Can you give me some tips on painting shiny latex/rubber please?
Jenny Mendzka, Poland
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.