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Author Topic: How do you paint water?  (Read 641 times)

Offline ErikB

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How do you paint water?
« on: February 11, 2019, 11:49:27 PM »
I just got this from Cruel Seas and I am trying to figure out way to make that water look deep and real.

http://www.warlordgames.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Cruel-Seas-rulebook-special-mini.jpg

What greens and blues do you guys use for such minis?

Offline jeffreythancock

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2019, 12:49:04 AM »
North Sea, Channel, Atlantic Ocean, or Mediterranean Sea?  Close in to the coast, a harbor/cove, or a large river?   o_o

Offline Fitz

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2019, 01:22:51 AM »
Find an aerial photograph of the sort of water you want to paint, and paint that.

The colours and colour variations are going to be different depending on whether you're wanting to paint a shallow estuary, or deep sea, or coastal shallows, or the Adriatic, or the Mediterranean, or the Atlantic. It's not a one-size-fits-all thing.

Offline aphillathehun

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2019, 02:04:32 AM »

this is probably way more than you want, but the things he talks about doing might be adaptable.  The clear layer for depth always helps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdukeazAXlQ


Offline ErikB

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2019, 05:09:06 AM »
Like the example, Med or Atlantic.

Thanks for the link.

Offline FifteensAway

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2019, 05:38:10 AM »
I have settled on acrylic gloss medium as my go to water effect (probably what the guy in the video is using courtesy of 'value added' price increases by the companies selling 'water effects').  There are various consistencies.  The trick is to mix the appropriate shades of acrylic paint to get the desired end effect.

As to color, deeper is usually darker, shallower varies in color as the shore line gets closer.  For a river, dark color down the middle 'feathered' into a mid color and then a light color - or more colors if desired.

Last couple of coats should just be clear and the highest gloss medium you can find.  It's not necessarily cheap but it works very well.  Try craft stores first for lower cost materials but a good art supply store may be in the mix - especially for the thicker consistencies for making waves.

Here is a link to a blog post I did years ago using the technique, look for March of 2013, Kipaji Mto:

http://steeplechasingzebras.blogspot.com/2013/03/kipaji-mto.html

With practice, you can even add things like fish swimming in some of the intermediate layers!  Well, in smaller scales you can. 

Offline ErikB

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2019, 07:19:19 PM »
Thanks, folks, but I don't need fancy tools, just some color theory.

The mini is that little u-boot in the image.  No need to build up texture, just wondering which colors, light or dark, go deep in the crevasses, whether to use washes, and so on.

I'll gloss it, of course, but the white froth may be matte.  That's easy enough.

It's getting the colors right that I have a hard time with.

Offline olicana

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2019, 11:41:43 AM »
Some people have it cracked, they just won't say how!


Online Daeothar

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2019, 12:23:42 PM »
Quote
How do you paint water?

I was going to be cheeky and say 'with a wet palette', but I'll offer my two cents here as well :D

In my opinion, most people greatly overestimate the blueishness of water. I certainly looks pretty, but the reality in most places is that waters deep enough for boats tend to be brownish, greenish or even almost black.

It depends on the depth of the water, as well as the material of the bottom, weather conditions, whether it's clear or murky etc.

In perfect, undisturbed conditions, sea water can be the nicest of turquoise. Think of the water inside of a coral reef surrounding a tropical island, with white sandy beaches.

But the same paradise sea can look absolutely murderous when a hurricane/typhoon barges across it. All of a sudden that nice blue water is turned nearly black with some green it it and white foaming caps on top of the waves.

And around these parts, the sea and rivers are never clear, or blue. They're brown. I live in a country that's basically one huge river estuary (the Netherlands), and even on the sunniest, calmest of days, there is just too much soil stirred up on the bottom of the (North) sea and the rivers, that you can't see even a hand's width in front of you. So brown it is. And when it storms (not if; when ::) ), it again turns nearly black.

In fact most ponds adn canals are a brownish black as well. And that's on a calm, sunny day too.

So you need to take those things into account first, before deciding how you want/need to paint your water. Tell a narrative; the colour of the water can immediately show its location, helping to cement the illusion that a certain miniature or piece of terrain is actually there.

And once you've decided, gather as much source material as you can and then distill the right tint of the water through that. My suggestion would be to always err on the side of dark and murky and to stay away from the brightest blue unless you're looking to model a piece in a Caribbean or Hawaiean setting.

And remember that on dark seas, the white caps are usually not white either, but are often a cream colour instead.

'He who stumbles around in darkness with a stick is blind. But he who sticks out in darkness is...fluorescent'

Painting Goal for 2018: 100 miniatures - Tally per 31-12-2018: 94

Offline traveller

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2019, 12:39:02 PM »
Blue and green on a black/dark grey background with 2-3 layers of gloss varnish, important to make all brushstrokes in th same direction:




Offline ErikB

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2019, 01:48:15 PM »
With a wet pallet... lol

Offline Westfalia Chris

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2019, 03:55:39 PM »
Hi ErikB,

to my eye, that U-Boat's base looks rather intensely blue, a bit to saturated for the Atlantic, a bit too dark for the Med.

Going by the VMC Color Chart and previous attempts, I'd suggest a combination of the following:

Atlantic:

Base Tone: 70.930 Grey Blue
Shade applied as a wash: 70.898 Dark Sea Blue, note that this one is very dark/strong
1st highlight for the crests, applied as a soft drybrush: 70.906 Pale Blue
Finally, some crest accents for the spray in pure white 70.951

For the Med:
Base Tone: A mix of 70.966 Turquoise and 70.965 Prussian Blue or 70.899 Dark Prussian Blue
For a colder shade, use the above Dark Sea Blue, or 70.930 Dark Blue for a warmer variety.
1st highlight applied as above with 70.840 Turquoise dulled with a bit of 70.901 Pastel Blue
Again, the crests in pure white.

I admit that I mix a lot of colors especially when it comes to water, so I don't have a "formula recipe", but the above would be my first approach for the two respective theatres.
 

Offline Keith

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2019, 03:56:26 PM »
Was going to say 'washes' but, well, I did :-)
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Offline Johnnytodd

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2019, 08:50:12 PM »
I made the base for this Catalina model with splash/wake made from green stuff formed on a CD, then painted to match a crumpled garbage bag (Bag looks surprisingly like water under an overcast sky)!  I painted the base black mixed with a little green;  foam was dry-brush painted almost white with a touch of yellow; then many layers of spray gloss clear.  No blue paint did I use!

« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 08:51:57 PM by Johnnytodd »

Offline Nord

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Re: How do you paint water?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2019, 09:07:33 PM »
I was going to say water paints, but I won't.