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03361: Dark Elf Queen


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Another great one, Derek! Quite sexy!

 

I do like the fact that you were addressing the "depth of field" (?) of the base by applying warmer tones on the front of the base vs. the back. Nice sublety there! It's up to you whether or not you want to correct it. At this level of the game, I'm sure you are your own toughest task master. Know what I mean?

 

That particular observation on your part about warm colors projecting and cool ones receeding got me wondering about your photography in general. Not that my figures are anywhere near yours in quality, but I haven't been pleased with my photography since I started posting my minis. Can you tell us quickly what camera and lense you are using?

 

Two more quick things:

 

1.) I do like the simple background of the darker, cool grey paper you're using. I was originally using a gradient blue background, but I think I'm going to switch to just some Canson paper similar to this. I think it helps the colors be more accurate.

 

2.) The single biggest thing to improve my photos happened when I bought CRE True-Daylight bulbs for lighting (at the suggestion of VikingLodge).

 

Discuss?

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My caption for this figure would be "Get over here and start grovelling!"     This is another one that I painted for Reaper to have, like the owl-shield paladin from a few months ago. She

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Glad you folks like her.

I think I'll draw a quick step-by-step in Photoshop of how I paint an eye. Should be able to post it tonight or tomorrow.

 

awong: The facial "bump" that I noticed in the camera turned out to be a dab of highlight paint where it didn't belong; it only looked like a bump catching the (actual) light. I erased it by glazing with the skin midtone. If I find an actual bump or speck after painting, I generally scrape it away with a very sharp knife (so sharp that it leaves a smooth surface, paint and all). My older figures had lots of fuzzy primer, thick paint, and mysterious specks; the smoothness of figures by Jen Haley, Marike Reimer, and other painters impressed yet puzzled me. Now I'm more careful to prime evenly, use thinner basecoats, and generally look out for surface anomalies. I haven't tried the "Milliput wash" that some painters use to smooth a figure before priming, but I have used the trick of using brush-on matte sealer after priming. (I think I got that from Marike.)

 

Sanael: The headdress is doing its job of drawing your eye to her head, then! :;): Thanks.

 

gowestover: The camera is a Canon Powershot S70, no special lenses, manual focus, no flash. My photo rig sits on my kitchen table. For backgrounds, I use Canson paper, either this dark blue or a dark gray, depending on which one I think makes the figure look better. I also include an index card on which I've painted 1cm swatches of strong colors, so Photoshop's "auto-level" function gives me a good first adjustment. I have two gooseneck desk lamps on the sides, and one drafting lamp above, all with daylight fluorescent bulbs and cheap white satin taped over the bulbs. I didn't make up any of this -- it's courtesy of Anne Foerster and whoever gave the photo seminar at ReaperCon a few years ago (was it Aryanun? sorry I've forgotten, and the 20-page PDF of notes doesn't have a credit!).

Here's what a photo looks like before I edit it -- well, I've edited this one for size...

post-2358-1247690489.jpg

 

fieldarchy: Exactly. My Dark Elf Sorcerer is one of the whipping-boys. :;):

 

Derek

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I also own a Canon Powershot camera and love it! I had a kodak before and my pictures came out really fuzzy. The Canon I have is wonderful! Really easy to use and does a lot of different things as well.

 

And it's not that expensive a camera.

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Here's a very quick graphic (using Photoshop) of the steps that I use to paint eyes.

 

post-2358-1247707555.jpg

 

1. Shade and highlight face.

2. Fill the eyes with Brown Liner. Extend the outer edge to simulate eyelashes on a female figure.

3. Paint in an off-white such as Fair Highlight, leaving a little dark ring around the new paint.

4. Paint the overall shape of the irises with Brown Liner. The figure doesn't have to be looking straight ahead.

5. Add a dash of color at the bottom of each iris.

6. Add the sparkly reflections with Pure White.

7. Paint the eyebrows.

 

The sketch shows only one eye, but I do each step on both eyes before going to the next step.

I often have to touch up between steps, especially to make the eyes symmetrical or to keep the white from Step 6 from being too big.

 

Hope this helps,

Derek

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Thank you very much. I've been doing some things similar, but I can not see where I go wrong. I really appreciate you putting this together. You should send this post in to Kit and have him add it to The Craft so it doesn't get buried in Show Off.

 

I have a Canon Powershot as well. I haven't found a better camera for macros without spending a lot more money. Thanks for the photo color card tip as well. I'll be using that in the future.

 

Andy

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Awesome! Thanks for that quick little tut, Derek. I can only say that I'd like to live in that beautiful land called "Theory" where everything works so well and easily.

 

Now, I can't recall if I've seen a Garrity sculpt with your paint on it...how does your technique change if the eyes are the size of the point of a pin? :devil:

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Derek,

 

Thanks for the information!

 

I'll have to check out the Canons and their prices. Several years ago, I bought a Canon Powershot G2 second-hand, and it's been a good camera, but for close detail work such as this, it just doesn't cut the mustard. I was finding my photos of minis lacking in strong, crisp detail. I have a friend who is an excellent photographer who confirmed that moderately better lenses than what I currently have would improve this quality issue. Knowing what camera you use will give me a good baseline\point of reference.

