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Transparent or opaque

Discussion in 'Airbrush Paints' started by Math2492, Oct 14, 2012.


  1. shadow2462

    shadow2462 Elite Member! Elite Member!

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    WOW, WOW, WOW, that is like a whole college course on one page...thanks Marissa now my head hurts lol Seriously though, awesome info even if it will only take me 6 years to learn it. :dread: hehehe
  2. towniceman

    towniceman Double Actioner

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    Wow thanks Marissa....that is a huge help thanks alot!
  3. ASitIS

    ASitIS Young Tutorling

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    Thank you very much, this has helped me a lot
  4. Tyler

    Tyler Young Tutorling

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    Way to bring back the dead ASitIS
  5. ASitIS

    ASitIS Young Tutorling

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    Tyler, If i find it helpfull to me, I am going to give thanks, no matter how old or new it may be ;)
    Tyler likes this.
  6. Troyster

    Troyster Double Actioner

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    I,m afraid I need a little more clarification on this subject. I get the idea that opaques are better from the point of view of coverage and hiding mistakes but at the cost of a vibrant final piece. I also get the point of using transparents to build depth layer by layer, adding effects as you go, but here's where I get confused, If I were starting a portrait, Should I start with an opaque flesh then add trans to brighten, or use trans to start with?. There may be no right or wrong answer to this, maybe it,s personal preference but it's probably the one thing in airbrushing that confuses me most, what to use, when and for what reason. I have 2 portraits in my album on here, one is opaque only, the other is transparent only(except the hair) and the trans one certainly looks better to me, but using a combo of both, that's my concern, then of course there's semi opaques but that,ll just fry my noodle! Help!
  7. Madbrush

    Madbrush Guest

    It's probably easier and cheaper to start with over thinned opaque which will be semi transparent for gradual build up to your under painting and then continue with transparent to get a vibrant finish as well as more depth, but some do it all with transparents from the start.
  8. jagardn

    jagardn Airbrush Acquisition Disorder Patient Elite Member!

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    I generally use an opaque base then shift the final tones with transparent. For me this technique gets the most realistic look. I can paint faster with transparent, but definitely more accurate with a combo of the two.
  9. airbrushtutor

    airbrushtutor Love Spreading Overseer Admin

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    Transparent or opaque for me depends on the artwork. I definitely think that transparents are harder to work with/ require a more experienced artist as it's very easy to go too dark.
    It takes a very practised artist to be able to judge color accurately with their vision. A major tendency of beginners is to spray the paint out until they can obviously see it hitting the surface and by this time it is normally too late/ too dark. I think it's accurate to say that we can see much more subtle differences in color with our eyes, than with our brains. It's as if there is some sort of flattening filter between the eye and the information sent to the brain.
    We see three colors with our eyes, but our brain tells us it is two.
    This is then how we paint. To put it simply, i think we paint dumb.
    i think painting in majority opaques heavily reduces the need to rely on your brain. You mix the color, match it 100% after 3 full coats and that's it, the hard work is done, there is no need to trust your eye against the 50 other colors (or even absence of colors) on your artwork, you simply lay the paint down where it needs to go at 100% - it also reduces your need for good airbrush control.

    Cutting it short - if i'm painting wildlife or furry creatures, i much prefer to work with transparent paints. You can create the darker details and simply paint over the top of them to add color.
    For all other artworks i would lean towards using mainly opaques so that i don't need to trust my brain for accuracy of color.
    This is simply how i paint at this point in time - had you asked me 2 years ago i would have said 50-50. I see artists getting insane results with only opaques, only transparents and a mix of both.. Just keep painting and getting educated and you'll discover this stuff for yourself :toesies:

    NOTE:
    Opaques are pigmented inks.
    Transparents are dyes.
    If you mix transparent base to your opaque, you are creating a semi-opaque. The paint will always cover with pigment as the color, so it will always be an opaque - you can simply get it to act more like a transparent with a transparent base.
    Try putting heavily reduced yellow over black (com-art, Etac, CI, etc) and you will soon see my point.
    Semi-transparent is just confusing and is a term that shouldn't be used, if you add pigment you now have an opaque paint.
    A true transparent will always make the image darker, so blacks would stay black. Automotive candy paints are the best example of this, but the majority of water-based airbrush inks that our community uses (com-art, Etac, CI, etc) are all pigment based as they are able to guarantee longevity and lightfast colors. They are opaques, however.
    IPT and Greg Geilman like this.
  10. boneman65

    boneman65 Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    ok......what..... could everyone please elaborate?? im lost...no my mind just was seriously warped...lol....i dont think i can take any more info today...lol.... on a serious note thanks all for sharing the wisdom... as always i get schooled here!!
  11. Greg Geilman

    Greg Geilman Detail Decepticon!

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    You think it is information overload for you Boneman? Imagine what it is for me that doesn't know squat about art? Hey, I thought I had plenty of paint on my space scene! Maybe I will get some fingerpaintslol
  12. Troyster

    Troyster Double Actioner

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    Hi all, I,ve been away from airbrushing a while now as my interest ebbed away when I didn't think I was making any progress, but I,m gonna pick up the airbrush for the first time in months and have another crack, for two reasons really, I,ve been asked to make a copy of my black and white leopard portrait ( one of the airbrush tutors) I did over a year ago by a family member as a gift to his girlfriend, and secondly I've spent a stupid amount of cash to build up my stuff that I can't bare to see it go to waste!
    Anyway instead of copying the picture I've decided to brush one from scratch to re teach myself and get some sorely needed practice. I remember the first time I did it, adding the white textures over the black caused it to blue shift, I know putting white over black does this as white is in effect a very light shade of blue, but how does the airbrush tutor do it successfully in his YouTube vid?, it's clean and crisp with no sign of blue shift...
  13. Madbrush

    Madbrush Guest

    Mitch always said he adds a slight touch of orange to the white to counteract blue shift, but I always start a painting with umber which does the same but keeps the white pure, I only use straight black at the end and these days try to preserve my white based or also apply white at the end if I need to.
  14. ad fez

    ad fez kind of a big deal = Admington

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    Just re read this thread, some awesome info contained in here
  15. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    I missed this first time round, glad it was resurrected
  16. IPT

    IPT Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Same here :)
  17. Russ Allen

    Russ Allen Elite Member! Elite Member!

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    I buy mostly wicked Paint but I always have my 16oz bottle of Transparent base to refill my 4oz bottle when it runs low lol!! Get the opaques then get the transparent base and you will have both that way!!!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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