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Lets Talk About NMM


Gargs
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ooh, I know this thread is about metal, but on the subject of osl...

 

One of the things that makes the brain cranky about osl is that the light source should always appear as the brightest point on the miniature, and any cast light its... you guessed it: also light.  light is an expanding sphere that loses intensity as it travels farther from the source, right?  So the problems I see with osl are generally twofold: 1)the painter mistakes color for light and ignores value (most common) or 2)there isn't enough basework to support the effect of the lightsource. OSL is always more effective where there is something around the source to catch the reflected light.  There can be no light without shadow. the effect is lessened standing alone.

 

Ok, so what I mean about value is that one must first paint all the highlights as far as we're willing to push them towards white and then think about light color.  I can't just put red paint on a sleeve and make it feel like light.  If there is no highlighting, the color appears flat. The brain will cry foul!

 

ok, I can't find the photos I usually use for this, but here's the dragon thread where I try to explain value. OSL follows those same principle.  This is one reason I do a lot of monochrome painting.  It frees my mind from simply using color as contrast and makes me really push my highlights and shadows to get contrast.

 

 

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If you are photographing a miniature NMM gets a slight edge. But if you are viewing a miniature in the round it is true metals all the way. Why? Because NMM will always look wrong if not viewed from those "magic" angles. Remember metals are not like everything else when it comes to highlights- the reflections on metals move with you when you move around the piece wherein the rest of the shadows and highlights on non-metallic areas stay in one place. That is why NMM is "tricky"- you are trying to use a 2D technique on a 3D object. So for an online painting contest NMM will have a slight edge (as you have converted a 3D model into a 2D picture) but if you are doing a live viewing NMM should actually work against you. 

 

My pet peeve on OSL is models that are painted as if they are standing in the broad daylight, then finished off with an OSL effect from something that obviously wouldn't be bright enough to overcome sunlight and cause an OSL effect. Look back at that Ork dread vs Sister fight...notice that the models are painted as if they are in a dark area and the flames actually are bright enough to cause an OSL effect. If those models were in the daylight you would barely get an OSL effect, if you got any OSL effect at all. You need that darkness to make OSL look right.

 

But then you get a model painted as if they were in bright daylight holding a torch or candle that is giving off an OSL effect and it just doesn't work, you get that "why is there yellow paint on their arms?" effect.

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11 hours ago, Cyradis said:

Heh. Next time I pick random colors I'll either make a larger pool to have more variation, or try to change tone/saturation of the ones selected in the list of 20. Sorry about that, but hey, part of the challenge :poke:

no, you did good!  It wasn't meant as criticism! ::D:

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7 hours ago, GHarris said:

If you are photographing a miniature NMM gets a slight edge. But if you are viewing a miniature in the round it is true metals all the way. Why? Because NMM will always look wrong if not viewed from those "magic" angles. Remember metals are not like everything else when it comes to highlights- the reflections on metals move with you when you move around the piece wherein the rest of the shadows and highlights on non-metallic areas stay in one place. That is why NMM is "tricky"- you are trying to use a 2D technique on a 3D object. So for an online painting contest NMM will have a slight edge (as you have converted a 3D model into a 2D picture) but if you are doing a live viewing NMM should actually work against you. 

 

My pet peeve on OSL is models that are painted as if they are standing in the broad daylight, then finished off with an OSL effect from something that obviously wouldn't be bright enough to overcome sunlight and cause an OSL effect. Look back at that Ork dread vs Sister fight...notice that the models are painted as if they are in a dark area and the flames actually are bright enough to cause an OSL effect. If those models were in the daylight you would barely get an OSL effect, if you got any OSL effect at all. You need that darkness to make OSL look right.

 

But then you get a model painted as if they were in bright daylight holding a torch or candle that is giving off an OSL effect and it just doesn't work, you get that "why is there yellow paint on their arms?" effect.

I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts on OSL and daylight. My big OSL attempts so far have been entirely in the dark...I need to do one with *some* ambient light at some point! But even then, a low-light environment will be more effective than a daylight environment.

