my head is falling off my head
May 27, 2009
i think i know what it is, but could someone clarify exactly what preshading is and maybe explain your process.

Well, I waited for someone with bit more expertise than I to step up. . .
To me it involves a darker color put into all the panel lines and such. I have done it with a brush as well as an airbrush. Then you put the top color over that, BUT, this coat should be sprayed on. Either rattle can or A/B which gives you more control. You leave the panels, now darker due to the shading, alone or spray lighter on then to allow the "shadow" to show through.
I was always wondering, why to pre-shade, when you can "wash" the model after painting it. But it seems, that you not only have the recessed panel lines darkened by that pre-shading, but also slightly the area around it, which looks cool as well. Is that a side effect, or the reason why everyone preshades?
From what I understand, preshading is simply outlining your panel lines with a dark - black - color. This achieves at least 2 things.
1. Your panel lines are darker
2. It gives the model a sense of depth, sort of a fake shadow. Well not really a shadow I guess, but depth.

Take a look at any object. The way light is dispersed on it is not uniform. There are highlights, midtones and shadows. By preshading your kit, the recessed areas are darkened, but softly. You can control the depth by the amount of top coat your spray. It can be a very subtle thing, but in scale it can look really cool.

My 2 cents.
I was wondering about the pre-shading also, two questions;

1. Could you get a similar result by using chalks over your paint?
2. Do you typically mask off the panel lines - so the illusion of shadow goes in one direction?
Chalks over paint would be more like post-shading.
From what I've seen it painted free hand. You simply painting a stripe along the panel line.

We'll have videos on this and other painting techniques in Season 2.
Thanks Scott,

I'm finding a lot of the video posts to be very informative and helpful. I know that I'll benefit from seeing video(s) on painting and weathering. Just as a suggestion, could you do a segment on dry-brushing? That would be fantastic. I've NEVER had satisfactory success with that technique.
I love dry brushing. It's actually quite easy. Do you use enamels or acrylic paints? With acrylics you sometimes have the problem that they dry too fast. That's the honly hurdle when trying to drybrush. Using a short bristle brush is a good idea as well.
In the past I've used the Tamiya acrylic paints, but I'm willing to try the enamels. My main reason for not using enamels was I thought they would be more difficult to clean out of my airbrush. Lately I've been using a brush more, so clean up may be less of an issue...
Yeah, it's good when you have an extra "drybrush brush". Acrylics work well, too but you have to be kinda fast. :D
Scott Girvan said:
Chalks over paint would be more like post-shading.
From what I've seen it painted free hand. You simply painting a stripe along the panel line.

It seems like there's not generally a clear consensus on what is pre-shading and what is post-shading...

I think the key idea of pre-shading is that the shading is applied underneath your main color coat. As a result, you can create your color variances such that they're very clear and vibrant, and then when you lay on your main color, all those stark color differences are massively muted by the main color layer, but still present.

Post-shading would be any technique where the shading goes on after the main color coat: pastels, post-shading with the airbrush, various uses of filters, washes, dry-brushing, etc...

Among Gundam builders there's a popular variant of pre-shading known as the "Max Technique" - named for Max Watanabe, one of the modelers who popularized it... Basically it's a set of color layering formulas to produce different effects. Most of the colors are produced by using translucent paint over a shaded under-layer. In this technique it's also more common to produce the shading by starting with the darker color, filling the panel, and then building up the lighter color starting from the center. This tends to use more paint but it's an easier technique to control: and then since you're layering over the whole thing with a (possibly translucent) overcoat, the mistakes that were barely visible during the shading process become even harder to spot, while the starker shading of the under-coat becomes more muted and subtle. I've been moving away from use of this technique lately, trying to build my skills in other methods of introducing color variance and subtlety to a paint job - but that sort of approach can do a lot to give a paint job depth...
Just as a side note, Finescale Modeller magazine last month had an article on a post-shading technique.

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