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Grim's Second Wave part 1 - (half?) hooomans


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So, as I noted on my earlier show off thread, my digital camera broke. My dad is a rather avid amateur photographer, so I asked him if he had one to spare. He did, but it lacked a battery. $20 and a week later (Amazon was S-L-O-W) I now have a shiny, old-but-powerful digital camera with which to take pictures of my minis. With a remote flash and everything!

 

Advice for the pics will be cheerfully taken. I'm experimenting right now, so far I seem to get the best results with the camera on a tripod with the remote flash pointed at the ceiling. I have a printed backdrop, and have the mini on a stand.

 

But enough about photography, the results!

 

I think I'll post my most recent one first. I'm not 100% happy with it, this is a commission work for a friend who wanted me to paint up Barnabus Frost as a random Pathfinder character. I believe he's going to make him a wizard. Since he is not a ship captain, I went with more subdued colors and cut the flintlock pistol off. I was surprised by how neat I was able to make where I had cut the pistol off- there was very little roughness to it.

 

In general, I think I did okay with this paint job - the face is a little funny, the coat is good but not great, and I tried to do a sort of salt-and-pepper hair but it didn't look terribly good, so I washed it down to a fairly subdued "going a little grey."

 

Any comments or advice will be gladly accepted.

 

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Good job overall, but I agree w/ youwashock about the touch-ups on the edges of his coat where the paint looks to have rubbed off on it.

 

As far as photography goes, I'd suggest you check out trying to make your own light tent. You can find instructions over on the Shutterbug threads in this forum about making one for a few bucks or even free. I'd also suggest that you print out a couple of different neutral background colors like your tan there, things like a light grey and light blue would be a nice contrast to your figure there. The current background and lack of lighting washes him out a little bit.

 

I'd also highly suggest that after you are done touching him up to seal him up with either some brush-on sealer or testors dull coat, it will protect your paint a lot better and keep the paint from rubbing off during handling. My last suggestion is something I am always trying to work on as well and that's the "higher highlights" and "deeper shadows" that most people talk about. It may be your lack of light on the pictures, but from what I see right now it looks like you need to try to do both a little more to make things pop better and give some better contrasts.

 

Anyhow, great job and keep up the good work!

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Good job overall, but I agree w/ youwashock about the touch-ups on the edges of his coat where the paint looks to have rubbed off on it.

 

As far as photography goes, I'd suggest you check out trying to make your own light tent. You can find instructions over on the Shutterbug threads in this forum about making one for a few bucks or even free. I'd also suggest that you print out a couple of different neutral background colors like your tan there, things like a light grey and light blue would be a nice contrast to your figure there. The current background and lack of lighting washes him out a little bit.

 

I'd also highly suggest that after you are done touching him up to seal him up with either some brush-on sealer or testors dull coat, it will protect your paint a lot better and keep the paint from rubbing off during handling. My last suggestion is something I am always trying to work on as well and that's the "higher highlights" and "deeper shadows" that most people talk about. It may be your lack of light on the pictures, but from what I see right now it looks like you need to try to do both a little more to make things pop better and give some better contrasts.

 

Anyhow, great job and keep up the good work!

Yeah, I'm not sure what happened there - he is sealcoated with Reaper's Matte coat, but that may have happened beforehand. I can touch him up before I give him away.

 

A light box is definitely on my list of things to make. I can also use different backdrops - I have a ton of fabric around the house that I can hang behind it, I may do that. Any rule of thumb there?

 

I did have trouble with some of the contrasts, it's true. The mini kind of fought me there, for some reason the tassels on the coat did not stick out, I did do some shading in the recesses and highlighting, but there wasn't that much territory to do it on, so to speak. I'll post some of my other work later today, I think I did much better in this regard there.

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Yeah, I'm not sure what happened there - he is sealcoated with Reaper's Matte coat, but that may have happened beforehand. I can touch him up before I give him away.

 

A light box is definitely on my list of things to make. I can also use different backdrops - I have a ton of fabric around the house that I can hang behind it, I may do that. Any rule of thumb there?