 

Regarding your thoughts on NMM and competition... While I do agree that NMM works best in photographs, I would suggest that if you are faring poorly or well in competition *due entirely to NMM,* then your judges are showing a bias or a lack of expertise with the technique. Even if NMM doesn't "work" as well in-the-hand, the level of skill required to paint it should be apparent, and it should be apparent whether the technique was executed well. I will agree that TMM is likely a burden in online contests, as the skill and application are visible only to the extent that the photography can capture it.

 

All this is why I love the judges at Reapercon... From their generous comments on this forum and in person at the con, I know the three-judges system, as well as the judges' combined expertise means every mini gets a fair shake based on painters' skill rather than bias.

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On the topic of OSL (yet another technique that I want to try at some point) I really appreciate the comments about daylight/darkness/etc. I think this actually really helps me in visualizing it because I was always having trouble visualizing the idea -- almost certainly because I tend to paint the minis as though its daytime still. 

 

This actually gives me some inspiration for possibly trying something for the purpose of OSL -- though that will call into question how good the rest of the model will look with the more or less muted highlights.

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23 minutes ago, Clearman said:

When painting for competition, how much weight gets applied by judges when evaluating the use of either style?  It's always been my impression that NMM is the preferred style.

In some environments, one or the other might be preferred. For a while, NMM was very trendy and considered the more difficult technique... More recently, TMM or shaded metallics has gained a lot of traction, and there's an increasing awareness that it also involved a lot of skill to execute well. IMO, a good judge should not weigh the technique you choose as heavily as how well you execute it (whether we're talking about metallics, OSL, or basic highlighting).

That said, a decently executed NMM is likely to be rated higher than a simple TMM job, not because NMM is "better," but because basic TMM is essentially a three step process (base, wash, highlight) and even the simplest NMM requires very smooth blending. But at the higher levels of painting (things getting any medals at Reapercon, for example), they are both complex techniques.

All that said, I am not a judge. The above is just my understanding gleaned from things I have heard or read from judges, so I may have misunderstood or misrepresented something. If so, I apologise.

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16 hours ago, Corporea said:

ooh, I know this thread is about metal, but on the subject of osl...

 

One of the things that makes the brain cranky about osl is that the light source should always appear as the brightest point on the miniature, and any cast light its... you guessed it: also light.  light is an expanding sphere that loses intensity as it travels farther from the source, right?  So the problems I see with osl are generally twofold: 1)the painter mistakes color for light and ignores value (most common) or 2)there isn't enough basework to support the effect of the lightsource. OSL is always more effective where there is something around the source to catch the reflected light.  There can be no light without shadow. the effect is lessened standing alone.

 

Ok, so what I mean about value is that one must first paint all the highlights as far as we're willing to push them towards white and then think about light color.  I can't just put red paint on a sleeve and make it feel like light.  If there is no highlighting, the color appears flat. The brain will cry foul!

 

ok, I can't find the photos I usually use for this, but here's the dragon thread where I try to explain value. OSL follows those same principle.  This is one reason I do a lot of monochrome painting.  It frees my mind from simply using color as contrast and makes me really push my highlights and shadows to get contrast.

 

 

 Absolutely all of the above. In triplicate. I usually get to about where Corporea mentions in the third paragraph and start snapping my brushes and throwing them about the place..

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As a general rule, what you say seems as though it should ring true, though I might add that if you take two people painting the same mini and both doing a great job with technique, but one chooses to do OSL as well while the other doesn't, I would assume the OSL would get rated higher. Again, assuming the execution is still equal across both.

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Rhonda (Wren) in her OSL class won't even let her students get a hold of the color she uses for the light until after the highlighting is done.  Probably another important thing to consider with OSL is that white is reflective/bright/lighter.  Anything that absorbs light (ie color...) will make less of it get back to our eyes.  So when you put a glaze of a color for a colored light effect over any area, even if it is pure awesome titanium white, you're going to dim the area- make it look less bright.  If you've highlighted up to white elsewhere, the area of you light effect will actually look less bright. You always have to push the highlights in areas of osl higher than you want to compensate.

