What ad­vice can you give me for de­pict­ing molten metal?

Billy Ramirez, Chile

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation -

Peter replies

Molten metal is an amaz­ing thing to see. It al­most looks tasty – or per­haps that’s just me! The most im­por­tant thing to get right is the fierce glow – that bright or­ange/yel­low that’s so great to look at. When metal be­comes hot enough it starts glow­ing at a sat­u­rated brown/or­ange, and as it gets hot­ter, starts mov­ing to­wards yel­low and then fi­nally to white. So, as I paint I keep in mind which parts will be hot­ter and cooler.

I start by draw­ing what the molten metal will be held on or in. I want the container to look in­ter­est­ing so I give it an­gles and spikes. I plan out a pic­ture that will show off the glow to best ef­fect, and keep the rest of the im­age dark. The molten metal acts like a vis­cous liq­uid, and as it cools starts to act like melted wax. I use a bright, sat­u­rated yel­low paint for the liq­uid metal and give its sur­round­ings a deep sat­u­rated or­ange from the light it gives off. It’s im­por­tant to have a full range of reds, or­anges and yel­lows, other­wise it’s just go­ing to look like melted banana ice cream. I paint the ar­eas of the metal that are cool­ing down a cool grey sil­ver colour.

To give it a real­is­tic glow, I use an air­brush with an Over­lay or Color Dodge layer with a sat­u­rated or­ange colour selected. Then I paint around the hottest parts.

The back­ground has a sub­tle cool blue colour to com­ple­ment the warm or­anges and yel­lows of the metal.

This im­age shows be­fore and af­ter the glow layer is ap­plied. In Pain­ter, you can use the Glow brush with a dark or­ange colour. In Pho­to­shop, a Color Dodge or Over­lay layer will work nicely.

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