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Author Topic: Digital camo  (Read 2084 times)

THEMONSTER

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Digital camo
« on: 31 March 2022, 20:35:08 »
Does anybody have advice on painting digital camo at 1/285 scale? I have tried stippling with an acid brush, but the result was more messy looking then I'd like.
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CranstonSnord

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #1 on: 31 March 2022, 23:33:38 »
I've had decent outcomes using the sponge / foam technique. If you have spare pluck foam, tear a small piece (1/2" to 1/4") with irregular edges. Dip a corner of the foam into the paint, then gently blot it on a piece of paper, or paper towel, until the foam is depositing small separate blobs of paint. Use this to apply paint to the mini in irregular patterns.

So base coat the mini in the mid color, use foam to apply the darker color, then use foam to apply the lighter color.

worktroll

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #2 on: 01 April 2022, 00:13:04 »
If you want digital camo in the classic modern sense, like this:



Then Ghu help your hand, because with 'Mech curved & panelled surfaces it'll be an absolute nightmare. Speckle camo such as Cranston Snord has done is probably the closest thing, but you're not going to get the little squares. And at BT scale, that's not a big issue - let's take the above example, shrunk to the size of a Heavy APC mini:



At which point it's just blurs, so speckle will do just as well. And that's on something with large flat surfaces to work with.

Just the standard warning - really good paintjobs of really effective camo schemes make the mini look bad, because of the effectiveness - you lose all the details. Which is what real-world camo is meant to do. I prefer cinematic camo, with added (and highly unrealistic) trim, so the mini details are highlighted. Happy to post some examples.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Joel47

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #3 on: 01 April 2022, 11:28:08 »
There are companies making digicam decals for 1/100-1/144 gunpla mecha; I haven't tried them because it would be both pricey and time-consuming to cover half (or more) of a mech in decals. I have purchased, and will try soon, pre-cut masking tape for various camo patterns. The scale is again more 1/100-ish, but that's close enough -- true scale digicam would be pretty much a blur at our scale. I'll also be making the contrast between colors much more vivid because, as worktroll said, realistic camo hides detail.

carlisimo

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #4 on: 01 April 2022, 14:38:44 »
Maybe cut an eraser into a small square and use it as a stamp?

Calqless

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #5 on: 08 April 2022, 21:27:21 »
I asked the local painter guy... he said the salt technique might work,,,, something about base coats then hitting salt then wipin it off

worktroll

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #6 on: 08 April 2022, 22:54:25 »
I'd be fascinated to see someone try that; my prediction is you'll end up with smearing, and clumps of wet salt.

OTOH, I don't know how fine/small/low power airbrushes work. This wouldn't work with spraycans. But if you can find a tiny square punch, punch lots of holes in a small piece of card, then use that as a teeny mask to do a bit at a time that might get you somewhere.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Failure16

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #7 on: 09 April 2022, 23:02:49 »
The salt technique does work, though it is more typically seen on larger-scale models to simulate chipping paint.

The key is letting it dry properly during the application and then after the second coat of paint.

Look here for a good tutorial of how to accomplish it:

https://www.scalemodelguide.com/painting-weathering/weathering/apply-realistic-paint-chips-salt/

To simulate a digicam look, it might be difficult only because of the planning you will perforce put into it. You have to imagine your scheme in reverse. That is perhaps the hardest part mentally. Physically, it will take a long time to do a single model.

Say you want a tricolor camo scheme. You would have to base coat the model, then coat the areas that will not get the secondary and tertiary colors in the 'salt wash'. Then paint the second color. Then remove the areas you want to get the third color and selecgtively paint those.

Ultimately, I recommend the sponge technique, but an even easier method--especially with BattleMechs and their hard-to-reach areas and negative spaces--is to take an old brush and cut irregular swatches from it to use in lieu of the actual sponge. Then you are effectively stippling the model with your color scheme.

As Worktroll and Joel47 have ably pointed out, you are really looking for the effect of digicam, not specifically the application per se.

