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1st attempt a nmm could use some advice


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This is a very nice start!  The two things I notice are:

  • The blending between shades isn't very smooth.  For example, on the right side of the blade facing forward, it looks like there are four different shades of paint and there's a visible line at each transition.
  • I feel like the off-black shadow portion of the blade is much longer than it should be.  Compare the length of the shadow at the top of the right side of the blade versus the length of the off-white highlight on the left side.  Assuming the sword is being held straight up, these should be about the same length.  The middle of each blade facing should be painted in the midtone.  (It could be that the dark-but-not-quite-black gray is your midtone, in which case you may need to spend more time blending it towards both the shadow and highlight.)

Between the two, I'd work on the blending first.  It's possible that only fixing the blending will make the sword great.

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4 hours ago, Xiwo Xerase said:

... Assuming the sword is being held straight up, these should be about the same length.


Not a bad artistic choice, for balance, but real metal is seldom so well behaved. I had to photograph metal samples to show the different finishes one time, and getting any kind of gradient across the surface, much less a well-behaved one, is much more difficult than I thought it would be.


25 minutes ago, Asoares said:

Soooooo I think I made it worse



Your blends are nicer, particularly the blend on the side of the sword toward the body of the figure. But to sell the effect, you really need to go all (or at least almost all) the way to white and to black while still maintaining that smoothness. Also, I'd try to keep most of the metal in something like the range you have hear while pushing really hard highlight and shadow into fairly narrow bands.


As an aside, I'd increase the exposure when using that background by about a stop (Exposure Compensation, usually found in some sort of advanced controls on most cell phone camera apps, -> +1.0 or so) and crop out as much of the background as possible, so it's easier to see the mini.

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Hey, for first attempts, you are doing REALLY well! I do think the first photo was better, and that's because it had higher contrast, even if it wasn't as smooth. The second go around got smoother, but at the cost of contrast. Just keep going, pull the brights back to white and the dark back to black in the brightest/darkest regions, and as Doug said, in narrow parts. You got this!

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