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Interactive Painters

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    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard

Codicier Josef drew the stylus across the screen once more then looked at the young Guardsman seated next to him.

'This shade?'

'Yes Lord.'

'And the helm?'

'Black, shiny. Like a beetle.'

The answer was whispered, even furtive. Josef ran his hand across his closely shaved scalp, briefly massaging his skull as he gently probed the guardsman's mind to pluck the exact shade from his memory. Faint blue light skittered between his fingers as he did so and the Guardsman shrank back even further into the seat, looking like a child sitting at his father's workstation as the Astartes sized furniture loomed over him.

Josef closed his eyes and concentrated, recalling entire books from the Legio's Librarium, the air grew cold around him as he mentally grasped the book he sought. The Liber Maleficana contained images of all known Traitor Astartes and a few moments later the Librarian had the data he needed.

'The Purge.'

The words were a grunt.

Josef manipulated the stylus once more and the image in front of him, a twisted suit of power armour daubed in iridescent black and chitinous green was uploaded to the Land Raider's machine spirit. Lights blinked and somewhere a connection crackled but eventually the green light of success flickered on, then steadied.

Across the battlefield Josef's brothers were now seeing the image of the Chaos Marine inside their helmets, the insectile colouring and blasphemous markings annotated with data from the Legio's databanks. 'Know thy foe' was one of the key dictums of the Codex Astartes and with their foe identified the Legio could now begin planning the retaking of Cardolan.

Another swipe of the stylus closed the enemy forces recognition program loaded into the cogitator. Rising to his full seven and a half feet height Josef led the Guardsman into the Cardolanian daylight and handed him back to his nervously waiting platoon leader. A grin played across the Marine's scarred lips as he loosened his force sword in its scabbard and voxed his command squad to join him in the Land Raider. The hunt was on.


Choosing Colours

Fig. 2 Choosing Colours
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Let's get started shall we? For this tutorial we've selected the Imperial Fists as the Chapter we'd like to paint, yellow can be a pain to get right in real life so we're going to test out a few schemes and see if we can't save ourselves time and frustration. As the majority of the Imperial Fists' armour is yellow we'll use the handy 'Quick Paint' function to get started.

Click 'Quick Paint' and you'll see the colour picker box pop-up (see Fig. 2). The colour picker allows you to choose from millions of colours for your Marine and can be controlled via four distinct methods:
  • Colour palette
    The colour palette is similar to the one you'll see in countless other programs, from Photoshop to Microsoft Office. Simply left-click on the colour you want in the palette box to select it. If the colour you want isn't in the main box then use the slider at right to alter the pallette box to the colour you're looking for then click the exact shade you're after. To apply the colour click on 'Select'.
  • Picker boxes
    Located in the top right hand corner of the pop-ip box the picker boxes are also the same as you'll find in many other programs. The two boxes here show the currently selected colour in the top box and the previously used colour in the bottom box. You can click on the lower box to select the last colour you used, a handy way to undo a change or to pick the same colour you've used elsewhere for a new area. To apply the colour click on 'Select'.
  • Hex/RGB/HSB codes
    Those of you who'd like to specify an exact colour not available from the Citadel range can do so via the Hex/RGB/HSB value boxes on the right hand side of the pop-up box. This is a great way to match specific colours, simply type the selected values into one of these systems and the pallette will change to the selected colour, as usual click 'Select' to apply your chosen colour. RGB and Hex values for Citadel and selected Vallejo paints can be found by following here and here respectively, a quick Google search will net you values for many more brands of paint.
  • 'Choose Colour' drop list
    The 'Choose Colour' list shows the names of all currently available Citadel (GW) paints including the Foundation series. Simply select the name of the paint you'd like to use from this list and then hit 'Select' to apply it.
For the tutorial we'll use the 'Choose Colour' option to select 'Bad Moon Yellow' then click 'Select'. Within a few moments you'll see the image change to reflect your choice, note that the jointed areas and the helmet grill have stayed blank as they're almost always a different colour to the armour itself.

*NEW* Note that a fifth method to select colours exists that may save you some time, particularly for more complex colour schemes. First colour one section of the painter image in your desired colour then Ctrl-Click that section. You can now paste that colour directly to other sections of the image by Shift-Clicking, brilliant, eh?

Using the palette

Fig. 3 Using the palette: click for full size
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Let's fix that up, according to GW the Imperial Fists (p.27 of Codex Space Marines v.5) have black joints so we'll follow suit. Click on one of the joins, I've chosen the left side elbow here, and click on the black area of the colour pallette. I want the deepest black I can find so I'm going to slide the cursor into the bottom left hand corner of the pallette. Note that no matter what colour you're choosing the top and bottom left hand corners will always show white and black respectively.

*NEW* A quick note on using black in our interactive painters: the painter engine is designed to render colours much like you'd paint your mini - with highlights and shadows - and using pure black (#000000) will remove all shading from a chosen section, leaving that section look flat and lacking in detail. As such we recommend you use a dark blue or grey, we suggest starting with #262626, when you want to use black with any of our painters.

With my nice deep black chosen I hit 'Select' to apply my choice. Notice that all the jointed areas are linked to the same colour and will change with just the one selection (see Fig.3).

