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TMM vs NMM (blog post by Meg Maples)

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True Metal Metallics vs Non Metal Metallics

 

I found this blog post very informative and thought provoking. I'm solidly on the side of TMM over NMM and have been for a while now, but reading what a pro like Meg Maples says about it is really interesting.

 

Also curious what the rest of the community has to say about their preferences after reading this post.

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I like NMM for certain applications. I use it on my Super Dungeon Explore heroes, who are supposed to look more cartoony (than my usual paint jobs), but for everything else, I prefer TMM. Always have. Granted, I'm still working on my technique, but that's a tale for another time.

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I use a lot of TMM to save time however I really like the NMM look. Its funny how she throws NMM as an American style when I first saw it on Rackham minis; a very European company. If I recall most NMM was coming out of Europe in the late 90's. I try to do both styles just for my own amusement

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I am too poor a painter to carry out either one; but if TMM is less time-consuming [?] OK I will aspire to that one.

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Never heard of TMM, but the way I use metallic paints sounds similar. Now I just need to watch some videos and buy different shades of metallic paint to practice.

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Never heard of TMM, but the way I use metallic paints sounds similar. Now I just need to watch some videos and buy different shades of metallic paint to practice.

 

Massive Voodoo has a good tutorial on TMM.

 

Ben Komets (Painting Buddha) did a really good video tutorial for Infamy figures.

 

Here's another TMM Tutorial from Iguazzu, who is another world class painter.

 

And another for TMM gold I ran across.

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Personally, I switched to NMM over TMM because, well, I'm bad at using washes for shading.  I tend to very much brute force my blends, and that makes NMM easier for me on a technical level.

 

Furthermore, I prefer NMM because it feels more controllable to me; I get to put the shadows and highlights exactly where I want them.  Also, I really do like the bright, happy, American painting style better as a whole, and it seems to fit better with the kinds of miniatures I like to paint.

 

Lastly, (and perhaps most importantly) I vehemently hate how metallic paints behave during application!

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I think this is the reason that most historical minis you see are painted with TMM.  It looks like people expect it to and you can get good results in a reasonable amount of time.

 

OTOH, a lot of 40k models have that kind of cartoony feel to their sculpts anyway, so NMM fits right in.  Often times the mantra is putting light next to dark to create contrast, but that can lead to highlights and shadows being not quite where they should be.  It looks metallic, but also slightly off, and hence the cartoon impression.

 

One problem with her argument though is that the reflections in the 2D art are where they are because you have a static environment and a singular point of view.  A NMM mini might be in a savanna, a forest, a desert, and other exotic locals, but you can't paint all of that on there.  NMM is often generic so that it can be anywhere.  Now if you are placing a mini in a diorama that's never going anywhere, then by all means paint the environment on it.

 

As an aside from someone who grew up in a rural area, metal is not always bright and shiny like in the Julie Bell paintings.  Just a generic reflection of light can actually be fairly realistic if you don't polish your tin buildings every decade.

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I like TMM simply because NMM tends to look a tad off when viewed at anything other that the 'right' angles because the shadows and highlights are very apparent, but quite stationary. With TMM, the metallics pick up the light and add their own highlight as well as what was painted. If that makes sense to anyone other than me.

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I like TMM simply because NMM tends to look a tad off when viewed at anything other that the 'right' angles because the shadows and highlights are very apparent, but quite stationary. With TMM, the metallics pick up the light and add their own highlight as well as what was painted. If that makes sense to anyone other than me.

Makes perfect sense.

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At last I feel like less of a noob for thinking that a lot of gold NMM actually just looks like cheese. I've seen much better NMM in terms of looking metallic, here on the boards, than on that Slayer Sword winner with the cheese helmet.

 

Also, nice to see my formless intuition about shadows on metallic voiced and validated (I've always liked a flat, flat black for shading steel, but I couldn't have told you WHY I liked it.)

 

Basically, some NMM is amazing, a lot of it doesn't look right, and between this and a CMON article on careful use of shaded metallics, I think the shortcomings I see in my steel, gold, etc., are all better addressed by getting better at metallic than by switching to NMM. I would still like to try SENMM for a cockpit canopy, though!

 

I second reaper71. NMM really became THE WAY TO DO IT following Rackham's official jobs, which at the time were very, very cartoony both in sculpt and colour / paint style... I'm not overly fond of that style for sculpture or paint, although it was brilliantly executed. But it was definitely a Euro style at the time, and particularly it was French.

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As an aside from someone who grew up in a rural area, metal is not always bright and shiny like in the Julie Bell paintings.  Just a generic reflection of light can actually be fairly realistic if you don't polish your tin buildings every decade.

 

As a metallurgist, I heartily agree with this assessment!  Pretty much only chrome or very polished steel is going to be reflective enough for considerable SENMM, and, the more polished a piece of metal is, the faster you accrue scratches and blemishes.  My roommate is actually quite a proficient blacksmith/bladesmith, and he almost never polishes a finished knife to a mirror finish because any use of the knife will totally ruin the finish in a very short time.

 

Also, corrosion can put a considerable dent in shiny-ness.

 

Edit:  Oh, and one more little thought about NMM vs. TMM:  It is very true that TMM will allow the metal on the mini to look properly highlighted from almost any normal viewing angle.  However, if the mini is composed of areas of metal and areas of non-metal, then you still have a problem because the non-metal areas have to be painted with a fixed light reference.  Thus, their highlights will not move while your metal highlights will, potentially still creating some inconsistency in the mini when viewed from anything other than the intended directions.  (Personally, I think that it is almost impossible to paint a mini such that it does not have certain primary viewing angles no matter what technique you use.)

Edited by Kuro Cleanbrush
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Also, corrosion can put a considerable dent in shiny-ness.

 

It also makes for a very interesting look on a mini.

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