Monday, April 17, 2023

N is for NMM

Non-Metallic-Metal, or NMM, is a technique that tries to trick the eye into thinking something is metallic when painted with regular matte paints. The highlights and shadows are painted in a way that appears metallic. I absolutely have not figured this technique out yet, so I will once again have to rely on second-hand material.

If you're going to reference someone else's work, you can't do much better than Sergio Calvo, a decorated professional painter known as "God-Tier" among mini painters.
Source: Sergio Calvo

For thousands of years in traditional art, non-metallic-metal was really the only way to paint metallic surfaces in artwork. Today, we do have paints that contain reflective pigments that simulate actual metal, however the problem - when dealing with models that are only an inch tall - is scale. A full-size, shiny silver sword naturally has very distinct contrast of light and shadow. These details do not show up the same in a 28mm scale model.

Just in case you think they're cheating, the colour swatches in the corner of this picture shows exactly which matte paints were used to create this very realistic metal look.

To get around this, skilled miniature painters rely on the same techniques used for centuries to trick the eye into seeing something shiny. The same general rules as for any type of highlight/shadow painting apply, with a few caveats: extreme, nearly-white highlights are a must, to simulate the glint of white off of sharp edges. Also, the juxtaposition of your brightest highlights against your darkest shadows is actually required (usually you build these up more gradually), again to simulate the shine and spark of polished metal.

The image shows the successive steps to build up the layers in NMM painting. Notice most of the layers look fairly dull and flat until the last couple when the glazes are added to really brighten it up and make the colours pop.

So what do I have tomorrow? ANOTHER technique that I don't actually know how to do!

Hugs & Kisses,


PT Dilloway said...

That is amazing. I would definitely think those were metal.

Amber said...

These are amazing!

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