Skin Spots or Skin Variations
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Thread: Skin Spots or Skin Variations

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    Newbie, please be gentle konales's Avatar
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    Default Skin Spots or Skin Variations

    Hello, just looking for a good tutorial or tips relating to age/skin spots, or natural skin variations (e.g., spots on an animal, etc.). My first attempt at these is going to be exaggerated as they will be placed randomly on some 40k Tyranid. I tried some tyranid with decent results, but it looks more like spots on the flesh than something naturally occurring. I also have an idea in mind that will need to look much more subtle and very natural (not alien).

    My first attempts used some very dilute small/tight blending with some tone variations layered over each other. I am thinking that the next step would be a glaze with the skin tone, but this just mutes the spot and it just starts to look a bit lighter and not something that is part of the skin (either at the surface or just below). I would think a technique like this could be applied to aged tattoos as well?

    I would appreciate some thoughts. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by konales View Post
    Hello, just looking for a good tutorial or tips relating to age/skin spots, or natural skin variations (e.g., spots on an animal, etc.). My first attempt at these is going to be exaggerated as they will be placed randomly on some 40k Tyranid. I tried some tyranid with decent results, but it looks more like spots on the flesh than something naturally occurring. I also have an idea in mind that will need to look much more subtle and very natural (not alien).
    Welcome to the Coffin Dodgers expertise area.
    I've a large patch of "Age spots" on my shins caused following a bad fall and sliding scrape a few years ago.
    In essence they are a cluster of spots some 50% darker than my normal skintone (British milkbottle white) and form a random cluster running up the front of the shin and around to the inside of the calf.
    Under normal circumstances I'd suggest that the few of these used on a model the better, but with a Tyranid perhaps a larger cluster may work better.

    Jen Haley did an article a while ago about painting freckles in may be on her site. http://www.paintrix-miniatures.com/

    Or possibly it was Marike Reimer's http://www.destroyerminis.com/
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
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  3. #3

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    Your query covers a lot of ground and it's probably best to split it into two separate categories both in how you'd think about it and approach the painting.

    On spots on skin, first thing to bear in mind is that most spots aren't as dark as they appear; surround anything dark with a lot of a lighter colour and it'll look darker than it is (and same deal in reverse).

    This means it's very easy to mix a colour that looks great on the palette but you find it's too dark when applied to the skin - so mix, test on the skin colour, adjust if necessary, test, etc.

    You can do freckles, age spots, moles, pimples, anything of this sort using a thin application of a dark colour but I think it's better to mix for the exact colour you want, that way no matter how heavily the mixture is applied it won't end up too dark (exactly the same as with shaved hair, which can be done both ways).

    Ignoring how skin mixtures are created since you may not be working just on human skin, the simplest approach to mixing is to take a colour around what you think you'll need - a brown or whatever - and then blend it about halfway with a bit of the appropriate skin mix (mix by eye, not 1:1) and check it against the model to see how it looks. This might seem a lot lighter than the colour you

    Last and one of the most important issues is placement, which is tricky. It's very hard to manually paint a truly random pattern, although you can get a lot better at it with practice. Most early attempts are awful, so don't despair if this happens when you try it! You're not the only one. It can take a lot of practice to get good at this so unless you want to play with spattering to apply the paint expect to have to do a few trial runs.

    ...

    With fur markings or skin patterns you may not need to adjust the darker colour. A bit of the underlying colour might be mixed with it, but the black/dark brown/whatever could look fine straight from the bottle depending on the effect you're going for. The main difficulty here isn't the colour since with this kind of thing the colour is usually more pronounced, it's in getting the patterning - shape and spacing - right.

    You have to practice to get this down; refer to references as much as possible but you're still unlikely to nail it first time, so practice a couple of times before expecting good, consistent results.

    Once you've achieved the kind of look you want keep that on hand and refer to it as you paint your minis - one of the only ways to keep the pattern consistent is to constantly check against your 'master' example.