Not the best picture, but it gets the point across of the stippling technique:

« Last Edit: 09 April 2022, 23:25:49 by Failure16 »
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
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Luciora

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #8 on: 10 April 2022, 01:43:55 »
Pluck foam sponges work a bit too well.

worktroll

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #9 on: 10 April 2022, 02:07:51 »
Failure16 and Luciora, that does indeed give the effect; but to my eye, it isn't an attractive mini.

Reality imposes all the shadows, highlights & other things. I'd love to see those tanks, Failure16, with a light brown ink wash, to see if they look better.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Failure16

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #10 on: 10 April 2022, 08:49:07 »
Well, a better picture to start from would help, but that one goes back at least twelve years when I was transitioning from dry-brushes to washes--and adding the stippling technique on top of that. In other words, I agree with you 100%, but I don't have access to them at the moment so I cannot prove it either way.
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

worktroll

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #11 on: 10 April 2022, 14:36:18 »
Was just a hypothetical, not a demand! :D
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Fortyone

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #12 on: 10 April 2022, 21:35:02 »
The thing about camo is, small patterns on large objects just look weird and hide all the detail in the object while not actually being effective camo.

If I was going to do a digital pattern on the newer plastics, I'd probably start.by basing each panel in a different color, trying not to have adjacent panels in the same color. Next I'd free hand rectangular shapes on one panel in the color of an adjacent panel. I.e. a tan panel next to a green panel then put a green shape on the tan panel that extends from the green panel.

Fair warning, I haven't tried this at all so I can't say it would look good but it makes sense in my brain as a starting point to quickly paint a bunch of minis in something resembling digital camo.

Joel47

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #13 on: 10 April 2022, 21:57:12 »
If I was going to do a digital pattern on the newer plastics, I'd probably start.by basing each panel in a different color, trying not to have adjacent panels in the same color.
Maybe something like the "Berlin Brigade" camo?
« Last Edit: 22 April 2022, 11:02:04 by Joel47 »

Fortyone

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #14 on: 11 April 2022, 20:38:05 »
Maybe something like the "Berlin Brigade" camo?


Yeah I think if you started with something like that and extended one color over the other with smaller rectangles, you'd eventually get a digital camo look that you like.

worktroll

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #15 on: 12 April 2022, 03:38:18 »
I know I'd get headaches, RSI, and not end up with neat rectangles ;) But I'm  :wheelchair:
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Fortyone

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #16 on: 12 April 2022, 21:04:36 »
It would certainly be a trial of patience. I may give it a try and see how it turns out, but I'll probably go for a larger pattern that leans more to the digital side than the camo.

Failure16

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #17 on: 13 April 2022, 00:07:16 »
A lot of the time invested comes down to the relative level of investment you put into the scheme, if you know what I mean.

For example, this is not Berlin Brigade camo, but rather just a camouflage scheme using panel-painting techniques. For a 3rd Edition plastic, there wasn't a lot of time spent (I haven't even finished the base!). On the picture, either... ::)

Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

Starbuck

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #18 on: 13 April 2022, 12:53:40 »
Maybe something like the "Berlin Brigade" camo?

i posted these a while ago.
ghq minis in Berlin camouflage.
it can be done in this scale, but it takes time.






"You promised me Mars colonies. Instead, I got Facebook."
Buzz Aldrin

Failure16

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #19 on: 13 April 2022, 16:53:19 »
Beautiful work, there. Starbuck. Those look superb! But I love the running gear the best for some reason.

At the end of the day, it's simply an exercise in brush control (and, perhaps, color choice and application). Not that the exercise is simple, mind you.
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

Fortyone

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #20 on: 13 April 2022, 20:23:58 »
I have not used these and cannot speak to how well they would work but I found these.

https://deathraydesigns.com/product/death-mask-digi-camo/

I have used a similar material before for a different application. I would strongly recommend only using these on a base that has fully dried (like for 24 hours at least) because it could peel up any paint that hasn't adhered well to the model.

