What the camera sees

Sitting down to paint toy soldiers has to be a conscious act for me. Commitments like work and family (as I whinge about everywhere else) really put a dampener on hobby time.

Therefore, when you devote a few hours to painting, are happy with the results and then take photos of it; it is demoralising to have some glaringly obvious deficits in your pride and joy pointed out by a high quality photo!

Mind you, I’m not taking photos with professional lighting and cameras. The quality of a mobile phone’s camera is at the point that it’s not worth me stealing my wife’s camera and stuff to take photos.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 does this:

  • Video Recording Resolution – UHD 4K (3840 x 2160)@30fps
  • Main Camera – Resolution – CMOS 16.0 MP
  • Front Camera – Resolution – CMOS 2.0 MP
  • Main Camera – Flash – Yes
  • Main Camera – Auto Focus – Yes

and produces photos like this:
Painted Eldar Farseer

Continuing on.

I originally painted and photographed the Speculo Killer below:

My original paint scheme for the Speculo Killer

And was happy with the figure until i started playing around with the photo that would go to the internet. The default output from the Samsung camera is a 4 megabyte file. Or freakin’ HUGE in normal speak. Rather than killing people’s internet, I resize the photos before they are posted online. At 16 megapixels, I discovered, EVERY little detail is brought to the fore.

The camera sees far better than my failing eyesight.

I put down my paint brush, had a quiet, but exceedingly manly, weep to myself and resolved never to paint again. Two days later, I was back at the desk and repainting some of the details of the hideous monstrosity that the camera had revealed.

The repaint brought the Speculo Killer back in line with the general colour theme of the rest of my Combined Army force. And I’ve got to tell you, I’m happy with the result, it’s a unifying scheme and even got the front fire arc painted on the base in a suitably alien looking scheme.

Then came Mr. 16MP camera to stomp all over my ego.

Picture detail of a painted Speculo Killer

Rather than be totally dismayed this time, I saw that there is a good learning opportunity. The camera sees everything, both the good and the bad. And by using the photo for a bit of self analysis, I can see where my eyesight fails and the camera succeeds.

Picture detail of a painted Speculo Killer

The foot needs more work, the highlighting is all over the place. Neater, cleaner lines and more gradient in the colour transition would improve the finished product. Also, thinning my paint more would help with the smoothness in the appearance of the finished figure. Another easy fix: start using my wet pallette more. You know. Practice what I preach.

And what the? The previous red scheme is still showing through a bit.

Picture detail of a painted Speculo Killer

Similarly with the head and body. I’m happy with the colour scheme for the body, but the newly repainted armour needs more attention.

Doom and gloom aside, where’s the lesson?

It’s that I need to work on my technique. Clearly, painting the finer details on models that our hobby requires is not my strong point at the moment. There is a simple fix.

  • Wear my glasses to help with eyesight. Possibly this may require admitting that as my age advances I am … more reliant on … enhancements to my natural awesomeness.
  • Take a look at the tools that I am using. this one is definitely an easy fix. The brushes I am using date back about ten or so years ago and have served me well. While they are still functional things like fine points and clean bristles are a thing of the past. It is past time to update. Windsor and Newton series 7, anyone?

In the meantime, I shall have warm fuzzies looking at the Orrus Spyrer from Necromunda that I painted years ago when I was at the top of my game.

Necromunda spyrer Orrus (painted)

*SIGH* I can be great again, I can.