    Quote Originally Posted by konales
    I am thinking that the next step would be a glaze with the skin tone, but this just mutes the spot and it just starts to look a bit lighter and not something that is part of the skin (either at the surface or just below). I would think a technique like this could be applied to aged tattoos as well?
    Yes, that's one of the ways people commonly do tattoos and similar markings to make them look as though they're part of the skin. You're basically mimicking what happens in reality with a tattoo, e.g. black ink partially veiled by the skin colour, which is why it can work so well.

    Alternatively you can just mix directly for the colour and paint it on, just as though they were painted markings or a decal on metal

    Einion

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    Newbie, please be gentle konales's Avatar
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    Both, thanks for the info, this gives me a lot to consider. I have a couple "test" models painted up and will work on some of these techniques over the next couple days. I will make sure to post an update with some results...and if at all successful perhaps some pics as well. The luxury I have is working on alien skin. I am working on a genetic variation of hive fleet kraken, so the "skin" color chosen is a very light bone color (actually airbrushed reaper master yellowed bone base, and airbrush sandy brown/yellowed bone 1:1 shadow, airbrush yellowed bone/linen white 2:1 highs). The "vents" and joints on the nid are a higher consistency wash of saffron sunset (orange-ish yellow, but a bit burnt) feathered out on the skin. So the skin spots will be a light beacon yellow built to saffron sunset. I think lightening the saffron sunset a bit with the yellowed bone and linen white will help the blending on the skin be more smooth.

    Your point on the resulting visual contrast from colors right next to each other can not be understated. I have a feeling this could take years to start to use to my advantage. In addition, randomness of placement...wow...funny thing, as you place them you are convinced they are random until you get done.

    Appreciate all the advice.

    Dragonsreach - I am a Wisconsin Native...I will join you on the milk bottle white skin tone! And winter is fast approaching, it will only get whiter!

  5. #5

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    My one thought on the subject is less is more. Keeping them subtle.....VERY subtile seems to work quite well. Seen, and done, stuff where the veins look like dark tattoos.
    Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

  6. #6

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    I've gone for a stippled spotty/speckled look on the wings of some Dark Eldar Scourges I'm painting. The effect I've used might be less subtle than what you're looking for but you could knock it back by mixing in more of the skin tone.

    Here is the finished mini:
    http://sproketsmallworld.blogspot.co...-finished.html

    I put together a step-by-step here:
    http://sproketsmallworld.blogspot.co...ings-step.html

    Here is a guide to stippling:
    http://sproketsmallworld.blogspot.co...-guide-to.html

    I hope you find these useful.

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    Newbie, please be gentle konales's Avatar
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    Sprocket, amazing tutorial, thanks much for sharing. I was working with the skin spots today and I found myself naturally dotting the surface to try to get the randomness up. I can see how your stippling technique is a great way to accomplish this. My first question was how you were controlling the washes as you stippled, but then the size of the dots makes it clear that these are very small and the control comes in building the density/gradient with the very small dots. I am hoping to give this a go in the next couple days. The notes on the veins is also excellent. This tutorial answers a lot of questions for my on skin variations. Thanks.

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    Newbie, please be gentle konales's Avatar
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    Alrighty, finally had some time to snap a couple pics of the attempted skin spots. Keep in mind this is just a draft job, I wanted to test colors. So ignore the mold lines and junk painting in areas; its and old tester model. So I tried some subtle spots around the leg "vent" and a few on the rear arm. I started with the burnt orange, very dilute and speckled on the spots. Blushed with a more traditional yellow around the spots. Reinforced some spots if they started to disappear in the blushed yellow. Last, I glazed with a very light skin tone shade. First draft below, feedback/thoughts are welcome.

    Sprocket, there is a lot going on in your tutorial. I have to really sit down and digest this and try over time. This definitely on the list, your results is amazing.

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  9. #9

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    Konalas I really like the colour palette you've used. Subtle is definitely the way to go with skin spots as it's easy enough to add more colour depth & definition. Although glazing over the spots with the base skin tone can look good too. I recommend doing a few more tests like the one above as you can play with things like colour, dot size and dilution to greatly vary the effect.

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