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Rodiger

Contrast 8 months on.

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Hi, it's been a while now since contrast was released. I bought some on release and have only used it very occasionally as a wash for certain things, skulls being the main thing (I'm so tired of skulls on every model, painting them just drives me nuts).

Anyway my next paining project will probably be Blackstone Fortress or Talisman 3rd edition. I want to use contrast for the project but I haven't had much practice with it. So has anyone got any advice, tips, tutorials?

There are a lot on youtube, but they are all from around release, and I'm hoping for experienced tips, what people have found after over half a year of using it. 
I'll most likely not  be solely  using contrast and I probably won't be doing the one thick coat approach from the GW vidoes. 
Thanks

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Well contrast is really just a paint with a lot of medium so people painting for a while have some pretty good takes.

this is a high level look at it and he painted with them for like 40+ hours before he made the video and still uses them based on these tips

 

 

but realistically its intended tool doesnt need an experienced take. Prime it white, zenithal prime it if you want a better effect and slap the paint on and you’re good.

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I think the few biggest things for contrast are:

 

1) It's designed to work best on high detail models with small surface areas to cover.

2) On big open surface areas it will puddle and pool. This can create a mottled effect of colour rather than a smooth colour finish. Note I didn't say that was bad nor good, its just a feature to keep in mind. If you want its effect its great and I personally feel its a neat way to cover large open areas of living creatures where some variation in colour is natural; as opposed to the side of a tank where an armour plate isnt' expected to be mottled/patchy.

3) It won't replace proper highlighting and shadowing. It provides a base-line effect that's great for an instant result. You can keep it like that or enhance it with highlighting and shadowing on top. This is especially true if you're using strong directional light on your model painting.

4) It requires varnish to seal the model once done otherwise the contrast paint will rub off a lot faster than regular paint . 

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I agree with all four points above. I started using them more and more on my 40k orks and I just love them. Especially the browns. Any slight patchyness on those models is just a feature really.

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Overall I like them, especially as a base for further work. That's not their intended use but they work really well that way. I think they are also viable as filters via an airbrush. Arguably you could also use inks for that but they're also a nice tool for that and quick to use. They work extremely well after a zenithal if you bother to use them as a guide and paint over patchy spots. They're great in combination with metallics. On their own, most of them don't give me a good enough result but that's not the paint's fault at all - I just prefer to work longer on minis and a single coat, no matter if contrast or not, isn't enough for me to be happy.

That said, in many, many cases I'm not sure they're all that beginner-friendly actually. Yeah, they are amazing on Plaguebearers and stuff like that but as soon as you need to be very precise on a mini (trim and the like), they start to become cumbersome. And if you don#t wanna go over it with layer paints, you can't afford errors.

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Finally got a chance to watch that video, that was exactly what I was looking for, learnt a lot from that. Thanks for the other replies too. 

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I'm not a fan. The colours are just to unnatural looking for me and really stand out to much, I also think they are not great when photographed, you can tell a contrast painted model in white dwarf instantly and generally they don't look great.

I will be using them for Marvel's crisis's protocol as I think the pop will go with a more superheroe look but I wouldn't use them on anything games workshop.

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Yeah, I largely argree, I don't think they look good, it's been putting me off trying them, but that's why I asked about it on here, I was hoping after 8 months people had worked out how to make them look good. 

I suppose I wouldn't bother buying them now, but I bought a load so I should try them, and I would like to paint faster. I'm not the slowest painter nor the fastest, my main problem (other than finding time between work and family) is I get bored with painting the same paint scheme after about 6 models and the last ones just become a chore and the quality slips a bit as I lose interest in it and just want to get it finished. 

I plan on painting like I normally do, but if I can speed up aspects like; cloaks, trousers, skin, skulls and other mandatory skeletal stuff that is on everything then it would help me a long. At the same time I don't want it to be the 'one thick coat' out of the pot. Now knowing how to mix and blend it helps with that. And as I'm sure others have, I have a mountain of models sitting on sprues and no where near being painted. 

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Posted (edited)

I think as with anything it depends on the person who is using it, how and why.

The issue with Contrast and to an extent GW's paint line and method in general is that it sells itself as a simple to use, lightening in a bottle resource that can transform under-coated plastic into something amazing. And it's just not true. 

If you're experienced or comfortable with painting in miniature you'll be able to use pretty much any paint to achieve *something* on a 28mm figure, even craft paint. If you're a beginner or not much of a painter even the most wonderful easily applied paint using the finest brushes in the world probably won't look much different to if you used really sub par materials. Because very little about the paint jobs on miniatures that people want to replicate is about just putting paint on minis. It's where the experts put it and how they put it there that makes a model stand out.  

Contrast is just one more paint line. It flows pretty well and highlights the relief of a model quickly. If you want your models to look very stark and kind of sticky then there you go. Do models that solely use contrast look even slightly as good as a properly painted model? No. Do they have depth and volume and richness? No. They have nothing besides contrast.  And contrast is super important but contrast is more than just "the recesses are shaded". The best painters tend to paint in spite of the natural recesses on a model in many instances, they let hour sources and environmental contect  define contrast as in actual painting.

