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Phinn

How to choose colours?

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One thing that frustrates me when I paint, and thus keeps me away from painting, is that after finishing a section of a model I suddenly realize that it just doesn't work. How does one choose colours that neither look boring nor clash.
I have been reading or watching YouTube videos about colour theory and such (like this one for example) and I think that it is a little bit better now, but still...

Do you have any personal rules when it comes to miniature painting? Questions that you ask yourself before deciding on a colour scheme?

If you would take your time, post a photo of a model and shortly talk about what made you to choose those colours on those particular parts I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you :)

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I simply google a shit ton of pics, looking for Inspiration in other painted Minis or Artworks for color scemes, while using a few connecting Elements (for example every Guild Model got a red piece of clothing somewhere; my Neverborn often have a hue of turquoise and so on)

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I think it would be easier if you'd post pics of the painted models. You might learn a lot more when we discuss your models than show you what we painted. Don' t be shy: we all started at some point.

When I paint models after finishing the first colors usally it looks like a clash of colors. But with more adding in the shadows and highlights all falls together.

When I do quickpaints I cover most of the model (or all of it) in the same wash. Mostly Army Painter's Strong Tone. This puts all of the colors together.

When I put more effort in my painting. I usally try to mix the same color in the shadows and nearly everytime mix the same color into the highlights (Vallejo Model Color Ivory). Another very good idea is to shose one color as the mood color and put a little drop of it into all the colors you use. This should avoid a clash of different colors.

If your painting looks boring chose a contrast and add small details with it. This gives a strong focus.

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Thank you, guys :)

@Butch, I actually have a painting... blog?, I guess, here on Wyrd forums - Of Swampfiends and Men. I post pictures of a new miniature every three or so months though :D
Here are some pictures to demonstrate what I was talking about.

Picture No. 1 - Silurid
2eQoYBE.gif
I was affraid that he would look boring so I decided to make his crest red to contrast with the green I used mostly. I thought that it should work because red and green make brown which I used as a transition. It looks very harsh though. I added few red leaves and it helped a little bit, but...
Should I have used different tone of red or not use red at all?

Picture No. 2 - Silurid II
7qABQpz.gif
This is the miniature I painted after the previous Silurid. The base looks more rich now so ignore how dull it looks, please.
This time I decided to make it more interesting by adding a pattern on it's back which I am satisfied with. If I would paint it now, though, I would make darker shadows.
As you can see I stayed away from red this time and used a greenish blue. I can't help but to think that it's missing something.

Picture No. 3 - Bad Juju
uRyCNju.jpg
Once again the red looks too harsh but when I finished the model I felt like it looked boring. Red gems are supposed to represent Soulstones. There is ten of them on the miniature - eight for the model, two for Eternal Fiend upgrade.
This time I made shadows darker which I like, but the choice of colours was once again... suboptimal I would say.

These three are probably the most problematic I would say.

Don't be affraid to be pedantic, I would like to improve as a painter :)

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I love them all!

If you think the red comes to hrash, maye try a desaturated red. Or try to mix one with the red you used and a very little drop of the green.

You are already a very good painter. So maybe you get some cheap miniatures (or a miniature board game) and do some quickpaints while experimentating with colors.

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Thank you :)

I have been watching a lot of painting tutorials lately and have been reading as well to understand how colours interact. My "style" is still very undeveloped - still figuring out what I like and what not. As I said the choice of colours is the biggest problem for me. I also try to pay more attention to bases now.

@Butch, I think that your suggestion of desaturated red is the answer I was looking for :)

@Franchute, I was allways tempted by the Monthly painting challenge, but I am a very slow painter. I think that in 2018 I will try the lowest tier, to motive myself to paint more :) I really like miniature painting, it's just that playing videogames or watching movies after a long day at school is... just easier :/

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You are painting very well, with great care for details and clean colours. I expecially love your Picture No. 2 - Silurid II.

