Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
Metal Shading Tutorial by DanSyron Metal Shading Tutorial by DanSyron
Hey guys, meant to upload this right after the stream, but Here's a quick and dirty tutorial of how I shade metal, which you might find helpful.

This can be done in any program that gives you access to a round blend-able brush.  It also includes the value swatches I regularly use in my metal painting.

For the shown example, i use a basic round SAI brush, 25-50% blending.

1.) Start by defining your base shape.  You'll be refining this over the course of the process.  You can also choose to create a lineart of the shape and shade it using the same values.

2.) Begin establishing the initial gradients for your metal, and place the black contrast regions.  USE A REFERENCE! (seriously, I can't stress this enough.  Using metallic references will save your butt.)  These contrast regions will begin defining the geometry of the shape, and will help you make adjustments to it as you paint.  Note how my painted object is shaped throughout the steps.

3.) begin defining more complex contours using a combination of darker and lighter colors, adding pure white to the specular highlights. 

4.) begin using more white to define reflections and shapes.

5.) (optional)  I personally like to break up uniform planes with surface reflections, particularly using more black and white.  It depends on the object you're painting.

6.) At this point I also begin to tint the black regions with the ambient light color.  Personally, I use complimentary colors for my highlight and shadows, so In this example, I tint the darker regions with blue.

7.) Now i begin blending the metal into the rest of the composition, creating cast shadows, highlight zones, etc.

8.) HIGHLIGHTS.  for this step I use Sai's Luminosity layerstate, but if you have Photoshop, the equivalent layer state is going to be Linear Dodge.

I first use a clipping mask with the color of my point source light (in this case orange) and paint over the lightest regions of the metal.  I also create a nonclipped layer with the same blending states (luminosity) and lightly airbrush blooms in with the same color.

9.) Done!

It all depends on the object and the type of metal you're shading, but this is my angle of approach.  For brass/gold, simply use the respective metal colors instead of grey tones. 

Hope this is helpful!
Add a Comment:
Thatslegit Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2018
To bad I'll never find a nut like this on a car ( unless dipped in acid)
YukiSenmatsu Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2018  Professional General Artist
REALLY helped out on the metal spiked bracelets.

Thanks so much! 
garyjsmith Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
My damn.. this is excellent
PQ93-9A83-7UX1 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2017
MissAlyss27 Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this guide.
My attempt isnt perfect, but its pretty darn good for my first try!
WildeMaehne Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much for sharing this~<3
ReshiDaVanci Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Holy shit thanks Dan!
silverheart-nine Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016  Student General Artist
:nod: Much appreciated.
AzureGryphon Featured By Owner May 30, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This looks brilliant! You have no idea how long I have been confused over painting (etc.) metal. This should be a big help!
Nii-Q Featured By Owner May 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
very helpfull !!
thanks a lot ^-^)b
ItsMinosArt Featured By Owner May 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
wooo nice!!
SparDanger Featured By Owner May 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, thanks! :D
Raixander Featured By Owner May 24, 2016
Love this helping hand. Thank you!
Omega-Knight-X97M Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thanks! This will help me. ^^
patbunNF Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for sharing :D
IndiCreates Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Student Digital Artist
THank you!
AnonimLOLek245 Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
NoxYukianesa Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Very helpful! Thank you! Love 
YinMidnight Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Nice! Ty for helping me with this! Its really help me Hug 
insanityguy2000 Featured By Owner May 23, 2016
Super helpful, thanks!
TynaStargazer Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist

Could have used this like an hour or two ago. XD
historianGirl Featured By Owner May 23, 2016   General Artist
Very helpful.
KillaMaaki Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Saved. Thanks for this! I always have trouble with metals. I know how metallic vs non-metallic surfaces work, but actually getting that on the page... a bit harder for me XD
ForestBugDA Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Student General Artist
I'll never be able to draw anything as amazing as that T-T
GravitatingEnigma Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
practice my friend, you'll get there. trust me c:
Xorsama Featured By Owner May 23, 2016
nuu u can duu it^^ lol
but yea that bolt is prettyy  shiny lil bolt
ShadowDrakkon Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is very helpful for a great deal of reasons; simple and easy to follow, easy to understand how to go about each step. I was wondering how you worked on your metal to make it look so vivid and relatively realistic.

I have a feeling I am going to be implementing this process in the future, because I know how much I am lacking in an ability to properly color metal.
T0XllC Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Student Digital Artist
I've seen a few of your tutorials and they're always really easy to follow and nice to use! c: I'll be using this when I draw something metal-y :,D you're just really good at doing this! thankyou for helping us! :heart:
XyphWolf Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Veryy helpfull <3
Add a Comment:

:icondansyron: More from DanSyron


Submitted on
May 23, 2016
Image Size
778 KB


29,297 (21 today)
2,451 (who?)