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Sandy Colors Triad

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Try gold first, Meg. I found it more friendly than trying to paint steel. In the French style, they often paint NMM for the gold and use metallics for steel and similar surfaces.


John: How did you get your pallet for NMM? Sounds similar to the VMC NMM recipies I got from a friend a long time ago, but with RMS instead.

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Heh, well, my pallet's always changing for gold NMM, as I'm never happy. It evolved over time, mainly as Anne finally got around to releasing some decent colors (I can feel the impending BONK! already). I started out with Muddy Brown, Mahogany, Chesnut Gold, Palomino, Buckskin Pale, Linen White, then Pure White. When the Green Ochres came out I started mixing them in as well, and while Mahogany is still used a bit I tried out various reddish browns as well. It wasn't until the Sandy color triad came out that I started using them in place of Buckskin. Oh, and Blackened Brown replaced Muddy at times in what I did when I wanted a shinier gold, and therefore needed a darker dark.


So far I've found if I alternate "pure" browns/ochres with reddish colors it seems to work better for me. My latest batch on Alvhaera was Blackened Brown, Ruddy Leather, Uniform Brown, 50/50 Palomino Gold/Green Ochre, Saffron Sunset, Sandy Yellow, Linen White, and Pure White.


A lot of the building of the palette came from squeezing the head of the painters at Cons and reading what other people used and trying it out on a lark. Anne's pretty good at getting ballparks of what people might have used for their NMM recipes, so if I see a gold I like I try to duplicate it with the colors I have. I just wish Gold was as uncomplicated to paint as Steel ::D:.

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Actually, I find steel easier to do, as it's a straight progression across one range of colors. Gold's a bit harder, as it goes through several different colors.


When I do steel, I usually use Grey Liner as the dark and highlight up with Ghost White with Pure White on the top. Now that there's a bluish grey triad (Stormcover, Coldstone, and Icy) I'm not going through those so quick. I usually do my steel NMM last, as I can blow through it fairly quickly (though my Avatar of Aurelius took me a bit). My Elf Druidess was a quicky eBay piece; she's sitting in a collector's home at the moment.


As far as correct NMM, it depends on a lot of factors. The main one is exactly how shiny you want your metallics to look; you can have the uber-reflective chrome, or a subdued burnished look. With the Chrome, you'll have definite lines where it shows the horizon point; with burnished you'll have more of a generalized progression of colors.


The key to making anything look metallic is under-reflection. There's a lot of light reflected by the ground; general observation'll show this. Painting in that bit of reflection is one of the ways to make your surface look reflective. If you're not sure where to place them, put your mini directly under a bright light source, then take a paper plate and hold it underneath the mini. By moving it back and forth you should see the areas where the parts angled towards the ground are reflecting light. All you have to do then (makes it sound simple, eh?) is paint in those highlights. You can see it a bit on Alvha's breastplate. The big thing to remember is an under-reflection will never be as bright as the reflection of the sun (or whatever you're using for your overhead light), so if you're using Pure White for your brightest spot highlights use Linen, Ghost, or Leather White for your brightest spot on your under-reflection (or possibly even a darker shade).


So, for Rasia, I would put in under-reflections on her breastplate, on any metal that curves and would reflect the ground (underneath the right calf on the back, the curve of the chestpiece that's lowest to the ground, the underside of a metallic edge low to the ground). Even a more generalized burnished metal will still have that effect.


Another trick is to think of painting metallics (like painting anything, really) as breaking the mini down into simple shapes; spheres, cylinders, or flat planes. Seeing how light reacts around a metal cylinder is easy; go grab a can of coke and look at how it reflects. Spheres are a bit harder to come by, but planes should be pretty easy.


If you want really reflective metal, figure out where your horizon line is going to be, and put your darkest shadow color right below your brightest highlight. A harsh, pure line is what you're after, no blending required. From there, you can blend your bright horizon line upwards in direction to your midtone and then back up to your brightest highlight for the direct vertical. On the lower half, blend from the line of your darkest shadow down to your midtone and quickly up to your under-reflection (the Avatar of Aurelius I painted up shows that a bit better than Alvhaera).


If you want a more burnished metal, you still want your brightest highlights in the same place, but your blending will change. Instead of putting your darkest shadow directly underneath your horizon line you're going to blend from that bright horizon down to the darkest shadow and then back up to the under-reflection at the lowest point. Similarly, on the upper side, you're going to blend from that bright horizon line to your midtone and then back up to your brightest point.


Keep in mind that 1) these are general guidelines and not hard and fast rules, 2) I'm still learning it myself, and 3) to never be afraid to experiment. If you have anything metallic lying around (a ring, vegetable can, the chrome bumper of the guy in front of you at the traffic light) you can stop, study it, see what the light's doing to it, and try to extrapolate that onto a mini.


So, back to Melanie (sorry for the thread-bouncing) I use a really dark highlight for gold as it has a lot of reflectiveness to it, though I usually go a bit too warm for a true gold. I used to use Muddy Brown as the darkest, but I liked the upped contrast with the Blackened Brown.

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