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I've seen this question coming up more and more from newer painters or those who do not have any experience in paint mixing for shadows and highlights.  And that is "What do I do to highlight and shadow HD paint XXX?".  I know many local painters who rely on the triad system and have been hesitant to try the new HD paints because of this.  And it would also get people thinking more about doing their own color mixes as well!


Given this is going to happen more often going forward as Reaper releases more of the wonderful HD paints, is there some place we can save this information for easy reference in one spot?  Might be as simple as someone managing a pinned post for this?


Of course this could apply to ANY paint manufacturer.  But I think confining it to Reaper paint here is most appropriate here in the Reaper forums.  So it could apply to Reaper non-HD paints as well I suppose.

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Pretty much all of my paints are from the old LTPKs and HD Set 1, so I've yet to actually try the triad thing. One of the things I like about mixing paints is not using any formula or recipe at all. If I want to shade paint XXX I will probably use different colors and mixes based on the color I used next to paint XXX. 


As a side note I think HD Set 1 plus a few other colors is probably reaper's best value in a starter paint set.

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Which is probably why Reaper came out with triads. Even with an army though if the intent is mixing rather than using triads I'd probably (I've never painted an army) go about it the same way. An added step of taking notes to keep track of everything probably wouldn't hurt.

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Mmm, it seems like everyone has kind of danced around the actual question of what to use for shadows and highlights when using the HD paints. The answer is, "it depends". While we could start to delve into color theory, I'll avoid that for the moment. The easiest (not necessarily the best) is to simply add a bit of black for shadow and white for the highlight. This is pretty effective with blues but it can be problematic with other colors, especially reds since adding white tends to get you to pink rather than a nice hot highlight. For both greens and reds I tend to add a yellow to the base coat color for my highlight. I'll add blue to get to the shadows. If you start to explore color theory a bit (and I'll let others dive into that) you will discover that there is a lot of different ways to achieve both shadow and highlight colors.


The HD sets really do have everything you need to mix colors they are excellent sets to start with. I would recommend both of them.

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The triad sets are fantastic.  I bought the complete set a few years back and it really helped me along with my painting.  It gave me the confidence to start exploring other shadow/highlight combinations.  The big turning point for me was a colour theory class Anne did a few ReaperCons ago.  She inspired me to REALLY look at pictures and things to figure out what colours can be used in the shadows and to highlight.  When you start trusting your eyes, you will find that the coolness or heat of a colour is really what you are looking for instead of just a darker/lighter shade of the base coat.

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Great answers Heisler and MiniCannuck, much thanks  And I also like the fact that with Bones figures now you don't feel like you're "wrecking" a metal miniature to try out your mixing.  I almost wish Reaper just made a set of Bones figures that were various items (cloaks, torso, fur, plate armor, chain armor, scales, etc) to use for trials and testing right on a "figure".  But with the price of Bones as it is, just as well picking one and doing it right on a real model.

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Don't be afraid to test possible shades and highlights on paper. If the question is does colour X, Y, or Z work better to shade colour A, a quick blend on paper will usually answer it.

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Don't be afraid to test possible shades and highlights on paper. If the question is does colour X, Y, or Z work better to shade colour A, a quick blend on paper will usually answer it.


I've done that.  But it always seems different to me when I actually put it on a figure that has 3 dimensions to it.  Or at least I've got a mental block about that.   :rolleyes:

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It won't show the exact nuances, but it's a quick way to eliminate things that definitely don't play nice together. It's worth having 2-3 test figures on your shelf to do quick tests of 3D items on. Since you're just testing colours for the most part, you can paint over and over them multiple times without worrying too much about losing detail or whatever. I've been using Test Elf and an old demo class figure for years now.

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