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valhallan42nd

A great comparison of blending techniques

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FYI, this is not my article, but I think it's a good guide to highlighting (ha!) the differences in these techniques. You can find the original article here:

http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/0/666562.page#8197947

749598_sm-3%20Shading%20Techniques%20for

As you can see, when you stand back a little and are not blowing things up to 10x the size, they all look just fine. On the tabletop, one isn't really distinguishable from the other, so there certainly isn't a best way to do these.

On closer inspection, however, you can really see the difference between the techniques, even though all of them essentially use Ushbanti Bone, Screaming Skull, Pallid Wych Flesh, and Seraphim Serra (wash). Just to go over them:

1. The Leftmost sergeant is painted using the most basic method: basecoat, wash, then layer up.

The real advantage is speed and ease -- it's really easy to do, and doesn't take a lot of effort. The downside is that even though I've feathered the edges a little, you can definitely see the bands of colors, as well as the brushstrokes, if you hold it up close. Because layering works by leveraging the translucency of acrylic paints, you can see some areas work out better than others, and in some cases, colors peek through a little where it's not desired. The problem with layering is that a lot of these problems aren't easy to solve because while it's easy to layer UP (brighter) it's much harder to undo that and layer down towards the next band. So, if you're fixing a problem, you want to make sure you're not making it worse by over brightening a band.

2. The second sergeant is painted using a glazing, followed by highlights.

I like the soft look and very smooth transition of glazes. You can see that even when blown up, you don't really see any brushstrokes at all. The downside is that glazes take forever. Essentially, a glaze is a bit of paint mixed with medium (like Lahmian), applied onto the surface, and then feathered out with more medium with no paint at the edges. The challenge here is that, if you want it to be smooth, you need to gradually darken the surfaces. That means lots of lightly tinted glazes, because once you overdarken it, you're in trouble, because lighting it (with a glaze) is not really trivial. To do that takes a zillion thin layers of a lighter glaze, and you run the risk of the whole thing looking milky and not crisp. You also REALLY have to wait til each glaze dries, or it just turns into a mess.

Practically, what this means is that, because I'm not patient enough, my glazed tabards don't have less contrast. c944477abc92c1c101da485e07ff06d8.gif

On the plus side, glazes are dead easy to apply. They require a little bit of practice, and hardly any skill. If you're doing a whole bunch of bits at the same time, the wait time between glazes is a little less aggravating.

3. The third model, the standard bearer, has his tabard wet blended.

You can see that there are some brushstrokes (though few, and I like the way they reinforce the flow of the cloth), but this technique has two huge advantages. First of all, if you're decent at it, it takes hardly any time at all, and you can go back and forth between lightening and darkening the areas. Second, you can get a lot more controlled contrast in a lot less time, and it allows you to have the very thin slivers of dark that you can't get using glazing. Personally my favorite technique, but it definitely requires the most practice to master.

Hope that helps c944477abc92c1c101da485e07ff06d8.gif

 

Edited by valhallan42nd
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A great post. The downside with wet-blending that isn't listed is that you can't handle interruptions. You have to be able to apply the paint and blend it...if you get interrupted it dries and your screwed. I would love to use wet blends, but I deal with a lot of interruptions so I can't really do it. Layering allows you to deal with those interruptions because you can stop and pick it up later no problem........that's why I was kinda forced into using that technique.

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A great post. The downside with wet-blending that isn't listed is that you can't handle interruptions. You have to be able to apply the paint and blend it...if you get interrupted it dries and your screwed. I would love to use wet blends, but I deal with a lot of interruptions so I can't really do it. Layering allows you to deal with those interruptions because you can stop and pick it up later no problem........that's why I was kinda forced into using that technique.

Have you tried using a wet palette? My friends swear by them, but I've never really used them.

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I always do....it was directly responsible for one of my largest jumps in skill. But paint drying on the palette isn't the issue....it's drying on the model once you put it on...with wet blending you put it on, then blend it in.....if you get stalled before you get to blend it or during, it dries on the model.

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Thanks for sharing! I can see the different effects, but don't really understand what the difference between the techniques 'layering' and 'glazing' is. Is it that you thin your paints more for glazing, or is there something else?

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Layering is just the standard, progressive lighter colours for brighter areas. Glazes apply very thinned coats of paint over a layered approach to ease the colour transitions and make things appear smoother.

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I find the most ambiguous technique is "wet blending" as lots of people use the same term to describe different techniques. 

Some use it to describe mixing two colours on the model , others  use it to describe painting along water gradient, etc.

 

For instance I use a version of two brush blending that I would call wet blending,  it's very quick and extremely effective,using only using a single brush stroke to create each blend ,  takes the most practice I find but once you have it the world is yours, so long as it involves paint and little soldiers. 

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Glazes for the win.

My method of painting is glaze heavy to the max. I usually paint 2-3 similar models at the same time. 

I think glazes are the best - you can do a lot with them (layering or even using glaze and washes for effects) and I always begin the glazing with a base coat that will be my "brightest" highlight and glaze to darkest then add a bunch of effects (blood, rust, weathering, battle damage - whatever looks appropriate and makes it a little more busy and interesting).

I'd rather have a busy model than a simple one and working from bright to dark is great because I never want my models to be too pretty or too bright. Sometimes I do have to bring the highlight back up because I make it too dark but I tend to go one or two ones downs from "typical" - trying to stay away from a cartoony look.

Blanchitsu was a major influence on me when I first started to actually give a shit about painting - creepy dark scary ugly stuff with lots of personality. I like to think that my stuff is a more mainstream take on Blanche's work and more conservative or choosey on the effects side.

Dark and nasty all the way. Pretty is for elves. >8)

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Good find on the comparison.

Blending might be faster but I'm too stubborn to change my ways.

I've never tried a wet palette before... hmmmmmm... didn't think much about it honestly - but if dgraz says so it must be good. I think I'll look into it . :D 

Edited by SpectreEliteGaming
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Interesting.

- He is missing two brush blending (Mike McVey's water gradient technique).  That's a real shame, because I actually use it for a different effect than these other techniques that he is using.

- He is also clearly better at one of them than the others, and that colors his results a lot.  To be honest, I've seen some pretty spectacular pieces made with pretty much every blending technique, so his comparison falls flat for me.

- The best painter I know if Marike Reimer, and she uses all techniques for blending, plus one of her own (we'll call it the Smoosh Technique; it involves putting two different shades of paint on the same brush).

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