Looking at the Codex I can see that I need to make a few more adjustments to match my Imperial Fist with the official image. Both the helmet grill and the pipes should be black so I'll click on them and repeat the process I used for the joints to change them to black as well.

Using HEX-RGB-HSB Codes

Fig. 4 Using HEX-RGB-HSB Codes: click for full-size
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To match the eyes I'll click on them and make them red, ideally I'd like them to be the same red as we use here on the B&C but that's going to pretty hard to match by eye just using the palette. Luckily I know the hex value for our reds, in this it's case #900000, so I'll enter that in the box in the lower right hand corner of the pop-up when I click on either eye and then 'Select' to apply (see Fig. 4)

By now you should have also noticed that as I move the mouse over the image the name of each clickable part shows up as you point at it. The GW image shows our Marine with red shoulder pads and chest aquila so I'll mouse over the trim on the left shoulder pad to match that up, being careful to point at the trim and not the inset, using the pop-up name to check I'm in the right place.

To make sure I use the same red as the eyes I'll use the colour picker box in the top right hand corner. Notice the top box displays the current colour of the selected area, yellow, and the lower box shows the colour we last used in the painter, in this case red. I'll click on the red and hit 'Select' to change the colour of the edge of the shoulder pad. Next I'll the process for the right trim and the aquila, note the aquila is broken down into 'skull' and 'eagle' in case you'd like different colours for each, though today I'll make them both red.

I'll click on the first save 'avatar' to keep him for later, note the image is updated to show my Marine, and with that my Codex matching Imperial Fist is done!

Advanced Techniques
Click a save avatar to load or use, shift-click to clear
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My Imperial Fist is now finished and looks great, but I think he could look better. I've always preferred my Imperial Fists in a mustardy yellow rather than a bright sunshine yellow so I'm going to play around with the yellow to see if I can find something more to my liking. Choosing 'Quick Paint' again I'll use the slider and palette to find a yellow more to my liking.

After a few minutes I've found and selected a yellow I like, note that all the armour sections, including those I made red last time are painted yellow, which is a problem, I liked that shade of red but I can't quite remember the hex code. There's a quick solution though, I'll click the second save 'avatar' and store this image then I'll click on the first image to go back to the Marine I painted previously. One page refresh later and my favourite red is back on the page, by mousing over the red parts I can see not only the name of each part but also a hex value for its current colour. Ah, #900000, of course.

Clicking on the second avatar again I can reload my in-progress image and use the red hex value to get his eyes, shoulder trim and aquila the way I want them, I'll also quickly change the helmet piping to black again. I'm satisfied with my changes but he looks a little overwhelmed by the bright white background, I could click on the background and change the colour but I think I"ll give him an Index Astartes style gridded background instead. To do so I'll click the drop-down box next to 'Background' and choose gridded, there, much better.

Now I'll save this new and improved Imperial Fist as well. It seems a waste to use a third slot for this guy so I'll shift+click on the second avatar to clear it before I click it again to save the image.

Split Schemes

Those who've seen any of my miniatures probably know that I like split schemes. A lot. I've painted Brazen Claws, Sons of Guilliman and Warmongers marines so one of the first things I asked Brother Argos about the painter was whether it handled split schemes. Thankfully it handles quartered and halved schemes along with even more complex designs by the simple expedient of allowing you to colour a wide variety of sections of each image. For example on our Space Marine you can paint not just the left and right side of the helmet but also paint a Veteran stripe down the middle or colour the cheek inserts in a contrasting colour to the rest of the helmet.

'Which Paints Do I Need?'
The handy 'Which Paints' list: click for full-size
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With my colour scheme perfected I just need to figure out how to get him from the screen to the tabletop. Luckily Brother Argos has thoughtfully included the 'Which Paints Do I Need?' function. Clicking this button will show me what colours I need for my mini giving me the closest colours from the Citadel (GW), Vallejo Game Colour and Privateer P3 ranges and telling me which of the three is closest to my needs.

Colour list in hand I'm off to my painting desk, but you guys can go play with the painter now and I'll hope to see the results, both digital and tabletop, in the B&C's Painting, Converting & Artworks forums soon!

Using Interactive Painter Images

Using Interactive Painter images is pretty simple, to use them on the B&C save your colour scheme to a save slot to cache it (this will help it load faster and reduce strain on the B&C server) and then click on 'Use the Image on the B&C' and copy the URL. This can then be pasted into image tags as usual in your posts.

You can also save the image to your computer with the 'Download the Image' button and upload it to your B&C image album for a more permanent record of your Marine. For instructions on using your B&C gallery please visit this tutorial. Please remember that only board appropriate images can be located in your B&C gallery, for Xenos images please use your own webspace, please see the 'Hosting Images' section of our 'Posting and Hosting' tutorial for some suggested sites.

And don't forget you can always save the webpage with your finished Marine to your browser's favourites for easy retrieval in the future as well.

If you'd like to show off your painted Marine on other forums, your website or anywhere else please do the polite thing and host the image on your webspace, again this will save the B&C bandwidth costs and server load and will enable Brother Argos and Madscuzzy to keep adding features to our Interactive Painters without the server crashing or costs spiralling out of control. Plenty of websites offer free webhosting if you don't have your own webpage, again, please see the 'Hosting Images' section of our 'Posting and Hosting' tutorial for some suggested sites.

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