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COMPLEMENTARY PRE-SHADING - Trying out a new pre-shading method


Nikola Topalov
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Hi guys,

I am not sure if this fits here but I would like to share this with you:

As some of the folks in the aircraft topic already know, I am trying out a new technique for pre-shading, which I borrowed from my experience in art, painting and colour theory, and which I call COMPLEMENTARY PRE-SHADING for now. Maybe someone has done this before and if so, please share your experience.

My guinnea pig for this one is Tamiya's older and somewhat simpler 1/48 Zeke.

I used complementary colours of the base colour to pre-shade, aiming at more interesting colour variation and contrast. The base colour in this case is IJN Ash Gray, so the complementary colour for pre-shading is purple, Tamiya X-16 to be precise. I also primed the model in Vallejo Dark Yellow primer, this being the complementary of the pre-shading color.

This is more of an artistic than realistic approach, but I like to try and balance both in my models. The colors are much better in reality, but you all know that excuse, haha. Will have to wait for "proper" photos in the end. 

Below are the results. I like it so far, looks promising. 
You be the judges.


Thanks for looking! 

 

Cheers,

Nikola

 

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You can even go further when doing a "virtual light source" method (I don't know the proper name :)) and introduce "warm" colours for pre-shading "cold" base colors in areas which will be in shade and vice versa, "cold" pre-shading for "warm" ones. This is done in painting. 

 

Will try that as well one day. 

 

Best, 

Nikola

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Haven't seen this with classic models, yet. Though I know the technique is used by some of the best figure painters to set the overall mood of a miniature or to guide the eye to important areas.

 

I feel the effect you achieved is subtle but gives a very vivid look to the model without looking out of scale or unrealistic. Good job!

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11 hours ago, Schwarz-Brot said:

Haven't seen this with classic models, yet. Though I know the technique is used by some of the best figure painters to set the overall mood of a miniature or to guide the eye to important areas.

 

I feel the effect you achieved is subtle but gives a very vivid look to the model without looking out of scale or unrealistic. Good job!

Hi Schwarz-Brot, 

 

Thank you for your feedback. Much appreciated! 

Yes, I think the trick with this is that, compared to regular pre-shading, there is a much finer line of "just about right" between not enough base color coverage (looks too unrealistic) and too much coverage (effect lost). 

 

Will see how it develops further. 

 

Could you post some pics of the figures which you have mentioned? I would like to see how they turned out. Thanks in advance. 

 

Best, 

Nikola

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Hard to find something I've seen here and there. As far as I remember this one was done with contrasting colours on the same surface, though not on purpose. http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2015/11/step-by-step-narok.html

Roman is a master of every contrast possible from bright to dark, desaturated to saturated, colour, warmth, you name it...  And he is using his knowledge very well to create true art on his 3d-canvas.

 

Figure painters often use a two-colour approach to prepare their miniatures: Prime in black, then hit with white primer from the direction of the imagined light source. This way setting the overall light situation in a very easy way and pushing the overall contrast with a basic dark-bright contrast. Basically this is nothing else then preshading on a larger scale. You need to know that in advanced figure painting usually the light situation is fully painted, unlike in classic modelling where usually a diffuse even lighting like a cloudy day is "simulated".

The paint used by figure painters is often not very opaque, many use "blending" to achieve smooth colour transitions. Think of working with a multitude of coloured filters, applied layer by layer to build up the final saturation. With this approach the desaturated - saturated contrast is possible, though only few use this to push the overall contrast (Roman is one of them). Usually this is used to guide the eye to some important areas, the face, or maybe a magic spellbook, a little hidden detail in the sculpt in a rather undefined area.

I have seen some tutorials where the shadows were enhanced by painting a contrasting colour to the later visible colour. Then the overall global colour was applied all over. Remember, like a filter. While binding all together, the shadows become very moody and vivid because of the contrasting colour. They also are more saturated then the brighter colour, so "make these pop" even more.

 

This is also typically used to paint beardshadows. Basically before the face is painted the beard is sketched in with a blue, then painted over with the skintones. It of course also works the other way around - paint the whole face, then add a very thinned down blue or even green to add the effect. Can be seen on this one by me: http://www.coolminiornot.com/396737?browseid=8736693

 

Generally the coolminiornot gallery is a great place for inspiration if you filter for the higher rated miniatures. Though you'll find 99% fantasy and scifi figures.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/15/2019 at 11:54 PM, Schwarz-Brot said:

Hard to find something I've seen here and there. As far as I remember this one was done with contrasting colours on the same surface, though not on purpose. http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2015/11/step-by-step-narok.html

Roman is a master of every contrast possible from bright to dark, desaturated to saturated, colour, warmth, you name it...  And he is using his knowledge very well to create true art on his 3d-canvas.

