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Everything posted by Kheprera

  1. I will say this... I got a Michael's today some really cheap lichen in the area where they had a little Halloween village ... $1.99 !! SOOoooo much cheaper than Woodland Scenics !! More, too !! I also found some inexpensive fine-grain sand in the area where they sell colored sand. I picked up a large back of white sand for use on my Reaper Egyptian themed minis (mummies and Neferu). Plus, there are some small, glass, Mason-type jars with those wonderful locking lids. Price on the shelf said 99 cents. They rang up at 49 cents !! I'm going to use them to hold the sand and static grass I got. All told, I got four of the above jars, the sand, the lichen, and two packages of tacky-putty for just under $10. I love the holidaze !! :laugh:
  2. If this is caused by flash there is a very simple and inexpensive solution. Take a clean, white kleenix (non-lotion kind, don't want to grease up your camera) and fix it over your flash area. You can tape it if you have an imbedded flash (found on the upper right of your camera if you have a point and shoot style or above the lens) but be very careful you don't cover your lens or any other sensors. This will diffuse the light. If you have a seperate flash unit on your camera you can use the above method as well. However, if you have a single flash unit with a posable llight you can do what I do. Take a piece of foil (dull side down will diffuse the light even more than the shiney side, but you can try it both ways) and tape it to the top of your flash and point the flash upwards. Then angle the foil (oh so versatile stuff) and angle it to about a 45 degree angle towards the front. The light will reflect off the metal but not directly, thus giving you a more scattered area of illumination over the area. I actually use this a lot indoors when shooting people. If you're using indoor lights it gets a little more complicated. You can do the foil trick mentioned above if you have posable desklamps (like those with a gooseneck). Otherwise I advise shooting outside either early in the morning when there is little bright sun overhead or on an overcast day (when it's not raining, though). Overcast days are great because you don't get harsh shadows and glaring sunlight. If you can manage to shoot in a well lit area of diffuse daylight (maybe a covered porch) if you don't have an overcast day, that would work as well. The basic answer to this is yes. All rules of photography apply to everything. However, when shooting a single mini you don't typically have to worry so much about depth of field (as mentioned in my first post) as you do with a diorama. Sometimes shooting a diorama using depth of field to your advantage can do some really interesting effects (like focusing on the adventurers with a slightly fuzzy dragon in the background). Examples of depth of field (should have done this in the first post, but better late than never). Note, no, these aren't miniatures, but they do get the point across. :D Very Little Depth of Field : Here I focused on the flower and blurred out the background so the vibrancy of the flower stands out. Everything Crisp : Here I wanted the wonderful leaves to complement the flower as well as the small buds. Overexposure with Medium Depth of Field : Here the entire image was overexposed (this was shot on a cloudless day with brilliant sunlight if you can believe that) and the depth of field was moderate (an f8 iirc). Using overexposure can give a softness if the image is printed correctly. Notice the reflection of swan is as clear as the swan itself yet seems to lose some near the bottom. (This picture was a complete accident, btw. I was loading my camera, not even looking through the viewfinder or focusing, and it wasn't a self focusing camera). Good Exposure with Moderate Depth of Field : This is a regular good exposure,but notice the trees in the background (no, Texas isn't all desert and sand.. pretty much non-existance in the Austin area) are a little blurry, but you can still make out shadows and branches, while the old plow and saddle are crisp and clear. This was shot on an overcast day, but it was almost rainy conditions, and the film was a 50 ASA Agfacolor. Great film, but the colors can be so oversaturated that in certain conditions they can seem too glare-filled (such in the case of the white of the Mexican blanket and poncho). Hope that helps !! :D
  3. pallbearer, you rock. You have just explained why I have so many problems with spray primers. Hot temps and high humidity, even in the morning (sigh). Sometimes I hate Texas. Thus, I will continue with my brush-on primer in the meantime. Maybe I'll wait until December to try the spray-on again.
  4. Every artist has their own technique. I could call painting a chartreuse circle on a white canvas and calling that "art" cheating. I could call using a jet engine to splatter cans of paint on a canvas cheating. Yet, the two artists who do that (whether I like their stuff or not is besides the point) make lots of money and are quite successful. I use qtips on my pastels to blend the colors. Effects using that technique can be seen here: Lisa Artists, whether they use oils, pastels, pen, or pencil, or paint miniatures, will use whatever works for them to achieve an effect. It's not cheating, it's just the particular style of each and every artist.
  5. Not really. I haven't had much problem. There's always a huge debate on which is better, black or white. There are diehards for both. Some like grey. I like that rust colored Polly S. *shrug* It's all personal preference.