They also have some interesting hex pattern stencils if you want to go digital camo in non-rectangular shapes.

Fortyone

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #21 on: 21 April 2022, 20:38:00 »
Update: I bought some of the stencils from Death Ray Designs (although not the digital camo one) and they arrived today.

First thing I noticed, they do not come weeded, meaning that you have to physically remove the material from the stencil that needs to be removed. This is a tedious process (especially since I got the checkers and hex patterns) but it does mean that the material isn't likely to be distorted during shipping. I used the tip of a small hobby knife to carefully remove the little bits but a small straight pin will do to. Just be careful not to damage the actual stencil in the process.

The adhesive is fairly strong so be careful what it touches. I tested one that I don't ever think I'll use on the cardboard backer it was packaged with and it peeled the cardboard off and I may have totally destroyed it.

I also noticed that the checker pattern isn't perfectly straight. It's probably not noticeable on the model but I initially thought I was distorting the stencil while removing the cutouts until I noticed it was also on areas I had not touched.

The scale of the stencils is a bit large for battletech in most cases but still usable for what I need. The smallest checker pattern is probably good for big mechs. The hex patterns have a decent sized gap between hexes. I'll probably try layering different patterns and colors to make a hex camo look and post pics, whether it looks good or not.

worktroll

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #22 on: 22 April 2022, 00:42:35 »
Can't wait to see how it comes out, Fortyone!  :thumbsup:
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Joel47

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #23 on: 22 April 2022, 11:01:42 »
Yes, please let us know how it goes. I've been curious about the Death Ray Designs stencils, but their large size (for our purposes) has made me hold off. I want to know how well they handle the complex curves on mechs (and even tanks, at our scale).

I bought some of the pre-cut masking tape, but haven't tried it out yet -- I need to clear out the current mechs in progress. I'll probably start on some tanks, as they're smaller, smoother (tanks don't have armpits), and if I screw them up, oh well.

THEMONSTER

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #24 on: 23 April 2022, 22:48:33 »
Thank you all for all for the advice. The attached picture is of my first attempt at digi-cam from about a year and a half ago, and I'm sorry to say I haven't painted much since then.  :( If I remember correctly I applied a black wash over the whole tank and it mostly ruined the effect. I wonder if black lining would be more effective, or if both digi-cam and shading are just not compatible at this scale.(?)
Blaine Lee Pardoe did nothing wrong.

Failure16

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #25 on: 24 April 2022, 00:28:24 »
Two primary options: A heavy gloss or satin coat after painting the scheme and before the wash, or drybrushing on the base coat, doing the stencil or detail work, and then pin-washing the spots where the additional coats flowed into the lines.
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

worktroll

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #26 on: 24 April 2022, 03:24:08 »
Alternatively, plan ahead and use much lighter colours than you want to end up with. And then use a lighter, perhaps 50% strength, wash.

Washes always darken the mini. I recommend the current Citadel Nuln Oil (black) and Agrax Earthshade (brown), because they're not TOO strong, and go on smoothly.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Fortyone

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #27 on: 26 April 2022, 21:55:28 »
Our first victim.. Errrrr. Test subject..

The ol King Crab is relatively big and flat on top so as good a test as any. Just a few pics to show the scale of the stencils as well as the colors I'll be using. Going to try a camo pattern on one half of the top and play with the gradient stencils on the other half. Also the checker stencil you can see is the smallest one in the set.

https://imgur.com/a/3pXw2F1
« Last Edit: 26 April 2022, 21:57:12 by Fortyone »

Fortyone

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Re: Digital camo
« Reply #28 on: 28 April 2022, 19:38:16 »
I've come to the conclusion that the stencils from Death Ray Designs are not recommended. At least not for use on mechs. After several attempts, I was able to get a few good shapes but all the greebly bits make it extremely difficult to get the stencil to stay put.

Side note, Army Painter Hardened Carapace is much darker and browner than expected.