Personally, I think that digital cameras evidence details that the bare human eyes cannot appreciate.  I go after a Game Level painting and, most of time, I do not care details that bare eyes cannot see.  But that is a consequence of my past intererst for large scale miniature battles, where players deploy tons of models assembred in units. When you have to get hundres of minis for a game you have not time to care details and that do not help improving your painting skill. Anyway, most important thing, you must be happy with the result of your efforts.

Guess the monthly painting challenge is aimed to support  a regular production of painted models along the year, rather than to encourage high level of painting. But that's just the way I interpretated that, and may be I'm wrong. :lol:

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6 hours ago, Purple Mist said:

Guess the monthly painting challenge is aimed to support  a regular production of painted models along the year, rather than to encourage high level of painting. But that's just the way I interpretated that, and may be I'm wrong. :lol:

What you say definitely does make sense but the thing is that the best way to become a better painter in my opinion is simply to paint more and so for me it is not about motivating myself to paint a lot of models but rather to paint more :)
I enlisted into the lowest tier - 1-5 SS/month - even though out of my 10 unfinished models 6 cost 6 SS (Waldgeists and Stitched Togethers) and one is a Master that counts as 15 I think. And in the future I would like to purchase Adze (7 if I remember correctly) and McTavish (10 I believe). The reason is that this gives me freedom to paint whatever I feel like :) Like Mysterious Effigy, jus because I really like the model.

On the other hand... it definitely would be nice to have all the models finally painted and not play with just a grey mass :D

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I have also registered on Guildball forums to contact Mako because he has been off-line here for more than a year and he was so nice that he sent me the article he wrote about colour theory which I wasn't able to find anywhere (the links he posted here were long dead).
If someone is interested I could PM it to you :)

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On 10/12/2017 at 9:14 PM, Tors said:

I simply google a shit ton of pics, looking for Inspiration in other painted Minis or Artworks for color scemes, while using a few connecting Elements (for example every Guild Model got a red piece of clothing somewhere; my Neverborn often have a hue of turquoise and so on)

+1

For my lady justice crew, I work in red in every miniature somewhere, there are a lot of browns and greys in their clothing but then I use a turquoise/blue for the flame and i try and use this as an accent color. This ties the crew together but I still have a lot of freedom in color schemes. Especially for malifaux I like to work some bright colors into at least most models.

 

large.5a1a877b61a5d_Seishin1.jpg.9a0ccb3544615265b104b90e9cd5ced1.jpg

Another example is this seishin. I looked up a lot of pictures of dragons. I then think about my entire crew going forward, I want to use a sort of ghostly green/blue color throughout my spirit models, this jade green is quite a strong color so I then think with what colors can I combine this to get a nice contrast but no clashing colors. An obvious combo is the bronze and jade, and I then made some contrast between the bronze and dark browns. That is basically the thought process. 

In some particular case though some elements of a model just give me an idea and I then alter the paint scheme around that. For example when I saw the artwork of the will o' wisps I immediately thought monarch butterfly wings, which has oranges and browns, I paint my neverborn crews with very natural colors browns and greens and some bright lime green as an accent, and this fits perfectly as well.

large.IMG_20170629_225255.jpg.e4c54242f2ef5fa2ac326609bc4a50b6.jpglarge.IMG_20170629_225307.jpg.e55fb92290f7b207f2b43e7c2ba0c555.jpg

And to conclude, an example of how using an accent color can give an otherwise bland paint scheme (trees are usually brownish, greyish, greenish) that little extra.

large.IMG_20171005_181503.jpg.decdb8ee2e35fba4c6787a01e1e33a93.jpg

 

And I believe the most important tips are to look at a lot of pictures and other miniatures to get inspiration and then just try things out and improve your skills.

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I really like your swampfiends Phinn!

I don't think Juju looks boring but if you use muted swampy colours you will not get dramatic contrast. One way to create contrast when the colours are similar is through light/dark. The brown and greens seem to be similar in both saturation and brightness. I do think Juju is a tricky model for dramatic contrasts since he is supposed to be a pile of goo so you really want muted natural colours. 

 

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Hi man, you have a good hand, nice transitions and clean on details, I'll try to explain your fealing about "something wrong" on your colours palette.