  6. I spray-primed outside, but in 90+ degrees 80+% humidity, I think it does something to the primer. I just can't get it to not look like I'm flocking a Christmas tree. Black spray primer (same brand) works fine, but not the white.
  7. Actually, I've always done eyes with toothpicks. ??? Toothpicks?? Yeah, little tiny pieces of wood with a really fine tip (finer than a Micron pen) lightly dipped in black. Works like a charm. Although I recently did buy a Micron black pen to see how it works. I also found another brand that has a lot more colors (available to me anyway) but I'm going to try them first before I give them any rave reviews.
  8. Yes it does. I had to strip some fully painted (nasty paint job) minis that were painting over 15 years ago and did it well. YAY !! Someone else who's in the same boat I am !! I still haven't gotten the knack of using this darn spray primer. Any tips on that people?
  9. How does one keep the paint wet long enough to work with it? That's my main problem with the blending.
  10. Just let it soak for a while first, until the paint starts to lift off. On the minis I stripped that had paint older than 6 years took several days to strip, while those more recently painted took less than a day.
  11. Pine Sol Simply Green Brake Fluid I use Pine Sol with a little bit of water added. It does a good job. Be warned using them on plastic, though. Don't want to end up with a gooey mess.
  12. I think what we're asking for is those sets put out by Grenadier so many ages ago... Encounter at Darkwood... Dungeon Dwellers... Adventurers... Fighting Men... Clerics and Wizards... I got a lot of them, in fact. I loved them, especially Garrity's female adventurers (two sets of those :D ) We'd love to see more sets. Those were so cool.
  13. I'd love to see some progression mini's for all character types.. young to adult to mature... all representative of the character at a more advanced level.
  14. I've been out of mini painting for about 6 or so years and have only recently started to rebuild my paints, brushes, etc. I've got some good brushes, Reaper paints, and have been using an old but still good Polly S rust colored brush on primer I've always used. I've tried spray primers, but living in a hot and high-humidity area, most times I can't get them to come out right (just tried a white Armoury the other day and it came out looking like Christmas flocking ) It's flat and not gloss at all, but I've never, ever done washes or inks before in my painting, so I'm really a beginner when it comes to that. As for the wet highlighting... the paint dries WAY too fast for me to do any kind of wetwork.
  15. Nah, go on. Post 'em. Just so I can strip the paint off more minis and start over again !! :D
  16. I've used black with some success. I've used brush-on white with limited success. The spray-on white just looked like Christmas Tree flocking. :( I've mostly used a brush on, red-brown-rust colored primer by Polly S. I've had really good results from it. In fact I'm currently painting the Neferu (#2485) and started with Reaper Chestnut Brown on the skin. It works well in keeping the skin tone while my whites and blues that I've used (so far) are still bright. I just can't seem to get the shading/washing thing down. Also, if you look at the mini, underneath the skirt is a royal pain. Since it's under shadow I'm trying to use darker greys in that area, but.. *grumbles* I think I need to move to another mini for now.
  17. Oooooh, good idea. What a better use for it?? I can't think of one. Except for terrain and ruins...
  18. Those are nicely done, but I just don't care for purple on a drow. Purple is for worms, mindflayers, and dragons IMO :D
  19. Drow are listed as having obsidian black skin, but people paint them in a variety of ways. Some (and this is my preferred method) use a black with vary shades of grey for shading, ending in a pale grey for highlights. Some use blues instead of greys. Some use brown instead of black with lighter brown highlights. And I've seen some use purples. It's really personal preference, in the end.
  20. Glad I could be of help. I've been going through the coolmini website page by page of the mini's posted and have been taking mental notes of what are the most common errors. Seems to me that a lot of people expect those who paint mini's to be professional photographers as well in order to get a good ranking. Using a good photo editor helps also. I have both Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop, and utilize them both, often doing some work in one, saving it as a .tiff, and then doing more work on it in another to make it it looks as close to the original as possible. One other thing. For those who use film. When you drop your film off to be processed, mark on the envelope "Print for Subject." Don't let those (mostly) moronic one-hour lab people in a grocery/pharmacy tell you a picture cannot be printed darker or lighter. I worked as a lab manager for six years and we processed a lot of film for wedding professionals and dentists and did all sorts of tweaking, which is also where I learned a lot of my trade (that and having started in photography when I was 13). And make sure you get your negatives. I had a friend who didn't get their negatives back and the lab had the gall to tell them that the negatives weren't their property. Anything else I can clarify?
