Sunday, November 15, 2015

Liber Metallica with Dave Taylor

AdeptiCon Seminar - Painting Metal

Extreme Range from Light to Dark
With AdeptiCon 2016 fast approaching (pre-registration starts 11/23) and a recent win in This Is Not A Test landing me a free Depend O' Bot ($6.50), I wanted to finish a post I started after AdeptiCon 2015. If you find yourself at a convention that offers seminars, you should take a hard look at them. Many conventions find amazing talent to provide a wide array of seminars or hands-on experiences to gain new skills or to see the approach the instructor takes. In this instance, I took Dave Taylor's Liber Metallica seminar. (While you are on Dave's sight, be sure to check out his latest project - Building a Titan, a Legio Crucius Warlord Titan) As it happens, this will be offered again a few times at AdeptiCon and if you have ever painted up figures, this is a helpful course. Though the focus is on metal figures, there are important discussions that cross over to any miniature.

Top Lit Bronze Statue
The basic premise of the course is understanding how to work on a model from the top down to provide the right lighting scheme for the model. During the course, Dave took us through some basic concepts of lighting and used a fantastic slide deck of images that demonstrated what he was saying. For each image, we walked through the image itself and the lighting of it as well as dissecting the color range/spectrum used as well as the color palette used. Not being an art major or aficionado, this was very helpful to me to learn more about color theory and spectrum. If you don't have a color wheel, it is a good investment if  you plan to use color theory for your painting. 

One of the main take aways from the class is to prepare the lighting from top to bottom. As if the light were coming down from above the model. As Mathieu Fontaine says light to dark from top to bottom. Matt works in spheres. Think of a sphere where light is on top, The brightest spots are on top and the darkest is underneath. If you break your models down into spheres and manage light/dark in the same manner for each section the end will capture the same lighting effect though the entire model. The bronze statue image shows this well, where the light source is from the top so the peaks at the top are the brightest then transition into midtones and darker tones quickly. 

Garden Sphere Sculpture Vatican
With highly polished metallic it is also important to recall that the metal should reflect the environment around it. To accomplish this, use shades on metallic surfaces (polished steel/silver) to reflect environment. Shadows of bright/polished metals will have shadows hued from the environment. In the image below of the sphere sculpture, you can see how the super high mirror finish of the silver sphere reflects the surrounding environment entirely. Even with this highly colorful sphere, you notice that the top is essentially white where the light strikes the sphere and the bottom where the sphere touches the garden goes to nearly black. 

Liber Metallica Miniature
During the seminar, Dave does specific coverage of painting steel/silver, gold, and bronze finishes and you get a chance to practice this painting style on a miniature. For the practice miniature, we got a great robot soldier model, I don't recall the producer. I have had this model sitting around since AdeptiCon 2015, but not taken the opportunity to paint it up fully. After a recent This Is Not A Test game where I managed to recover a Depend O' Bot in the post game and the upcoming pre-registration (I'm already registered through Geek Nation Tours), I saw a great opportunity to finish this model and post up about Dave's seminar. 

Liber Metallica Miniature
Unfortunately some unexpected events have occurred over the last couple of weeks which has prevented me from getting much painting done. The facility my wife was running was sold, which was not unexpected; but the sale was delayed twice and she ended up with lots of requests that kept her at work for 2 straight weeks. Add to that death of my grandfather and not much painting got done. I expect all of that to change very soon though and to see lots more production again. 

Seminar Bonus: Dave provided to us his super secret metal wash in a handy dropper bottle. And because he is such a great guy, he gave us the super secret metal wash formula as well. Dave uses this wash for a wide variety of applications, though large metal is a different process. I may attempt to take that class during AdeptiCon 2016. The exact details of the wash are missing, but you can play with the volume of each to get the desired wash you like.

Supper secret wash
  • Charred brown
  • Vallejo black (game color)
  • German camp black brown (model color)
  • Water and matte medium

Wash over metallics can dull sheen. Go back to highlight to bring back up to desired level.

Bonus tip: For items such as gems, sensors, and lenses; paint them up using the above described process then use layers of successive coats of gloss varnish. When you reach the desired level of shine on the gems, stop. Make sure to allow the varnish to dry completely between each layer.