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Lets Talk About NMM

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Hopefully an easy question regarding NMM. I hear a lot of talk about doing NMM vs. TMM but my question is, what are the advantages of NMM over TMM? I know that typically, NMM will likely take a bit longer than TMM (unless I am just misinformed) but the main advantage that jumps out at me is that NMM are better on your brushes, which I suppose could mean that you can use better brushes with it, which in turn may yield a better result. I'm guessing there's more to it than that though so I am curious as to what everyone's thoughts on it were. Are they simply that much better once you get the hang of it? Is it just for the challenge/enjoyment aspect of doing it with NMM? Something else?

 

I'm not really sure that I'm ready to try tackling it yet anyway but am just curious as to what can be done with them and if its something worth putting into the ole idea file so to speak. As a beginner, using TMM has certainly been nice for creating that metallic feel but I see enough comments on NMM that I'm guessing I'm also missing something. ;)

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My NMM is mediocre, so I'm by no means the expert.  But the way it was described to be is that with TMM, the paint has the reflective particles to give it the shine, so ambient light is reflected just because there is a light source.  With NMM, and highlights in general, you are in control of how "reflected light" looks.

 

From my standpoint, the advantage comes mostly when you are considering where you want a viewer to focus their attention, photography, etc.

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4 minutes ago, Clearman said:

My NMM is mediocre, so I'm by no means the expert.  But the way it was described to be is that with TMM, the paint has the reflective particles to give it the shine, so ambient light is reflected just because there is a light source.  With NMM, and highlights in general, you are in control of how "reflected light" looks.

 

From my standpoint, the advantage comes mostly when you are considering where you want a viewer to focus their attention, photography, etc.

 

Ahh, that does actually make sense, and I can see then why people might want to do that. Of course, I'm still at the point of trying to remind myself to put the highlights in place for a consistent light source! lol (i.e. not showing the light coming from multiple angles). 

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I've only done NMM on weapons and very small armor pieces thus far, but here is what I've noticed: 

 

NMM is easier on the brushes since you don't have mica flakes mucking up the hairs. However, it isn't awful to use metallic paint, just make sure to rinse thoroughly and often. Preferably in a different water tub than the nonmetallic paints. 

 

NMM does take longer, but I'm noticing that I get faster each time on the painting part. The tricky part for me now is *planning*. Since you control the highlights more than the sparkly bits of metallic paint, you have to pick a light source and paint to be consistent with that. With all the weird shapes you see on minis, it can get complicated. 

 

NMM is often flashier. Not always; there are some awesome uses of metallic paints. NMM also photographs better than TMM. 

 

I found that learning NMM brush-work vastly improved my skill in other areas of painting. Why? It is an exercise in extremely smooth blending with extremely high contrast between the start and the finish (near black up to white). Even if you prefer TMM (and totally okay if you do!), I'd recommend trying NMM a bit just to practice the blending. It does have a much longer "ugly phase" than TMM. You keep brushing and going "does it look good yet? this is a blob. this isn't metal." and then you brush some more and go "okay, this is kinda cruddy metal". And finally with the highlights go "ooooohhhh shiny". 

 

My first figure with NMM took 4hrs to paint two tiny axes. I'm at ~30mins for the majority of a weapon now (but may nitpick it later). 

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There is also a technique called Shaded Metallics, which I believe uses various mixtures of metallic/non-metallic paint with traditional shading and highlighting concepts.

 

I've never tried it, but Michael Proctor has taught it at previous ReaperCon's.

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Clearman: That's a totally new concept to me and I've got to admit that I cannot see how you could mix the two techniques on one figure. But I'd be very interested to know more. If you can dig up any other information or links, please do post them

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2 minutes ago, Clearman said:

There is also a technique called Shaded Metallics, which I believe uses various mixtures of metallic/non-metallic paint with traditional shading and highlighting concepts.

 

I've never tried it, but Michael Proctor has taught it at previous ReaperCon's.

 

I think some variation of that is what I did when I used metallics more. Base metallic color, do a dark wash in nooks and crannies, put brighter metallic highlights on (like silver vs steel), wash.... etc. *shrug*

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6 minutes ago, paintybeard said:

Clearman: That's a totally new concept to me and I've got to admit that I cannot see how you could mix the two techniques on one figure. But I'd be very interested to know more. If you can dig up any other information or links, please do post them

 

5 minutes ago, Cyradis said:

 

I think some variation of that is what I did when I used metallics more. Base metallic color, do a dark wash in nooks and crannies, put brighter metallic highlights on (like silver vs steel), wash.... etc. *shrug*

 

When looking for tutorials, I finding it may be entirely possible that the terms TMM and Shaded Metallics could be used interchangeably.   That said, I like this blog post.