 

I did have trouble with some of the contrasts, it's true. The mini kind of fought me there, for some reason the tassels on the coat did not stick out, I did do some shading in the recesses and highlighting, but there wasn't that much territory to do it on, so to speak. I'll post some of my other work later today, I think I did much better in this regard there.

 

 

It easily could have happened beforehand. I know I have to be careful when handing painted bones minis prior to sealing them up or the paint does come off really easily.

 

The three fabric backdrops I use are: 1) light grey, 2) light tan, and 3) white so I just use whatever contrasts the best with the figure I'm taking a pic of. Usually it's the light tan, but if I'm using a lot of browns/reds I'll swap it out for the light grey or if it's a really dark mini with blacks, greys, deep blues, or dark browns I'll contrast it with the white. That way all my bases are covered. Some people even use dark grey or black backgrounds for figures with the lighter colors like the whites, yellows, pale pastel colors to give a contrast to the pictures. So I think I might need to grab one of those colors as well the next time I'm at a hobby lobby or Michael's.

 

Don't beat yourself up over the highlights and shading, it's a very delicate balance I think and takes a lot of practice. I've heard some of the better painters on this site say that they try to work on one different technique each time they paint a figure whether it's highlights/shading, NMM, eyes, or something else they say to just try to perfect that one thing each time and soon you will get better at all of them and put out better overall figures. The last mini's I've been working on smoother transitions and blending.

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Okay, speaking of highlights and shading, I believe I did a fairly good job with this fellow - all the folds read very well even from a good distance. He's a mini that was left over from the last time I painted - a search of the website identified him as a "Shadow Assassin."

 

Incidentally, the "sand" he's standing on is a mixture of baking powder and elmers glue painted with Vallejo's "Dark Sand." I won't say the picture doesn't do it justice - but it has exactly the look I was going for. In the miniature's scale it looks just line fine sand.

 

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I see the highlights and shading better on this guy, but don't be afraid to go higher on the highlights and deeper/darker on the shadows than this. Good job.

 

Here's some great information I got from Willen, Anne, and Dontfear on the topics of contrasts, shading and highlighting. You might find them as interesting and insightful as I did.

 

These are in my WIP and Showoff threads, but rather than have you read through the whole of them to find them I've posted them below.

 

Anne's Advice - Highlighting

 

Willen's Advice - About opposing colors.

 

Dontfear's Advice - Contrasts of colors and using washes/glazes therein.

Edited by ub3r_n3rd
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I see the highlights and shading better on this guy, but don't be afraid to go higher on the highlights and deeper/darker on the shadows than this. Good job.

 

Here's some great information I got from Willen, Anne, and Dontfear on the topics of contrasts, shading and highlighting. You might find them as interesting and insightful as I did.

 

These are in my WIP and Showoff threads, but rather than have you read through the whole of them to find them I've posted them below.

 

Anne's Advice - Highlighting

 

Willen's Advice - About opposing colors.

 

Dontfear's Advice - Contrasts of colors and using washes/glazes therein.

Pretty cool. I'll probably end up doing some of this. Anyway, that's a fair critique, I'll keep that in mind next time. Actually, I'll keep that in mind while doing "Judas the Just's" big, flowing blue cape. ::): (My current painting project.)

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Here's the last one for this thread. This one is Uglunuk the Half-Giant, a stand-in for a character of mine who is a Goliath Monk for D&D 3.5. I did not feel up to making serious modifications to the mini, at least not yet, so I painted him fairly standard. I do like how he came out, though - in particular the skin and pants look good (IMHO.) At one point I showed him to my wife and she said "why is he not wearing any pants" - they kind of blended in with the skin. A few more layers of Palamino Gold later, and I really think I have a nice dearskin look to them.

 

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One thing I could use some advice on - he has lacing on his pants running up the sides. If I get a chance, I'll take a close up of those tonight since none of these angles really show it off (the third and fourth sort of do, but not head on.) I don't think it came out quite right - it doesn't look awful, but there's something not quite right about them. I'd love for some advice on those.

