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OSL - Critique, please.


Jen
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So, I took the opportunity with this guy to practice OSL. This is my second attempt with the technique, and I could use some feedback.

 

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I had a lot of trouble getting the light blue highlights to look smooth and not chalky. I'm not sure if it was the paint I was using (I tried a few different ones) or just a side effect of putting a really light highlight on top of much darker colors.

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So, I took the opportunity with this guy to practice OSL. This is my second attempt with the technique, and I could use some feedback.

 

post-4297-12981362394893_thumb.jpg

 

I had a lot of trouble getting the light blue highlights to look smooth and not chalky. I'm not sure if it was the paint I was using (I tried a few different ones) or just a side effect of putting a really light highlight on top of much darker colors.

I think you picked a very tricky flame color (blu-ish) plus a very tricky to highlight garment color (black). Would a black surface reflect much blue, even from a blu-ish light source?

 

Thought experiment: what if the sword snapped off and got lost? How would this model look then?

 

To me the highlighting on the robe looks perfect as: dark-robes-on-undead-horror with-chalky-highlights-where-the-dust-of-the-ages has settled on the garb when he blasted his way through an old wall.

 

So good news: save your notes on how you did this because it is an excellent technique for Wraith Robes covered in Dust from the Tomb. It looks excellent as that.

 

But the bad news: OK, that was not what you were aiming for... :down:

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It's very difficult to highlight with light colors. They get chalky as you've noticed.

I've been fighting with this and I'm trying working backwards.

Paint everything the light colors then paint in the shadows with the dark colors.

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I basically have to agree with WizardOne on this. The good news is that you achieved "aeons-old tomb dust" rather than "explosion of pastel chalk" like I did on Seltyiel's hood. I also think you're very close to making this work.

 

The flame-sword looks like it could be throwing off white light (or cool white light), so the colours of your OSL highlights are okay. (That was my problem on the hood: blue light on red cloth does not produce blue highlights.) The problem I have with the OSL effect is that the highlights don't tell a consistent story about how strong the sword's light is.

 

To start with, dark fabric isn't going to reflect big, broad, strong highlights from any but the strongest light sources -- that's why it's dark in the first place. ::): The big highlight on top of the right sleeve isn't so bad, since it's very close to the sword -- light gets weaker with the square of the distance from the light source. But the highlights on the right shoulder, especially on the swirl behind the shoulder, are just as big and if anything stronger in value than the ones on the sleeve, so they don't look right. (Also, in the third photo, it looks to me like the highlight on the right rear shoulder swirl goes beyond what's visible to the light.)

 

The other issue is that the model has these big broad highlights on the right shoulder, which just... stop. Big highlights like that are perfectly reasonable if the sword's shining like a trapped star, but in that case the rest of the mini needs correspondingly strong highlights. Again, light gets weaker with the square of distance, so the folds of the cloak on the back (for example) need highlights that get thinner and fainter as they move away from the sword. The bottom-right quadrant of the back of the hood, for example, looks conspicuously un-lit, and the highlight on the back of the left shoulder looks no fainter than its mirror on the right (the vertical highlight between the big swirly one and the two horizontal highlights on the hood).

 

Assuming you want a glowy sword rather than a nuclear weapon, I think all you need to do to fix this is to glaze over the OSL highlights to bring the cloak's colour back into prominence. (This is how I fixed Seltyiel, though I neglected to take a photo.) On a black cloak, especially one that's relatively matte, most of the highlights are going to be thin and dim. I'd suggest geting rid of the highlights on the left side almost completely, toning down the rest, bringing the shoulder-swirl highlights below the sleeve highlights in terms of value, and trying to get some sort of gradient on the sleeve highlight. The OSL framing his cowl looks great, but I don't think it needs to be super-strong to be effective. As long as the highlights from the sword are at least a little bit visible, it'll look gorgeous.

 

Just my two cents until Derek comes along and gives better advice. ::):

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