Can you give me some tips on paint­ing shiny la­tex/rub­ber please?

Jenny Mendzka, Poland

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An­swer Goñi replies

Al­though not as re­flec­tive as some of the shinier metals, rub­ber and la­tex must be treated al­most equally. For this I use some of Pho­to­shop’s sim­plier brush op­tions: specif­i­cally, Opac­ity Jit­ter un­der Other Dy­nam­ics in the Brush Panel.

Rub­ber and la­tex are highly spec­u­lar sur­faces, and so are very high con­trast. This means the light source will be re­flected back crisply in­stead of be­ing dif­fused across the sur­face. The en­tire value range is also en­com­passed in a very small area, so high­lights can abruptly come into con­tact with shad­ows.

Start by defin­ing your light source and cast­ing some shad­ows. These can be left quite sharp. Your high­lights will be even more stark and barely need dif­fus­ing. Of course, make sure that these high­lights and shad­ows hug the fig­ure so they clearly de­fine the body’s curves. Trial and er­ror may be nec­es­sary.

Your rim lights are ex­tremely im­por­tant. Highly spec­u­lar sur­faces are very sen­si­tive to light. The orig­i­nal light source will likely be re­flected from neigh­bour­ing sur­faces. La­tex and leather will pick up these mild re­flec­tions.

Rub­ber and la­tex are highly spec­u­lar sur­faces, and so they are very high con­trast. The colour of your light source will be re­flected in your main high­lights, but your rim lights will be af­fected by nearby sur­faces cast­ing re­flec­tions on your la­tex or rub­ber.

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