 

The cardstock for auto-leveling in interesting. I'll have to check that out and give it a try.

 

Seeing the photo you posted above - where the figure isn't enlarged - reminds or re-affirms just how small and tight your detail is, which is easier to forget when you've enlarged the pictures for normal viewing. Again, great work.

 

And thanks for the eye tut. I work in a similar manner, but I never tried graduating to the full-blown paint in the iris and sparkle. Looks like I'll need to step up to the next level! It's always good to learn!

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awong: The facial "bump" that I noticed in the camera turned out to be a dab of highlight paint where it didn't belong; it only looked like a bump catching the (actual) light. I erased it by glazing with the skin midtone. If I find an actual bump or speck after painting, I generally scrape it away with a very sharp knife (so sharp that it leaves a smooth surface, paint and all). My older figures had lots of fuzzy primer, thick paint, and mysterious specks; the smoothness of figures by Jen Haley, Marike Reimer, and other painters impressed yet puzzled me. Now I'm more careful to prime evenly, use thinner basecoats, and generally look out for surface anomalies. I haven't tried the "Milliput wash" that some painters use to smooth a figure before priming, but I have used the trick of using brush-on matte sealer after priming. (I think I got that from Marike.)

 

Derek

 

Thank you Derek,

I, like everyone, really appreciate not only your artistry, but also your willingness to talk about and share your experiences, thought process, and techniques. It is humbling to see such beautiful work, but equally heartening to hear that you have struggled with the very same hurdles that we all slam up against at one time or another. I always look forward to your posts and threads because I know I'll take something useful and enlightening from them.

-AW

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Wow Derek... This is really nice. Smooth skintones! And I think I like the way you changed the postitioning of her left arm. It gives her a more commanding feel.

 

I don't think you should change the warm to cool base tint. The drape on her gown creates a break point from front to back, so the shift doesn't jump out at you too badly. I would not have noticed it if you hadn't pointed it out.

 

Also, the freehand on the back of the right sleeve is also a little more rigidly gridded than I would like -- the freehand is supposed to be loose and weblike -- so I might redo it.

 

It might be sacrilege to crit your stuff, (*ducks for cover*) but for some reason the spiderweb freehand on her gown niggles at me. It looks cool, but I didn't see it as spiderweb at first... The lines are tiny and fine enough for that, but the verticals don't seem (to my eye) right somehow. I know that webs are organic and to a certain degree random, but they are generally based on concentric circles. Maybe it would have been more convincing if the verticals contracted into each other either on the top or bottom and then fanned out on the other end?

 

Thanks for the shot with the index card! That might help me. Did you paint the colors on the card, or is that pure cyan etc from your printer? And what are the mm markings used for? I have never been able to figure out how to use Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. Maybe I should give it another try.

 

Thanks so much for the info. It's like having an inside track!

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Thanks again. Responding to specific questions/comments...

 

TaleSpinner: Maybe I'll just repost the eye-message as a new thread in Painting Tips.

 

Qwyksilver: Good explanation! Uh... that's exactly what I intended all along. :;):

 

Sanael: I've painted several of Sandy's sculpts and gotten their eyes to sparkle, but there isn't always room for the color in the iris. Sometimes I've had to paint the eyes a little larger than they are actually sculpted. If you go to the Gallery and search "garrity schubert", you'll see those figures.

 

Whiz: Thanks, but I don't think I invented the idea -- maybe I stole it from Jeremie?

 

awong: Glad to help. As people have heard me say before, I didn't have Internet pics or forums when I started painting in the late '80s, so it took me a long time to improve my techniques based on magazine photos, White Dwarf articles, and my own sense of what looked right. The vast amount of information and photos available online today cuts both ways.

 

Midnight Lurker:

a. Her arm is a separate piece (divided where the upper arm goes into the sleeve), so it's up to the painter to pose it. I simply thought that the hanging sleeve looked unbalancing when I posed it pointing forward -- too much mass stuck out in space.

 

b. No sacrilege to critique my work! Keep me on my toes, or at least make me think about why I did something. I was aiming for a "layers of cobwebs" look, because I didn't want to go through the trouble of working out a more regular web-shape over the deep folds of the dress, and I couldn't decide where to make the lines radiate from anyway. (I think Wayne Reynolds used a similar scribble in an illustration or painting, but I don't remember which.) The frayed edges and holes on the dress also seemed to lend themselves to an irregular treatment. Still, it might have been more interesting to contrast a regular web pattern with the frayed edges.

 

c. I painted the colors on the index card, I think using True Blue, Sunlight Yellow, Bright Red, Grass Green, Pure White, and Pure Black. Anne told me that Reaper's photos include a group of paint bottles with these colors. And I guess I don't actually use the mm markings for anything, but I remembered seeing photos of Tom Meier's and Kev White's greens, and they always included a ruler for scale reference, so I marked the edge of my card with mms.

 

Derek

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