 

Another post-script, another Uglunuk is on the way from Reaper - this one I do plan on kit-bashing into a Goliath Monk. My current plan is to make the armor look like padding and/or leather, remove the projecting plate of the shoulder piece completely, apply lithoderms with green epoxy, and change the axe into a quarterstaff. Any advice there? I'll probably open up a WIP thread when I get down to brass tacks with it, but any preliminary advice would be welcome.

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I just got this figure to paint up! You did a good job on him and seeing him in hand I can certainly understand why you didn't feel like fussing with the conversion of the weapon to something more "monk-ish." The one on my shelf I was contemplating trying to give him a great sword instead of that great axe, but having trouble trying to figure out how to do that kind of conversion with this particular piece since both arms are part of the weapon and are supposed to be pinned and glued to the body. Your conversion would be a bit easier I think, you could make it a staff instead and just cut/file off the blades pretty easily.

 

As far as advice goes, I think you did really nice shading and highlights on the pants, but from the pics I can't really see too much on his muscles which could be a trick of the light or just not enough contrast. I would also suggest you take a look at the different techniques for painting eyes like the Bette Davis Eyes or DKS' method (if you can get to step 4 you are golden). Eyes are the soul of the piece and are one of the hardest to get just right as we all know. It looks like you do what I do with them and am trying to better myself - that is putting a dot in the middle of the whites of the eyes, which is cool if they are supposed to look surprised, enraged, or wild, but most of the time if you look at an eye your top eyelid will cover the iris a little bit.

 

Concerning the stitching on the side of the leg, I also have trouble getting those to look just right and am always amazed at how well people do that technique perfectly on a figure. I hope someone comes in and gives some advice on how to do this part of figures really nicely and easily as I'd also use it as a reference.

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I just got this figure to paint up! You did a good job on him and seeing him in hand I can certainly understand why you didn't feel like fussing with the conversion of the weapon to something more "monk-ish." The one on my shelf I was contemplating trying to give him a great sword instead of that great axe, but having trouble trying to figure out how to do that kind of conversion with this particular piece since both arms are part of the weapon and are supposed to be pinned and glued to the body. Your conversion would be a bit easier I think, you could make it a staff instead and just cut/file off the blades pretty easily.

 

As far as advice goes, I think you did really nice shading and highlights on the pants, but from the pics I can't really see too much on his muscles which could be a trick of the light or just not enough contrast. I would also suggest you take a look at the different techniques for painting eyes like the Bette Davis Eyes or DKS' method (if you can get to step 4 you are golden). Eyes are the soul of the piece and are one of the hardest to get just right as we all know. It looks like you do what I do with them and am trying to better myself - that is putting a dot in the middle of the whites of the eyes, which is cool if they are supposed to look surprised, enraged, or wild, but most of the time if you look at an eye your top eyelid will cover the iris a little bit.

My current plan is to hack or file off the blade of the axe and build up the rest of the shaft to look more like hewn and not terribly smooth wood - more grain texture and such.

 

I actually have been using the "Bette Davis Eyes" technique, at least to a certain extent - I'm using a .1 mm pen to dot the eye, but otherwise following that. I guess I'm not shaping the eyes inward enough and/or leaving enough of a blackline?

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Good plan on the blade of the axe, I like it.

 

Yeah, a bit more blackline around the eye to give it definition, usually I do something more like a brown-line, using something like blackened brown or walnut brown rather than pure black, you could even mix a little of the darkest skin tone in to make it look a little more natural, but it'll give it more definition. It wasn't until Willen talked to me about eyes that it "clicked" with me about the surprised look I was giving my figures. So that's something I've been trying to improve on more myself, one day I'd like to be able to do DKS quality of eyes, but for now I'll be happy to get them to look more real.

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Noted, thanks! It's too late for "Judas the Just," the paint is starting to cake a bit on his face since I've been fusing with it so much (and using GW for my skin tone, and not thinning it enough,) so I really can't do much more, but in the future I'll definitely try giving it a bit more definition.

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Do you have any of the Reaper brush-on sealer?

 

Reason I ask is that that it smooths the rough looking finishes and then you can paint back over it with your thinned paints after it dries to cover up those tiny mistakes. Multiple very thin layers is something that I've really found to work and able to blend much easier.

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