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Color Usage Discussion - MSP and others

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I wanted to start this thread because of something I read in another one--specifically, that the MSP "primary" colors were mixed with white and thus of limited usage in some applications. I thought I

For those of you having difficulty visualizing what the term saturation (or chroma) means, I found that a color sphere is the best way to visually illustrate the concept.     A)  The column in th

Hello... My name is Clever Crow and I am addicted to color... :). Whew... That feel good to type...

My newest favorite combination of color would have to be Surf Aqua mixed with Ashen Blue. It makes such a beautiful pure color. A color that goes great with it is Leaf Green with a teeny drop of Pale Green. 


I can say this though, with some shame. I have never read a single book on painting, watched a video on colors and the like. I definitely should. In a lot of ways, I like the way I myself see colors and paint with them and when I find a case in which I'm having trouble, this wonderful community is always there to provide advice. 


Before Reapercon I never knew that people typically never used pure black or white unless for mixing or the rare cases, where as I'm in my second bottles of each and have only been painting for almost nine months now. I've found that using Corporeas Black (Sapphire Blue/Walnut Brown) Makes a nice Charcoal color that enables me to do a lot more with black colors. 


My most recent painting experimenting actually involved Palamino gold. I based with HDs Mustard Yellow but it wasn't applying how I wanted it. Once that dried, I applied Palamino gold and that gave me exactly the look I wanted, though it was still a bit too bright. I then trimmed my desired places in white (which of course made it look brighter) so I took tanned highlight as my highlight with palamino as the base. Shadow wise..I'm not entirely sure yet. Probably palamino mixed with a tiny bit of russet brown. 


Edit: Forgot to mention, I love Paint Pot Bright Gold. ^_^ 

Edited by MissMelons
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Background for context:


I prefer gray primer and normally shade up from my shadow tone. My style for most figures is a bit gritty and naturalistic, so lots of tertiary colors and very little highly saturated brights.


Moderately random notes:


I really like RMS browns and greens. Nice rich colors with a very wide range. Good flow, excellent adhesion.


Skin tones selection is very good, with good results on figures (when I push shadows and highlights the way I know I should). Triads are broadly too close together, especially for the early colors in the range. Example: When I want a tanned flesh midtone, I'll normally use Dark Skin Highlight for the shadow and Fair Skin Shadow for the highlight. Since the hues are consistent, this works well, but it's not ideal for new painters.


Blues, for me, are the weakest range in RMS, though I haven't worked as much with the HD colors as I'd like yet. Saturation is too low for the jobs I want blues for.


I like RMS metallics for large areas of metal. The flow gives me a very smooth surface and the effect is believable. For small areas (buckles, jewelry, whatever), they don't pop as much as I would like. I've taken to using P3 metals for those purposes.


For really saturated brights, I'm trying out the Golden liquid acrylics and having good luck so far. Not as matt as I would prefer, but tradeoffs.


I like several of the old liner colors as base coats for colors. The Red Liner makes a very nice red shadow color, for instance.


I don't use much pure white, both because it's very harsh and because it tends to go chalky for me.


Given the excellent adhesion of the current liners on Bones minis, I'd really like to see lighter colors with the same sort of base if the chemistry works. A nice medium gray liner would be really useful.


I haven't been doing much complementary shading as yet. I'm trying to finish up several figures from my shelf of shame without complete repaints. The next new figure I start, I plan to try it.


Hope that's the kind of thing you were looking for.

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Favorite colors? These are my favorite MSP colors


Burgundy wine is one of my all time favorites. It is such a great color to use as a shade or even tint.


Blue liner - lining, shadows more lining...


Dusky skin triad: great starting point for a great dark grey to black clothing. Oh, and it works great for gorilla skin...


Linen white - nice warm highlight for clothing...


Ruddy leather - it's such a nice warm brown that you can shift back too flatter brown or take more orange . Also a great skin shadow color.


Old Bronze - my very favorite metallic color. Tarnished steel is my second favorite.


Bright skin triad - yum..



I will post more later

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The two colors that I use more than any other are:

Brown Liner

Linen White


Every Bones mini starts with Brown Liner and a heavy drybrushing of Linen White. It is is also the white I often use to work in with my highlights.


I am in need of some trainging on Color Theory. I still struggle with the color-related vocabulary (hue, saturation, value, etc.) and should probably start there. It might help if I ever took an art class.

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Well, I particularly like how MSPs flow, and go on lovely and smooth.


The ocean teal triad is a go-to for quickly and reliably making an eye-catching gem, feather, etc.


The slightly bluish Steel triad took me some getting used to, but I've discovered that using it with Blue Liner to shade makes a really nice blued metallic.


The golds are just not quite right by themselves, but team up really well with Army Painter's gold.


So, mostly MSP's are my thang, but I also use some Vallejo Model Colour.


I wasn't totally thrilled with the original MSP bright primaries and green, but the addition of the Clear Brights makes everything awesome. They really add some eyeball smackdown.

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I don't have as many reaper paints as I would like. They are my favorite paints overall, though I really like the way Vallejo's airbrush metalics apply. I plan on getting more over time. Currently I use brown liner the most, because I use it to base all my bones. Followed by the Brush on sealer.


I don't have much actual colour theory, I mostly just go with what I like. As for my guru... *points at Pingo* Paint Guru, right there! ^_^


ETA: Oh, and I'll add my voice to those asking for green, violet, and red liners. Those would be fantastic!