 

It is frustrating. I cheat and make other areas that much darker to help sell the effect.

 

edit to add: I guess since I judge I can weigh in on the preference stuff.  I don't prefer one style over the other, but I recognize when either technique is done well. Like I said, painters gravitate to one or the other, whichever comes naturally.  There's a huge difference in me trying to do TMM and Rex or Michael- there's would score way higher because they're flat out better at it and I'm still learning.  Likewise, Kuro's NMM is stellar- he's really worked hard on playing with color and effects in his NMM.  We try really hard not to be biased, and always if you have questions after the judging, we're happy to try to explain why we think something went really well or where we see areas for improvement.  Don't stress if you get the "more contrast" comment.  I still get the same when I ask for feedback, too! ;)

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41 minutes ago, Gargs said:

As a general rule, what you say seems as though it should ring true, though I might add that if you take two people painting the same mini and both doing a great job with technique, but one chooses to do OSL as well while the other doesn't, I would assume the OSL would get rated higher. Again, assuming the execution is still equal across both.

This exactly. Some techniques are more advanced than others, because they are more difficult to execute well. And doing two difficult techniques is likely to be harder than doing one (especially since the more difficult techniques don't just add complexity, they tend to multiply it... If you have OSL on top of any kind of metallic, the light source suddenly changes everything about how the metal reads). So a mini with really well executed, basic technique will not likely do as well as one with higher complexity.

 

@Corporea, thanks for weighing in on the judging perspective, it's always helpful!

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10 minutes ago, Sanael said:

If you have OSL on top of any kind of metallic, the light source suddenly changes everything about how the metal reads

 

I think this is a good point.  The OSL glaze over metallic paint would really dull down the refection from the mica.  Wouldn't the overall combination of techniques be a strong argument for using NMM if OSL is desired?

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1 minute ago, Clearman said:

 

I think this is a good point.  The OSL glaze over metallic paint would really dull down the refection from the mica.  Wouldn't the overall combination of techniques be a strong argument for using NMM if OSL is desired?

Maybe?

With the prevalence of colorful metallic paints, I'd bet you could compensate. It would definitely affect the color you used in your light source.

 

My comment was more about the fact that OSL exists either in place of, or in addition to, traditional ("zenithal") lighting schemes... So you suddenly have a very directional (other than overhead) light, or you have two light sources creating reflections off your metal.

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5 hours ago, Sanael said:

Regarding your thoughts on NMM and competition... While I do agree that NMM works best in photographs, I would suggest that if you are faring poorly or well in competition *due entirely to NMM,* then your judges are showing a bias or a lack of expertise with the technique. Even if NMM doesn't "work" as well in-the-hand, the level of skill required to paint it should be apparent, and it should be apparent whether the technique was executed well. I will agree that TMM is likely a burden in online contests, as the skill and application are visible only to the extent that the photography can capture it.

 

All this is why I love the judges at Reapercon... From their generous comments on this forum and in person at the con, I know the three-judges system, as well as the judges' combined expertise means every mini gets a fair shake based on painters' skill rather than bias.

 

I think if anyone is fairing worse in a live painting competition because they didn't use NMM it means you need new painting judges! But sadly many people got caught up in that trend of NMM = better.

 

If we have learned anything in the past few years it is that really painting true metals well also requires a high level of skill, its just that many people are used to thinking that metals are "easy" because you just "basecoat, wash and drybrush". Um....no! Seriously painting metals is very tricky!

 

Even if you paint NMM perfectly, and it looks gorgeous in a picture, you still technically painted metals wrong for a live competition because reflective highlights on metal don't look like that when you see the model from different views. 

 

Mind you, I am not saying NMM is necessarily bad. I am saying that that in a competition you should be thinking about whether your piece is going to be viewed as a 2D object in a picture or a 3D object viewed in the round. I don't want anyone to think I am bashing on the skill that it takes to paint NMM.

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