I've seen experts use it to do amazing things, but that's not because its Contrast, its  because they're experts. It blends very well I've found and lends itself to a very fun expressive sketch style, but the only people who are going to blend it are either people who already do blending or alternatively people who are naturally inquisitive and creative and try stuff anyway. Neither of those would miss Contrast if it didnt exist. The way GW market Contrast, no-one is going to learn how to paint better. 

Speaking as a decidedly not-expert: I used it for the wood on my Revenants, because I deliberately wanted the skin to stand in high contrast against a more muted bark, and I didnt fancy a time consuming session of painting dark brown, and also I didnt use any washes on the skin so the textural contrast would probably also be more effective. But also wood is natural and organic,  chaotic and uneven so I knew its potential to look non regimented and weird wouldnt matter all that much anyway so long as it wansnt the focal point. So I blended it into some green, and it does the job. Probably slices an hour or two even off a figure, so I'm super happy it's there for that.

I think for me there will be a few instances of textures or effects like wood, where it just "works" and with it saves hours, no question. Similar with Nihalak Oxide and Ghosts.  But that's nothing new,  theres been inks and similar which can do the same thing for years. And in most instances the nature of its medium means you would be spending time to fight with it that you wouldnt with inks and acrylics, and also unless the tone of your piece favours it, you're probably going to want to cover most of the streaky finish it leaves regardless. 

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Edited by Nos
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Even if they don't become part of your fundamental painting method, Skeleton Horde and Snakebite Leather are great for quickly doing bone and leather trinkets, such as random skulls, belts, pouches, etc.

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Messed around a bit with inks vs contrast paints through the airbrush today, both over metallics - contrast dulls the metallics more down than inks - perfect for shading them as shadows should be less reflective, less great for candy-coating or filtering metallics  (depending on what you aim for). I believe this is quite interesting. Arguably thinned down paint would do the same but contrast's transparency and airbrush-ready consistency do give them a reason to be around in that regard.

 

 

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The thing to remember about contrast paints is that they were originally intended to mimic the effect of a base colour plus wash.  They then discovered that putting them over a white undercoat would also provide a highlight too so the whole "one thick coat movement" grew.

Ultimately the key thing to remember is that they're a paint - just one that has different flow properties to anything else we have.  I use them quite a bit for shading, both as a glaze and through the airbrush.  It's not often I use them for their marketed task - however if you're looking to rattle an army out for a tournament, then they do allow you to do something tabletop ready really quickly.

Also, don't discount using contrast medium with other paints/washes.  It causes the paint to flow in a different way to Lahmian and has a longer working time too.

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Posted (edited)

As long as you dont use bright colours, orange, yellow, etc, most reds and browns go really well on a grey > white highlighted undercoat. 

I also tried white undercoat, cover whole mini with basillicum grey before you apply other colours for much richer shadows. It works decently, but I prefer the first method. It creates something along the lines of left side model. The right side model was a corax white prime, no highlights and just adding contrast.

 

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Edited by Kugane
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Posted (edited)

After using them quite a bit, I stopped for most applications. The transparency makes colours too grey, and they have a bit of a soft, gel-like look to them. I still use them for the pressure suits of Arkanauts and bases, and then drybrush that with a highlight, but I consider the Gulliman flesh a total failure (only works if you paint the surface with a different undercoat, and in that case, why bother with the cotrast?) and others just not useful enough. Way too fragile coats are really not helping, as the varnish also makes the reflection look a bit weird.

Wood and leather do work for me in contrast, (using a mix of blood angels red and wyldwood for oxblood).

Metal approximations of primed metal with contrast over it just don't do it for me, and could more convincingly be done with washes.

I still haven't stripped what I did before, but will do so when I get to it. I noticed a short while ago that I did not like newer paintjobs as much as older ones, and part of that is because of my overuse of contrasts.

All in all, useful in a few cases, but not as much as I'd hoped.

Edited by zilberfrid

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3 hours ago, zilberfrid said:

After using them quite a bit, I stopped for most applications. The transparency makes colours too grey, and they have a bit of a soft, gel-like look to them. I still use them for the pressure suits of Arkanauts and bases, and then drybrush that with a highlight, but I consider the Gulliman flesh a total failure (only works if you paint the surface with a different undercoat, and in that case, why bother with the cotrast?) and others just not useful enough. Way too fragile coats are really not helping, as the varnish also makes the reflection look a bit weird.

Wood and leather do work for me in contrast, (using a mix of blood angels red and wyldwood for oxblood).

Metal approximations of primed metal with contrast over it just don't do it for me, and could more convincingly be done with washes.

I still haven't stripped what I did before, but will do so when I get to it. I noticed a short while ago that I did not like newer paintjobs as much as older ones, and part of that is because of my overuse of contrasts.

All in all, useful in a few cases, but not as much as I'd hoped.

Guilliman flesh has hit and misses. It looks ok on small faces and applied thinly, basically human infantry. It worked out decently on my ogor tyrant's face as well, so happily slapped it onto the gluttons their body. I regret it because it just pools up in deep recesses without a proper way to control it. Its ok for tabletop standard, but damn, lol.