  21. One other thing... using a bright colored background such as blue, yellow, red, or green can also cause film (this is for those who use film) to pick up too much. I've also noticed, with digital cameras as well, that often people will use a black background on a darkly shaded figure. My advice is to use either a neutral grey (which gives a good contrast to both darks and lights) or a light grey or white. This way your colors won't turn out too weird and the edges of your minis don't blend into the background. For those shooting film, you can go to your local camera store and pick up a "grey card." Normally it's an 18% grey card that is used by professionals so that when the film is developed all the pictures on that roll will have identical exposure and color balance. If you use that as your background, you'd basically be doing the same thing as the pros, and your pics will look all the better for it. :D
  22. We've all had this problem. You're shooting a mini and while the front is clear, the back is fuzzy, or the back is clear, and the front is fuzzy. What's going on? Depth of Field. The number one rule is: The smaller your lens apeture, the greater your depth of field. "What's that mean?" ??? On a lot of SLR and high end digital cameras you'll see what's called the "Apeture ring"... also know as the "f-stop". These are a series of numbers from 22, 16, 11, 8, 5.6, 4, 2.8, 2, and 1.4. Not all cameras cover these ranges, and not all cameras will show you what the f-stop is. The thing to remember is that the larger the number, the smaller the opening is, and the longer your shutter will be open (thus requiring the use of a tripod). It's always a good idea to have your camera stabilized in some way when shooting closeup work. For those of you who have a good digital or automatic camera with a macro setting, look in your manual for "depth of field." There should be some instructions on how you can work the depth of field on your particular camera. In this lesson I'm just teaching the basics so once you know you can find out how your own camera works. If you can't find anything on depth of field, let me know and I'll see what I can find out for you. Now, I've seen cameras that set their own shutter speeds and was able to work my depth of field simply by adjusting the f-stop. The more manual a camera is, the greater your abillity to take the picture you want. If you can't afford the price of an expensive digital camera with a macro lens, go for a regular SLR with a 28-80 zoom lens (this gives you a wide angle ability on the lower side) and either a macro ability, or get some closeup lenses (I've spoken about those on two other threads Here is one . The other pretty much says the exact same thing. For those of you with auto-focus you'll typically have a small circle or partial circle in the center of your lens. Is is the "focus spot." If you aim that at the portion you want most in focus and LIGHTLY press your shutter just until the lens focuses, you can keep it lightly pressed to that halfway mark, move the camera to where you want to frame the item, and then press the shutter the rest of the way to take a picture. This is called "locking the focus." Now, with the standard 35mm film-type SLR (single lens reflex) camera you do have to take your film and get it developed, but they do tend to be less expensive than a digital camera (I purchased a Nikon with auto-focus and manual focus abilities as well as macro, zoom, and wide angle on one lens for under $300). For those without digital cameras: Now, film speed. The higher the ASA, the larger the grain and the less detail will be in your photograph. For those using film for their mini's, I'd use a 400 speed film indoors and 50-200 speed outdoors. Most 50 speed films require a lot of light, however they have awesome color and the finest grain. You have to use this film outdoors in bright overcast or bright sunlight. Generally 100-400 speed films will get you by. Also, note, the higher the ASA, the greater the silver content of the film, and the more expensive they are. Also, the higher the ASA the more apt it is to capture the ambient surrounding light indoors, and I've seen it even amplify this ambient light to a point of it being near impossible to correct (as in the examples given Here . Hope that helps !!
  23. While at it you should add the corrections to use if the picture is being shot under incandescent or flourescent lighting. Generally you need to add blue if the picture is too yellow. I've found (in my 15+ years as a professional photographer and film developer) to add blue (take out yellow) and add a little cyan (take out red). This gives a more realistic "18% grey" coloration. For flourescent, which is more green with a touch of yellow or red, you need to remove green (add magenta) and I also add blue (remove yellow). There are differing styles of flourescents, and some I've had to finagle a large amount just to get the correct color. Now, I will say this. Changing the color can alter the darker contrast colors, especially if you have to do some major surgery to get your base colors correct. Here are some examples: Heavy incandescent light (note, the cat pic was also this color but I didn't save the original): Indoor lighting The corrected image: Corrected image Cat shot in same lighting: Corrected Cat You'll notice on the first corrected picture there is still a heavy yellow color in the background (white walls) while the highlights on the girl's face are blueish. Of course, I did this in a very short time just as an example. On the cat, it still seems to have an almost reddish cast to the picture, yet the shadows (especially seen beneath the chair in the top right) are green in color. I spent hours in correcting this picture trying to get it to look right for the owner. Try and use natural light whenever possible. Overcast days are best as you don't have the harsh shadows cast from the sun.
  24. I wanted to say a few things about editing pictures of your miniatures, did some research on the web, and decided to write an article on it which you can find at http://www.coolminiornot.com/go.php?go=articlephp&aid=88 There are other articles on photography on the same site, and I highly recommend the one on lighting by Honza, and the one by Chern Ann.
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