1st silurid one:

Red crest is very attracting for my eyes, So I think you're a bit frustrate because you generally want the face is the most attracting detail.

This is because hot colours are more attractive that cold (red is hottest than green), saturated color are more attractive that desaturated (red and green they're almost at the same level). You can compare that with the tongue, that is a less interesting detail than the crest simply because more desaturated. (more black or white you add on your basic mescula less is the colour saturation)

Red is also a complementary of green, this mean you have the maximum contrast, this is good because your mini is a 2 colour scheme.

 

At this point what you can do for shift focus from the crest to the face? I simply suggest to work on contrast on the face volumes, specifically adding more light and / or adding some textures / detailes.

Maybe you can also add some red "scales/skin irregularity" dots on the head, so your eyes will be attracted at the same level than the crest.

You can also add interesting detail on the skin in general (cuts , wrins, textures) with yellow, red, brown, so the eyes will move to the crest so watch something else. 

 

I wanna compare with my very last work (please keep focus on colours):

4x4J55a.png

I have the maximum contrast from skin and monkey wrench and form skin and pants (the main parts of the model). Anyway to keep attention on the body (and mainly the head) I tryed to keep the skin as the most saturated part (there's hot blood under the skin so this is usually sature atleast you're in the middle of a glacier) and I spent more time working on volumes to exasperate them. I chose neutral/desaturated/cold colours for Gloves, hat and vest details because i want no focus on them. Red or saturated yellow gloves will shift the focus on them (peripheral zones) moving away from the face, and this is generally wrong alteast you intentionally want that.

While painting I realized it was hard for me to keep focus on the face because the model has non neck and a strange chin so the face was not so simple to enlight in a standard way, I tryed to make it more interesting  adding detail (pimples are totally freehand), trying to work on contrast in skintone, trying to give focus on glasses (glasses helped me a lot) and keep a very neutral tone on the hat (I want focus on the face not on the hat!). I also make a dark zone on the monkey wrench at the sides of the face.

 

 

 

2nd silurid one: I like more, it's interesting because green dots (textures), yellow and green are near on the colour scheme, the most enlighned part is still the face, so the focus is in the right place. The only part I don't like much is the rock because too much innatural (no texture, any shadow). Nice work.

 

 

3rd: Joju. U worked a lot. It's really well painted. On the green volumes you spent time with light and shadow. The hands are really well done.

But the focus is still only on the wrong part of the model (the red crystal). The model is simply not interesting. My eyes go on crystal first, on red foliage then, on the crockdile head at the end. This is wrong. Brown bone is too much neutral, too much anonimous. Do something on the head. Blood, add textures, exasperate the contrast. What i suggest In this case is a very very cold light coming out from the eyes hole. Azure or pink/purple. All your model is in warm colours palette, a cold single detail will take focus for sure!

 

 

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Agreeing with above a bit.  You paint really well and I'm sure the pictures do not give enough justice to your work.  I'm curious if perhaps it is that the greens are so warm and light for most of the model, that perhaps they do not show off enough of the contours and edges.  Although there is great layering and fine work, because of the contrast of the red on BJ I also look to those areas and the rest of the grass seems more muted.  Some darker greens possible wash in some areas would allow more texture to pop from those larger patches and pull the eye into the details instead of them being more fuzzy.

 

Just my thoughts.

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Wow, so many great advices. Thank you, guys :) I will have to read them few more times thought because there is a lot to think about.

@Piccio, here is the front of the model. I tried to draw focus to it's face - painted it lighter, but unfortunately not light enough, and painted Voodoo Doll (the thing that actually is the bad juju after which the model is named, if I am not mistaken) light as well and in this... colour I can't describe very well :D Light brown with red tint.
5E8IfBs.jpg

Seems like I should learn more about saturation/desaturation of colours :)

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ahah I'm really sorry, I don't have the model and I forgot the previous picture was the back! :P

The front is fine, the doll is an attractive point located symmetrically to the red gem and this is good.

