and with full disclosure that my NMM results are much worse than what you did, so anything that I say about it should be taken with some skepticism), this video is the best explanation that I've come across for NMM highlighting logic: link.  Applying it to your mini, I think the sword blades would work like flat panels, so that would mean having a bright highlight near the bottom tip of the left-hand sword and bottom edge of the right-hand sword where it's sticking out past her left hip.  Adding some highlights on the edges might also help with making them more visible (similar to the concept of using highlight/shadow contrast to add emphasis to armor panels as described in this video), but if you were to do that, I'd keep it to just one edge at the top and one edge at the bottom of each blade so that it gives some illusion of coming to a sharp cutting edge (i.e. I think that having that contrast on all of the edges would emphasize that it's got a rectangular cross-section :lol:).

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She looks great!  I love your high-contrast work, as always, and I think the whole piece is just excellent!!!  I'm especially jealous of your work on her hair!

 

As far as the NMM sword goes, my main suggestion would be that you should try treating the cutting edge of the blade as a different surface from the sides of the blade.  In other words, you painted the sword as if it had a triangle cross-section (two sides and a back) while I would suggest looking at it more like a very elongated pentagon (a back, two broad sides, and two small cutting sides).  That would allow you to make the streaks of reflected light show up in slightly different locations between the cutting edge and the sides of the blade (because the blade is slightly curved), and that would sell the overall shape of the blade better, I think.  Alternatively, you can often use the whole cutting edge as a glint surface with good results.  But that is all just my two cents, and the blade really does look quite good as is!  ::):

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Looks fantastic!

 

The NMM may be off a little bit but I think that it still looks cool anyways!  I am going to try some NMM on a few cheap Orc I got from the Bay recently but not sure how it will go.  My biggest hangup right now, like you, is where to place the highlights.

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