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AFV Painting & Weathering
Answers to questions about the right paint scheme or tips for the right effect.
Modulation and 'rough surfaces'
cabasner
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Joined: February 12, 2012
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Posted: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 02:22 PM UTC
Hi All,

I'm pondering doing a tank in the modulation style. I have the Mig 'Modulation & Light Techniques' book, which I think is nice, and I've seen examples of AFVs painted in modulation style, BUT I have not seen a tank with a really rough surface painted in that style. By rough, I mean either anti-skid or Zimmeritt. It seems to me that the modulation style SEEMS to be more applicable to smooth surfaces, and then, those surfaces being generally large flat panels. Somehow, I"m having a harder time visualizing modulation painting with these rougher surfaces. I would admit that it probably shouldn't matter what the texture of the surface is, but does anyone have examples of a modulated tank with a rougher surface, as these are most of the tanks I build.
KruppCake
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Ontario, Canada
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Posted: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 02:37 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi All,

I'm pondering doing a tank in the modulation style. I have the Mig 'Modulation & Light Techniques' book, which I think is nice, and I've seen examples of AFVs painted in modulation style, BUT I have not seen a tank with a really rough surface painted in that style. By rough, I mean either anti-skid or Zimmeritt. It seems to me that the modulation style SEEMS to be more applicable to smooth surfaces, and then, those surfaces being generally large flat panels. Somehow, I"m having a harder time visualizing modulation painting with these rougher surfaces. I would admit that it probably shouldn't matter what the texture of the surface is, but does anyone have examples of a modulated tank with a rougher surface, as these are most of the tanks I build.



Are you looking to modulate with an airbrush or with oils? You can modulate rough surfaces too but they require all angles of the textured surface to be coloured over. For example, you wouldnít be able to spray zimmerit from only one angle. Having to spray it from more angles to cover the grooves would complicated matters when it comes to the amount of modulation (for example, you might have a harder time applying less paint). I personally avoid a lot of modulation on heavily textured surfaces.

Anti slip surfaces can be done by dipping a paint brush into enamel wash, cleaning a good deal of the liquid off and brushing the surface with the brush so a thin layer of the paint gets into the depressed areas. The surface of the anti slip beads can then be cleaned with a bit of solvent so the entire area doesnít appear dark.
panzerbob01
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Posted: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 07:12 PM UTC
As an alternative to brushing on washes and then trying to remove wash from proud elements of the texture, you can get the effect by 2 spray passes: In a non-slip or zimm surface - where you want the recesses to be a little darker then the proud surface texture... shoot the entire fairly thickly with the darker shade, and then lightly shoot the surface with the lighter shade. This will save the "getting too dark" issue that Krupp... mentioned above and create the depth in the textured surface without need to try removing any wash...

It also works the other way - if you actually want lighter down inside the patterned surface, shoot the entire fairly thickly in the lighter shade, and lightly pass over with the darker to darken the proud elements.

You can do the sprayed-on modulation gradients over zimm or non-slip - much more tedious to modulate as you will do a sort of parallel modulation - first set modulates across the panel(s) in the darker range applied fairly thickly for the depths in your texture, the second a lighter shade-range applied lightly onto the proud surfaces of the pattern... But it can be done.:

Cheers! Bob
cabasner
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Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 03:30 AM UTC
Krupp and Bob,

Thanks for your thoughts. Actually, what I'm talking about is airbrushing, and creating what is called "Zenithal lighting" in the Mig book. If you have access to that book, or photos of this type of modulation effect, you'll note that each panel seems to have a gradation of tone. The Mig book uses, primarily, a Sherman tank model, and, for example, the upper hull sides, smooth panels, transition from lighter to darker from top to bottom. Using the airbrush SHOULD make it less difficult for that smooth transition, even with rough, anti-skid or ZImmeritted surfaces, but it does seem to me that those surfaces do pose at least something of a challenge to the concept. I'm sure that the Mig book, and the wonderful (at least to me) series of 27 videos that Adam Wilder did (available on YouTube) on weathering, that starts with an already built and Zenithal lit modulation painted KV-1 model, chose to use 'slab sided' and larger smooth paneled models in order to get the point of modulation across to newbies to the concept. I'm not saying that the modulation painting concept can't be applied to rougher surfaced models, just that it seems it would be more challenging, and perhaps less 'obvious'. For that reason, I decided to get the same KV-1 kit that Wilder used on his video series, and will be trying to duplicate his methods. Maybe after doing it on a more straightforward slab sided tank, it will be easier to apply to a more challenging tank, with the surfaces I've been discusssing.
KruppCake
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Ontario, Canada
Joined: July 13, 2015
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 04:15 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Krupp and Bob,

Thanks for your thoughts. Actually, what I'm talking about is airbrushing, and creating what is called "Zenithal lighting" in the Mig book. If you have access to that book, or photos of this type of modulation effect, you'll note that each panel seems to have a gradation of tone. The Mig book uses, primarily, a Sherman tank model, and, for example, the upper hull sides, smooth panels, transition from lighter to darker from top to bottom. Using the airbrush SHOULD make it less difficult for that smooth transition, even with rough, anti-skid or ZImmeritted surfaces, but it does seem to me that those surfaces do pose at least something of a challenge to the concept. I'm sure that the Mig book, and the wonderful (at least to me) series of 27 videos that Adam Wilder did (available on YouTube) on weathering, that starts with an already built and Zenithal lit modulation painted KV-1 model, chose to use 'slab sided' and larger smooth paneled models in order to get the point of modulation across to newbies to the concept. I'm not saying that the modulation painting concept can't be applied to rougher surfaced models, just that it seems it would be more challenging, and perhaps less 'obvious'. For that reason, I decided to get the same KV-1 kit that Wilder used on his video series, and will be trying to duplicate his methods. Maybe after doing it on a more straightforward slab sided tank, it will be easier to apply to a more challenging tank, with the surfaces I've been discusssing.