Maybe If you want to force the primary focus on the monster you can work on eyes with a cold colour, maybe purple if you want to joke about secondary colours (orange-green-purple).

for example:

 tumblr_nm6dsuqc6U1so6hfmo4_500.jpg

 

I like your model, but If you're still not satistyed and you think the green mass is still flat you can also try to work more on light and shadow adding some intense light (almost yellow-white):

P4170040.JPG

and very dark green on the most shadowed zones

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSBj2842is51IILk9BuOey

mondo-moss-tundra-1.jpg

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I am not going to repaint any of the models I posted, since they are already varnished, I want to know what to do better next time :)
Bigger difference between highlights and shadows is definitely something I should focus on, looking at the models.
This is great, very helpful :)

OK, the first model I would like to paint in 2018 in Monthly Painting Challenge is Zoraida. I have been puting it aside to get more experiance first but this way I would never get to her :D

What would be some general rules?
Lighter face than the rest of the model I guess? Should her hands and legs be darker than her face or the same?

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some other random tips about colours:

distance: warm colours are near, cold are far.

fealing: warm colours are joy, power, passion, cold are calm, relaxing, sad

green can be warm but also cold.

contrast: a primary colour (yellow) has the maximum contrast when placed near the opposite (purple).

adding black or white to a colour you will "remove" colour form your current colour (desaturation)

Kandinsky art is really fashinating about colour use, colours have quantity and form. Why he use more yellow than blue? And why yellow is a triangle and blue is a sphere?

 

:D

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Piccio said:

distance: warm colours are near, cold are far.

Would you kindly post a picture that explains how this can be used? I must admit that I have no idea what this means in practice :D

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5 minutes ago, Phinn said:

I am not going to repaint any of the models I posted, since they are already varnished, I want to know what to do better next time :)
Bigger difference between highlights and shadows is definitely something I should focus on, looking at the models.
This is great, very helpful :)

OK, the first model I would like to paint in 2018 in Monthly Painting Challenge is Zoraida. I have been puting it aside to get more experiance first but this way I would never get to her :D

What would be some general rules?
Lighter face than the rest of the model I guess? Should her hands and legs be darker than her face or the same?

When painting I'll try to follow some rules:

- the concept of zenithal light, every single volume has the max light in the higher zone, the maximum shadow in the bottom zone. The lights in the higher parts of the model generally should be the most enlightned zones, the lights in the bottom part of the model are really less enlighned.

- the concept of focus point, the observer has to watch first what I want he have to watch. A different colour, an enlightned zone.... Break the zenithal rule if necessary!

- the concept that in 28mm contrast should be more extreme than in real, models has to be less flat as possible. And small volumes/details results more visible.

- experimenting colour and tecnique as much as possible

- mixing colour try always to obtain the colour you should have already in your head.

 

we're lucky to have some very good professional painters here, I'll hope they will post something too.

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7 minutes ago, Phinn said:

Would you kindly post a picture that explains how this can be used? I must admit that I have no idea what this means in practice :D

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSVix7HFLKMN55bxYz3U_7

Is sky far or near than the grain camp?

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Hi,

I can't really add anything other that that I agree that getting a feeling for colour comes from experimenting, ressource material and theory. And use what you have learned to make more 'educated guesses' when it comes to mixing and choosing paint.

 

I honestly think your miniatures show that you have both skill and sense for colour. So you might be a bit too hard on yourself (I know that feeling when you are unsatisfied...)

Take Bad Juju for example. The colours are fine. Red and green is a very high contrast (probably a slightly more hue into the magenta range would have reduced contrast) but I don't think that this is a problem. What I would do if it was my miniature would be to add more contrast into the greens, i.e. make deeper shadows. If you take a look from a bit afar, the voodoo doll attached to his front sticks out alot (nice brown by the way) which is because it is very sculptural (I hope I'm using the right term  here, in German it's 'plastisch'). The moss on the other hand almost apears fla tin contrast. Here you could try to darken it a bit (especially were the light wouldn'thit from above) by using a darker green. If you want to experiment, mix green with purple, or even use a purple glaze, it should be more vivid than adding brown or black to your green.

 

 

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