 

https://www.lightminiatures.com/tutorial-true-metallic-metals/

 

The approach appears to be fairly standard.  Lay down your base coat, shade/highlight/glaze accordingly.  Just with some metallic paint.

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The kinda odd one out is DemiMetallics - mixing metallic and non-metallic paint together. You end up with kinda pearlescent or satiny paint. I used to do that for painting hair for some reason. Was back when I was a newbie and had no paint friends. But, you could get very pretty effects if used well, I think. 

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The mixing of the 2 that you guys speak of is how I've been playing with metallics also. For example one of the issues I've encountered with really tiny pieces of brass is that there is little to nothing to shade it on and just lapping a TMM brass paint is too shiny.

What I am interested in asking; however, is what exactly constitutes as a true NMM.. I've been playing with layers that add different effects. such as gloss coats for the glossy, metallic pigments added without paint but with a binding layer, or using iridescent medium to add a "glitter" to basically any color.

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the idea around mixed metallics is that the darkened areas will have less glint or shine to them so you can use dark grays or blacks to control the depth of shadow and then use the brighter metallics to give off the shine or light.  It seems to solve the biggest problem I have with NMM:  the look is good only from a few angles.  because you are painting the highlights onto the NMM they can look a little weird in table top conditions where you might be looking at the side or back quarter of the mini.  using metallic highlights and non metallic recesses it allows the eye a more relaxed view of where the light source is.

 

True NMM should be like a canvas:  no gloss, no mica, no iridescence, just using black white and color to show highlights across a shiny surface.  it can look cool but it can also look strange if you see it from an angle not intended by the artist 

 

That said, I am still new at NMM and not particularly good at it and lately a lot of my stuff has been to only tabletop level.  Maybe I will feel differently if I get better, but even among minis whos NMM is absolutely stunning, when you change the angle of view or the actual light source, the view goes from stunning  to weird in my eyes.

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6 minutes ago, Slush said:

The mixing of the 2 that you guys speak of is how I've been playing with metallics also. For example one of the issues I've encountered with really tiny pieces of brass is that there is little to nothing to shade it on and just lapping a TMM brass paint is too shiny.

What I am interested in asking; however, is what exactly constitutes as a true NMM.. I've been playing with layers that add different effects. such as gloss coats for the glossy, metallic pigments added without paint but with a binding layer, or using iridescent medium to add a "glitter" to basically any color.

 

No gloss or shiny particulates for NMM. You can add flow improvers, drying retardants, use washes... but it is all with standard matte finish paint giving the illusion of shininess. 

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Both techniques require good blending skills at higher levels.  Both can be done quick and dirty, but if you look at some of the masters of their craft at work, either technique provides truly impressive results and takes time. At its simplest, a flat metallic color in light will provide it's own highlights and a drybrushed highlight on a gray sword blade can look like steel. Both fast, but not refined.

 

here is a NMM:

fk500fl__sized_l.jpg

Soule

 

Here is a TMM:

image_1377548466__sized_l.jpg

Proctor

 

As a general rule, it seems like TMM is harder to photo than NMM, as all of the highlights for NMM are painted and do not depend on placement of light sources that could add conflicting highlights or shadows. So for contests that require photos for judging, many choose NMM or a very worn/weathered look for TMM.  Some people seem to gravitate to one or the other and intuitively pick up one easier than the other, but neither technique is "superior" in terms of difficulty or appearance.  I got a change to sit down with Rex at Rcon and he showed me how he gets his scorched metal look.  I also took Michael's class a few years back to try to pick up the TMM technique. It doesn't come as easily to me, but then again, I like more natural forms so I'd just as soon avoid metal objects altogether in my work and make happy trees!

 

One of the things I like about TMM is it makes sense to do some shading with nonmetallic paint and washes. After all, metal in shadow doesn't reflect, right? That was a revelation to me. With NMM, it is mostly about placing contrasting light-dark areas adjacent to create the illusion of a hard edge.  In that case, one sometimes has to really think about constructing the whole as well as sometimes cheat and place highlights in odd areas to maintain the contrast.

 

I haven't really has much issue with my brushes and metallic paint, and it seems like a good conditioner keeps them on point. Both require patience though and you can't rush the blending.

 

The only big issue I have is I'm a recovering brush licker, so I have to be extra good when using my metallics... 

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25 minutes ago, Corporea said:

One of the things I like about TMM is it makes sense to do some shading with nonmetallic paint and washes. After all, metal in shadow doesn't reflect, right?

 

New tool in the toolbox!

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