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1 hour ago, Kugane said:

Guilliman flesh has hit and misses. It looks ok on small faces and applied thinly, basically human infantry. It worked out decently on my ogor tyrant's face as well, so happily slapped it onto the gluttons their body. I regret it because it just pools up in deep recesses without a proper way to control it. Its ok for tabletop standard, but damn, lol.

It's also purple, which is okay if you prime yellow (I saw it with wraithbone, and am still not a fan), but rather dead with Gray Seer. I like the experiment (using complementary colours to fall in the recesses, thus not darkening as much as classic washes would) but I don't think it was a success.

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4 hours ago, zilberfrid said:

It's also purple, which is okay if you prime yellow (I saw it with wraithbone, and am still not a fan), but rather dead with Gray Seer. I like the experiment (using complementary colours to fall in the recesses, thus not darkening as much as classic washes would) but I don't think it was a success.

Purple? I did the skin with guilliman on wraith bone on this miniature, but can't seem to notice the purple. Do you have a bad pot perhaps?

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It isnt a magic wand for every painting situation but it definitely has its place. Wood, fur, scales, areas of high relief detail and instances when you want a bloched effect. 

I have had fun with it and found the best thing for me is that it lets me jump straight to subtle layering, highlights, dry brushing etc. As others have said it also blends well.

See it as a useful tool in your paint collection and use it when it works for you and the value is there. 

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Posted (edited)

I've had really good luck mostly just using them in combination with regular paints. I think they're a great tool. Not revolutionary by any means but good to mix it up!

 

I'll try and remember to post some photos of what I've had good luck with.

 

 

EDIT: The two tree-folk are basically all contrast with highlights added and the Orlock is just the leather. I've found that if I use zenithal priming and then push the white with a brush before using the contrast I get pretty good results. I also think if you put work into skin/faces it pulls enough attention from other stuff.

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Edited by FlatTooth
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1 hour ago, Kugane said:

Purple? I did the skin with guilliman on wraith bone on this miniature, but can't seem to notice the purple. Do you have a bad pot perhaps?

20200113_204736.jpg

I don't prime with wraithbone, which is yellowish. I may also have a bad pot, but I looked at the examples in the shop and that was similarely purple. Your miniature looks a lot better than what I got out of it.

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20 hours ago, zilberfrid said:

I don't prime with wraithbone, which is yellowish. I may also have a bad pot, but I looked at the examples in the shop and that was similarely purple. Your miniature looks a lot better than what I got out of it.

I had very bad results using on corax and grey seer myself, so seems the wraithbone is almost a must for these. I didnt for this model, but lahmian medium 1:9 ratio helps me more than contrast medium for proper flow.

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14 hours ago, Kugane said:

I had very bad results using on corax and grey seer myself, so seems the wraithbone is almost a must for these. I didnt for this model, but lahmian medium 1:9 ratio helps me more than contrast medium for proper flow.

Yeah, labeling Gray seer as compatible with Contrast simply is untrue.

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Posted (edited)

Well, I like Contrast Paints. Althrough planned for several projects, I still have not painted a whole army on the fast lane with Contrast. After some experiments I found some ways how to utilise them in my projects:

  • Colored Metalics -> This may be the most basic usecase. Just take a metalic base-tone and change the hue with the contrast paint. Curerntly used in my Necron Army to upgrade them optically, but also neat to paint scrap metal. Just use a base-layer and then easily paint some patches with some brownish/orange tones to make the metals look different without breaking the unified look too much.
  • Painting Models on a bright basecoat which is the standart gw process is really a timesaver and a good base. A lot can be improved by adding further highlights to the models.
  • Using Zentials/Drubrush on a dark basecoat (preferably a dark grey and not a black for smoother transition) to set the "hard lights", then hue the different parts of the model using contrast paints. Important note here is, that this way we have two ways of optically applying shadows which can cause big issues. Thus, applying contrast in thiner layers proved to be the way to go for me as it prevents too much of pooling/shading. Great if someone wants to use contrast for fast painting but don´t want the too soft/comic look that often comes with contrast. Also easy to do with 2 Spray Cans.
  • Easy blending, even  for beginners like me.

Yet contrast has some downsides. The pooling and quite fast drying can be sometimes a bit of an issue. I´ve also seen many models ruined by applying too much of a thic coat, which led to certain areas beeing too dark and look weird.

Edited by Charleston

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Here's my three Top Tips, for what they are worth...:

(1) Zenithial FTW.

(2) Blast the model with a thin coat of satin varnish or non-pigmented (i.e. colorless) paint before the contrast paints are applied.

(3) In most cases, use the medium (maybe around 50:50).

Points (1) and (3) are pretty well-known, but reading about and trying point (2) was a real game-changer for me. It's a perfectly smooth surface for  a product that relies on being used over a perfectly smooth surface.

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I'm in no way an expert or what not but I can echo agreement with most on here as to it's relevant uses now post launch. I use it almost exclusively with the medium and basically as a another set of washes. I don't really use it to 'paint' areas on minis rather it helps me for more transparent colours like my idoneth skin and the like.

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