Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Olfo and OSL

I clearly have self control issues because I've just started yet another figure.  The Roman Tribune is going to be a long project and I wanted to paint something I could finish relatively quickly.  So I looked through my pile of kits and settled on Olfo Fast Feet from Andrea Miniatures.  He's a 54mm scale but, since he's a hobbit, the figure is only about 30mm tall.  He comes with a choice for his left hand, either an open hand or one holding a lantern.  The second option is where this figure gets really interesting (and rather challenging).  So of course I picked the lantern and decided to dive right into OSL (Object Source Lighting).

I've only done one half hearted attempted at OSL, a glowing plasma pistol on a space marine.  This will be a figure dominated by the lighting so no way to avoid it.  It might sound odd, but in some ways I feel like this isn't a bad figure to learn OSL on.  You've only got one light source to worry about.  If you're trying to paint a glowing orb or something you've got to balance that with the main zenithal lighting plus the secondary lighting.  That seems more complicated to me.  Here I drop the zenithal lighting since it's night or he's in some dark cavern and just use the lantern as my primary light source.

I started with the face but my first attempt ended up being a mess.  I tried to go directly from my dark black tones to the skin highlights.  Basically replacing my normal shadows with a blue-black mix.  The results did not look good.  Clearly I needed those normal shadows for my intermediate tones.  So I stripped him and began again.  To get the OSL to look right there are a couple things I'm dealing with:

1) Direction and Path of the Light - All of the light is coming from a single point, the lantern.  As a result anything above the lantern will be lit from below, anything below the lantern will be lit from above.  You also need to consider the path of the light.  For example the main body blocks the light from hitting most of the right arm (except the very end), so most of that will be in shadow.  To make visualizing all of this easier I left the lantern hand off.  Then I would rotate the figure so I was viewing the face or whatever part I had to paint from the point of view of the lantern (or where it would eventually be).  You've got a bit of artistic license to work with here, you don't need to be exact.  I probably have more of the face lit than really should be but that's okay.  But using these sight lines was very helpful.

2) Intensity of the Light - Basically the closer you are to the light the brighter the highlights will be.  You should also consider the material.  If it's reflective like metal or leather that will be brighter than a more matte material like the cloth.  As I worked on the leather belts next to the coat I tried to keep the intensity of the highlights similar in both materials (falling off as we move away from the light source).  The eyes are another highly reflective surface so it was important to add that catch light in the left eye (the right is blocked by the nose).  Even though the dagger is far away, when I get to it I will have some bright highlights and then quickly fade to the darker shadows.

For both of these being consistent as I work on each part of the figure will be key to selling the illusion.

Okay, so that's generally what was going through my head as I approached this project.  There's still plenty to do but he's far enough along to see how the OSL is turning out.  Keep reading below for more info on my color mixes.

For the skin I started with a black-teal mix for the shadows away from the light.  I then transitioned into a mix of Chestnut Brown and Rosy Shadow, then Rosy Skin, then Fair Highlight and Lemon Yellow.  Lastly just a bit of Polished Bone and Lemon Yellow.  I'm working a little yellow into the highlights since they're coming from lamp light.
After that I went back in with thinned down GW Bloodletter Glaze (red glaze) and gave a little more color to the nose.  I thought about doing the cheeks too but with the lighting from below I didn't want to mess with it too much.

The coat goes from Black to Blackened Brown and then into the Olive Skin series.  For the brightest spots I again use the Polished Bone and Lemon Yellow mix.

For the belts I used a slightly different brown mix to distinguish them from the coat.  Again I went from black to Blackened Brown, then into Oiled Leather and then Leather Brown.  From there I again went  to Polished Bone and Lemon Yellow.  Lastly I took a bit of Pure White.  As leather I thought this would have a bit more shine to it so I wanted that extra bright highlight.

Assuming all goes well and I don't get distracted by yet another project, I'm hoping to enter this guy in the contest over at the 5th Dimension painting blog.  If you're not familiar with their site check it out.  Lots of really get stuff!


  1. well that already look stellar!

  2. Damn, dude, seeing the face on Google+ was an immediate attention-grabber. The coloring is dead-on, I think. The rosiness is what seems to be working. And the yellows are working well for the OSL, too. Not so sure about the shadows. Hard to tell at this stage. But the contrast in the front of the face and the hollows of the eyes is very convincing.

    As for project-hopping, I think you're just addicted to painting faces! Maybe it's time you try some busts.

  3. The leathers are awesome, too. As always, thanks for going the extra mile and showing the color swatches.

  4. Thanks, Zab and Shades. Ha, well usually start with the face and then get distracted at some point. But they are probably my favorite part to paint. I have a couple busts around here somewhere... maybe I'll start one once I get a few of these current projects wrapped up!