Edited by redambrosia
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Hmm. I'll add to this thread when I can sit down at a PC rather than my phone, but I definitely have thoughts to put in this thread. This will be a very cool repository of opinions/anecdotes/usages.

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oooh!  Anne's here and talking about paint!!!


I love the way the RMS paint thins.  There are a few colors like pure white that I have to treat gently, but for the most part,they really hold up to my over-use of the water pot.  Even with all of the color choices out there, I find I stick with a lot of the same colors, either because I know I like them or they're just that useful.  The new aircraft gray is awesome, BTW.  I haven't played with the HD line, so I'm curious to see what people have seen from it.  The clears are amazing for glazing- they're really really bright.


I like shading with off-blacks like walnut and nightshade.  I have been playing with some greens recently, and I think I'm liking that new spattered crimson to shade with- I've glazed overtop of the (I think it was viper or leaf) green and it holds up nicely.  I also played around with highlighting my purple with saffron sunset and loved it.  I really love saffron sunset.  Originally I've preferred vallejo's yellow ocher, but either saffron or palomino gold are really nice substitutes.  Ochers are super-useful for me.  They really help me with yellow, which is an evil color.   I've never used any of the liners except to basecoat the bones, but then I usually don't "line" per se. 


If we're on the subject of colors we love... any chance of getting bruise purple or porcelain rose back? :;):


I've lost it, but at one point you'd listed all of the shades that were "basic"- like what I can use as a substitute for ocher, sienna, umber, pthalo blue, cadmium red, etc.  Do you still have that list? Or which RMS paints are the purest shade of pigment besides the clears?  Something like that, my brain is having trouble finding words today...


Just out of curiosity, I've been painting with nightshade purple (which I adore) and have noticed it's a bit shiner than the others when I lay it on more thickly.  Is there something different it it that gives it that gloss?


at work so I'll come back later...

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Definitely link this thread to the Reaper paints page!


Despite all the tutorials on how to paint miniatures, I can't information about how to use specific paint colors, besides Reaper forums posts, and the LTPK's.


I don't get why paint companies don't tell you how to use their own paints -- if hobby paint companies made Junior Chemistry kits, they wouldn't come with instructions!  :;):

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I love my MSP paints, in no small part due to the paint dropper bottles. The pigment density of the paint is higher than most of the other paints on the market marketed for painting miniatures. I love that. That means it takes less paint and time to get the coverage i want on the surface of the mini. It also means that they hold up well even when you start adding in water for glazes or washes. When I first started painting I used Citadel paints. And I was constantly frustrated with the quality of the paint colors. Out of desperation I bought some 2 oz. Dropper Bottles (10 of them) and went by Sherwin Williams. I asked the associate if I could buy some of their paint tint. If you have ever bought house paint and had them mix a custom color, the tints are the fluids that the machine squirts into the paint base. At first, he was skeptical. When I explained that I was wanting to use them for mixing into my paints for my hobby, he was extremely helpful. He asked how much of each color I wanted and when I showed him the 2 oz. bottles he filled them at no charge! Mixing the color tints into my paints made a drastic improvement. Then I found the MSP line, and although I still have the paint tints, I rarely need to use them.


My typical paint application starts on a solid white base (either white primer or bare Bones). Then base coat with an HD paint if I have one close to the midtone I want. Then shade in shadows (never black, it's a dead color). And lastly highlight.

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When I started out, early last year, I knew nothing (Jon Snow). 


I decided the best way for me to get started with a good selection of colours was to pick up both of the HD hard cases - Paint that covers really well is OBVIOUSLY better than paint that doesn't :rolleyes:, and it came with cool storage cases (which now sit in the closet, empty).


So I've got all the HD paints - and I like them.  I've picked up about the same number of MSP paints as I've come along, trying to fill out the colour deficiencies in the HD line, and I like them too.  I really like the HD greys, and I've got a really good selection (mixed HD and MSP) of blues, reds, yellows, and browns, that work really well.  I think I'm lacking in greens - I've got a bunch of really nice medium and dark greens, but all of my lighter greens aren't really green (greeny-browns or greeny-yellows or greeny-blues (Yeah, I know they probably have real names, but I still know nothing)).  Although, the silly internet test where you line up different blocks of colours between two stationary colours says I'm pretty colour blind when it comes to green, so that my be more of an issue than my paint selection.


In general, colour theory confuses me greatly.  Complimentary Colours, Colour Wheels, Secondary Colours, etc. etc.  It's all gibberish.  I don't understand what people mean by saturation, and value (I think I understand contrast... sometimes).   I just paint what I think looks good - I rarely have a plan before hand other than "This girl looks like a ranger type, she'd probably have a green cloak".  I tend to think more along the lines of "what would this mini be thinking when getting dressed in the morning" and not along the lines of "What colours will best make use of contrasting secondary values blablabla" (I don't even know what real painters say here).    This worked fine for me for tabletop minis (which is all I had originally been wanting), but I think it might be holding me back now that I'm starting to get better, and pushing myself more into the "beginner display" category I'm trying to achieve.

Edited by Malynor
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You'll know the point when you get there, it's less about quality - I am not great - and more about, when the vocabulary actually suddenly starts letting you say things the way you want :)


That said I still don't know most of the terms, despite having done some first year design and art...

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