I think practising on a smooth surface is a great idea, but modulation on a textured surface with an airbrush will be a beast on its own. I personally try to adapt the techniques I use to the model being done. I find for the work I do not all techniques are equally applicable to every model, or at least to the same extent. In the end it all boils down to preference.


RLlockie
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 06:19 AM UTC
Will a flat surface at the same angle of incidence from a light source (typically the sun) display much of a variation in lighting from one end to the other, given that the plate on even the largest tank isnít exactly huge?

I canít recall seeing that myself, unless there is something causing part of the surface to be in shadow.
Biggles2
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 10:38 AM UTC
IMHO, modulation gives a dramatic lighting effect, but not too realistic!
KruppCake
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Ontario, Canada
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 11:55 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Will a flat surface at the same angle of incidence from a light source (typically the sun) display much of a variation in lighting from one end to the other, given that the plate on even the largest tank isnít exactly huge?

I canít recall seeing that myself, unless there is something causing part of the surface to be in shadow.



Is the flat surface painted in glossy pearlescent paint? If so, then yes. Jokes aside, I doubt that there would be much difference in shade on one panel. I also agree with Biggles above that itís not very realistic, but ďrealisticĒ is a word worthy of a book when it comes to modelling. 95% of the stuff we do to models isnít meant to make them look ďrealisticĒ, itís meant to make the models look good. The modulation is meant to add depth to an otherwise plain mode. Method and extent are left to the modellerís discretion.

sgtreef
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 12:05 PM UTC
2 through my 2 cents in Mig has done a bunch online and so as Adam Wilder, might be worth a look?

Enjoy either way.
panzerbob01
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Louisiana, United States
Joined: March 06, 2010
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Posted: Saturday, June 01, 2019 - 05:49 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Krupp and Bob,

Thanks for your thoughts. Actually, what I'm talking about is airbrushing, and creating what is called "Zenithal lighting" in the Mig book. If you have access to that book, or photos of this type of modulation effect, you'll note that each panel seems to have a gradation of tone. The Mig book uses, primarily, a Sherman tank model, and, for example, the upper hull sides, smooth panels, transition from lighter to darker from top to bottom. Using the airbrush SHOULD make it less difficult for that smooth transition, even with rough, anti-skid or ZImmeritted surfaces, but it does seem to me that those surfaces do pose at least something of a challenge to the concept. I'm sure that the Mig book, and the wonderful (at least to me) series of 27 videos that Adam Wilder did (available on YouTube) on weathering, that starts with an already built and Zenithal lit modulation painted KV-1 model, chose to use 'slab sided' and larger smooth paneled models in order to get the point of modulation across to newbies to the concept. I'm not saying that the modulation painting concept can't be applied to rougher surfaced models, just that it seems it would be more challenging, and perhaps less 'obvious'. For that reason, I decided to get the same KV-1 kit that Wilder used on his video series, and will be trying to duplicate his methods. Maybe after doing it on a more straightforward slab sided tank, it will be easier to apply to a more challenging tank, with the surfaces I've been discusssing.



Curt:

I guess I didn't use the term "zenithal lighting"!

What I described is exactly what "zenithal lighting" - painting a shading-gradient across a panel - is. When trying to create a shade gradient across a rough-textured panel, you have both the opportunity and the task of trying to create a parallel shading gradient in BOTH the proud and recessed portions of that relief. It is of course "allowable" and certainly "doable" to spray the zenithal shading gradient across the panel using ONLY the "proud" shade-range, if you are pleased with NOT creating a depth-depiction or differentiation by the conventions many modelers use, where the recesses may be darkened a bit with a wash or a pre-shade of some darker shade before surface-painting, compared to the proud surface level and points.

The point is, IF you want to create a "zenithal lighting" gradient on the rough surface panel - you can treat that proud rough surface exactly as if it were a more-typical smooth surface panel by spraying that shade gradient just as if it were a smooth panel. BUT... IF you also want to do the depth high-lighting or differentiation many modelers use to enhance their rough textured surfaces (zimm, non-slip, etc.), you may want to consider doing that "zenithal lighting" gradient on the deepest recesses First, using a darker-shifted shading gradient. It IS "doable", and essentially simply requires one to paint TWO separate zenithal gradients - one for the deep recesses, one for the proud surface.

The challenge lies in trying to reasonably match-up the two gradients, so that the deeps do not become substantially more or less high-lighted relative to the surface in different portions of the panel.

In general, I don't do that panel gradient stuff anymore - I don't particularly care for the effect in most circumstances. But that of course is just my personal pref and everybody should build and paint to please themselves first, IMHO. The MIG "Zenithal lighting" panel gradient can be done on a rough surface - just takes a bit of patience and added work with the AB!

Cheers! Bob