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GodOfCheese

Reflected source light on water?

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I'm painting a mini with a light source, and decided to rebase the beastie with some water effects, probably epoxy resin.  I'll probably try to make the water at least slightly rough, creating interest for the eye.  I woke up in a cold sweat this morning realizing that the light source should be reflected (or possibly just highlighted) in/on the water. 

 

My initial thought was to:

  1. lightly (heh) color the bottom of the pool as if it were dry and lit by the light source
  2. pour and texture the water
  3. highlight the water by drybrushing from the light source out.

 

My concern about this is that if the viewer looks toward the light, the surfaces of any wavelets will be highlighted on the opposite side from the POV.  In other words, the viewer will see the undersides or backsides of any highlights through the translucent wavelets, and this might not look the way the viewer expects.

 

Has anyone done this?  I looked around for a few examples but although there are plenty of doing wave effects (froth and foam), I haven't found any yet that look like translucent glare.  

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Painted specular reflections (the core of what makes NMM) can really only look right from a single point of view. You can live with the single preferred point of view; it's not a terrible thing. You can even force a single PoV if you do something like a shadow box.

 

You can also get away with an assumed zenithal light source (presumably the sun), but if you want a light trail on water (for instance), that's going to be point-of-view limited.

 

As to drybrushing, be aware that the technique adds texture. If the water is rough enough, that's not necessarily a problem. And foam is opaque anyway, so opaque paint can work. If you're intending a rippled surface, dry-brushing with opaque paint is probably not going to do what you want.

 

 

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My only comment: I've done a lot of bases with both 2 part epoxy resin and Woodland Scenics Water Effects. The epoxy is great for smooth surfaces; I'm not sure how one would make ripples that don't smooth themselves out. For that I'd use Water Effects.

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As the epoxy resin starts to set, it's possible to blow air (through a straw or with with an empty airbrush, for instance) to get surface ripples that are still present when the epoxy is set.

 

Water Effects or acrylic gel medium are easier, though.

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I had planned to use epoxy resin and then add clear caulk to the top to create the ripples, but now I totally want to try the straw technique.  I don't need much rippling-- the figure's on top of rocks and I want to make it look like the rocks have vibrated the water.

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6 minutes ago, GodOfCheese said:

I had planned to use epoxy resin and then add clear caulk to the top to create the ripples, but now I totally want to try the straw technique.  I don't need much rippling-- the figure's on top of rocks and I want to make it look like the rocks have vibrated the water.

 

Timing is important. If you do it too early, it has no effect. If you wait too long, you get no ripples.

 

Also, don't hyperventilate and face-plant into the epoxy. It's not a good look. :poke:

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