 

Figure painters often use a two-colour approach to prepare their miniatures: Prime in black, then hit with white primer from the direction of the imagined light source. This way setting the overall light situation in a very easy way and pushing the overall contrast with a basic dark-bright contrast. Basically this is nothing else then preshading on a larger scale. You need to know that in advanced figure painting usually the light situation is fully painted, unlike in classic modelling where usually a diffuse even lighting like a cloudy day is "simulated".

The paint used by figure painters is often not very opaque, many use "blending" to achieve smooth colour transitions. Think of working with a multitude of coloured filters, applied layer by layer to build up the final saturation. With this approach the desaturated - saturated contrast is possible, though only few use this to push the overall contrast (Roman is one of them). Usually this is used to guide the eye to some important areas, the face, or maybe a magic spellbook, a little hidden detail in the sculpt in a rather undefined area.

I have seen some tutorials where the shadows were enhanced by painting a contrasting colour to the later visible colour. Then the overall global colour was applied all over. Remember, like a filter. While binding all together, the shadows become very moody and vivid because of the contrasting colour. They also are more saturated then the brighter colour, so "make these pop" even more.

 

This is also typically used to paint beardshadows. Basically before the face is painted the beard is sketched in with a blue, then painted over with the skintones. It of course also works the other way around - paint the whole face, then add a very thinned down blue or even green to add the effect. Can be seen on this one by me: http://www.coolminiornot.com/396737?browseid=8736693

 

Generally the coolminiornot gallery is a great place for inspiration if you filter for the higher rated miniatures. Though you'll find 99% fantasy and scifi figures.

Hi Schwarz-Brot, 

 

Thank you very much! Appreciated! Very interesting and inspirational stuff!

 

 

Best,

 

NIkola

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  • 1 month later...

Hi guys,

 

Just wanted to share with you, in this topic section as well, my rough "virtual test" for the complementary pre-shading method for my current build - P61 Widow. The colors are approximate. Here it goes:

 

Step 1 - Dark yellow primer:

 

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Step 2 - Complementary pre-shading:

 

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Step 3 - Base color:

 

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Bellow - Regular pre-shading for comparison:

 

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Thanks for looking!

 

 

Best,

Nikola

 

Edited by Nikola Topalov
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Hi guys,

Step 1 and 2 (priming and complementary pre-shading) finished:

- Primer - Vallejo German Dark Yellow Surface Primer 73.604
- Complementary pre-shading - Tamiya XF-7 Flat Red (and darker shade of it made by mixing with XF-1 Flat Black) and X-16 Purple.
- Highlights - Tamiya XF-55 Deck Tan

Next step: Base colors - Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab and XF-53 Neutral Gray.

Thanks for looking.


Cheers,

Nikola

 

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Hi gents,

 

Here she is with the first set of thin coats of base color (Tamiya's XF-62 Olive Drab) over the complementary pre-shading scheme.

I think that the color variation should be subtler so I might go with a couple of more thin coats of OD or go straight to filters and do it that way.

I will decide on that when I see the model tomorrow in daylight. 

 

Apologies for the image quality.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

Cheers,

Nikola

 

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Hi guys,

 

Update on the complementary pre-shading effect on the Widow:

 

She received a second set of very thin coats (85%, thinner) this time those being Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow. I chose to lighten the OD with a yellow since OD is actually a mixture of yellow and black. 

The effect of complementary pre-shading is subtle, but I think that it does add richness to the color scheme of the model. 

 

The first couple of photos are taken outside in daylight and the rest is from the study. This is as close as I could get to showing what I actually see in reality without taking fancy photos. 

 

Criticism and comments are more than welcome!

Again, thanks for looking!

 

 

Cheers,

Nikola

 

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Edited by Nikola Topalov
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  • 2 months later...

Hi gents,

 

Just thought that I could share an almost finished work in progress where the subtle effects of Complementary Pre-Shading can be seen after weathering:

 

https://imgur.com/a/jPxnz4l

 

So far, the toughest thing for me is to control paint coverage and weathering so the effect does not get lost.

 

Comments and criticism are more than welcome.

Thanks for looking!

 

Best,

Nikola

Edited by Nikola Topalov
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi gents,

 

This is my current build - Airfix 1/48 Ju87 B-1 Stuka, where I am experimenting with my complementary pre-shading method further.

 

Cockpit primed with German Dark Yellow, then "complementary pre-shaded" with German Red-Brown and highlighted with White. Next is base coat of RLM02.

