Saturday, January 3, 2009

Metallics and photography

OK, I did a little bit of this yesterday, but I managed to finish the armor on my warriors today despite being groggy and having family obligations. I actually started this yesterday, but had to wait until the wash dried. I ended up finishing Gandalf while I waited.

By the way, all of these pictures in the blog can be clicked to call up a full size photo.

This first shot is of the warriors after washing them with the GW black wash. It gives the armor a nice used look while creating shadows in the detail. I've included the test models on either side as comparison.

This is a different group of the same batch with a tankdrush applied drybrush of Chainmail. This removed the dingy tone from the armor without overwhelming the wear and shadowing.

This is the first group of five (I realized I'd photographed the wrong group in time to fix the mistake here) with a highlight of Mithril Silver applied lightly to the detail and the high points.

It's tough to see a heck of a lot of difference in the photos, but in real life the difference is dramatic. A lot of people seem to think that metallics just highlight themselves, but this really isn't the case. I definitely have found that using washes to bring out the shadows and drybrushing brings the detail of the model out really well and adds a lot of depth. Having seen far, far too many of these models with nothing but a quick block paint of Mithril Silver, I can personally attest that the extra work done here was worth it.

I think one of the reasons the difference doesn't come out too well in the photos is that I'm just using my quick and dirty photo setup. It's essentially the two lights that I use for painting just pointed directly at the models from about a 45 degree angle in front of and above. This gives a sharp reflection off of the metallic paint which the more diffuse light we normally see doesn't have. I also just have the camera set to Auto in Macro mode with the flash turned off. If I really took the time to reflect the light and set the shutter speed they would come out a lot better. Ah, well, I just don't care that much right now. I'll probably try to do a better setup for my pictures of the finished army.

I also use daylight spectrum bulbs in order to see my colors in the most accurate light possible, though I wonder sometimes if this is really necessary considering that paint judging is rarely done in such light. I remember the light in Vegas was so bad we had to ask the staff to turn the lights up in order to see the detail on the models. I was wishing I'd brought my little camera and tripod to Vegas - there were some gorgeous armies there.

Speaking of Vegas - I was shocked to realize that apparently GW decided running GTs was too much of a hassle, including Vegas! I haven't heard any official word on this, but the circuit that has been published is all Indy tournaments. It's great in my mind that they're encouraging high quality events, but with no official event, even in Baltimore, it kind of leaves me feeling left out. Vegas in particular was a huge hit with a waiting list for almost all the systems.

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