I chose a red based hue for my complementary pre-shading method again since the RLM02 has a greenish tint to it. This time I decided to experiment with red-brown instead of plain red for pre-shading. We will see what it turns out to be.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

Best,

Nikola

 

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Hi guys,

 

Below are a few photos of the base coat laid over the complementary pre-shading. I tried to represent the true colours as I see them in real life and this is as good as it gets for now with my photographing skills. 🙂

 

The finish itself is not great, as I realized some problems with my compressor and air pressure only after I finished painting (I noticed there was something odd during the process but was stupid and lazy enough not to check immediately). 😕

 

Anyhow, thanks for looking!  

 

Best,

Nikola

 

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  • 6 months later...

To retroactively add a few things:

 

You can see the subtle effects of complementary pre-shading method, but I wish it was a bit more pronounced. I should try to go lighter with the base coat. Some of it gets lost in weathering and washes.

 

Most of this isn't seen anyway so it was more of a practice. 

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Best,

Nikola

 

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More retrospective on the Stuka:

 

Well, I got my multi layer chipping relatively ok, but I completely messed up the rest, as this time, I haven't waited long enough for pre-shading and the base coat to bond properly and started chipping too early resulting in two colors chipping separately.

 

 

Thanks for looking.

 

 

Best,

Nikola

 

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Somehow I have worked my way through multiple layer chipping. 

Not 100% satisfied with the results due to few mistakes I made in one of the early steps, but lesson was learned definitely. 

 

Pre-shading is intentionally left a bit stronger to avoid losing it due to weathering and potential "tonal crush" effect after white decals, wing tips and rudder are done. 

Panel line washes will cover the more reddish tone in the recesses so it should be ok in the end (it's slightly more red in the photos than in real life).

 

Pics below. Thanks for looking guys!

 

Best,

Nikola 

 

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Hi gents,

 

Current work on Eduard's 1/48 Mirage related to experimenting with my Complementary Pre-Shading method:

 

- Vallejo German Dark Yellow primer applied.

- White highlights applied to simulate directional light later on.

- Sticking with my Complementary Pre-shading method and experimenting further, I pre-shaded with purple as it is in the complementary color range to the base color (Vallejo Middlestone) and also to the dark yellow primer.

 

Apologies for awful photos. My phone camera is not very talented. :)

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Best,

Nikola  

 

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Hi gents,

 

A few steps down the line in experimenting with my Complementary Pre-Shading method:

 

First couple of very thin passes of Vallejo Middlestone over the purple and white pre-shading scheme.

The paint withdrew from the panel lines in some spots (maybe it has something to do with it being very thin) but no worries, since more layers are coming along with panel line washes.

 

The color varies in the photos due to my bad phone camera and different lighting conditions. I tried to get it as best as I could.

 

I like it so far. We'll see.

You be the judges. Comments are very welcome.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Best,

Nikola

 

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I like your experiments, the complementary colouring should help break up the colours in a less stark manner than black.  My problem with persuading is laying down a thin enough coat of the final colour.

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3 hours ago, malpaso said:

I like your experiments, the complementary colouring should help break up the colours in a less stark manner than black.  My problem with persuading is laying down a thin enough coat of the final colour.

Hi Malpaso, 

 

Thanks, I am glad you find all this jazz interesting. Appreciated! 

 

I agree with you on that one completely. That is the part I struggle the most with. I guess I need way more mileage to get it right eventually. :)

 

Best, 

Nikola

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Hello Nikola

 

I really respect your new way of pre-shading, i like it when modelers are experimenting for new methods, but to be honest i don't see a advantage to the traditional methods. The purple pre-shading make it look like uncomfortable to my eyes. The mainly problem of pre-shading of the most modelers is that the final coat covering too much the pre-shading.

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7 hours ago, Harry Callahan said:

Hello Nikola

 

I really respect your new way of pre-shading, i like it when modelers are experimenting for new methods, but to be honest i don't see a advantage to the traditional methods. The purple pre-shading make it look like uncomfortable to my eyes. The mainly problem of pre-shading of the most modelers is that the final coat covering too much the pre-shading.

Hi Harry, 

 

Thanks for your feedback! Much appreciated! It's always good to hear what other eyes see. 

 

I agree, that is the thing I struggle most with. Far from having it under control. The effect seems to work in certain spots while completely disappearing in other, latter being more the case. 

 

One thing I like about it is that it creates grays and darker tones which are richer in color that would be with just black, like in painting, as shading with black and tinting with white dulls the vibrance of the colours.

 

I might use complementary postshading to try and enhance the effect, or even try complementary basing to see what it creates. 

 

 

Best, 

Nikola

Edited by Nikola Topalov
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Hi gents,

 

Base coat finished - a few more thin coats of Vallejo Middlestone applied, followed by lightened version of the same, with a yellow filter applied over the whole model in the end. 

 

I like the color modulation, but in some areas I have lost the pre-shading effect which I will have to regain with post-shading later on.

 

Next - masking of the camo pattern and painting the second colour.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Best,

Nikola

 

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