Metal Shading Tutorial
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© 2016 - 2019 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!
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Vyctorian's avatar
Vyctorian| Digital Artist
Excellent guide!~
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Thatslegit's avatar
To bad I'll never find a nut like this on a car ( unless dipped in acid)
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YukiSenmatsu's avatar
YukiSenmatsu|Student General Artist
REALLY helped out on the metal spiked bracelets.

Thanks so much! 
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garyjsmith's avatar
garyjsmith|Professional Digital Artist
My damn.. this is excellent
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MissAlyss27's avatar
MissAlyss27|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this guide.
My attempt isnt perfect, but its pretty darn good for my first try!
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WildeMaehne's avatar
WildeMaehne|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much for sharing this~<3
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ReshiDaVanci's avatar
ReshiDaVanci|Student Digital Artist
Holy shit thanks Dan!
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silverheart-nine's avatar
silverheart-nine|Student General Artist
:nod: Much appreciated.
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AzureGryphon's avatar
AzureGryphon|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!
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Nii-Q's avatar
Nii-Q|Hobbyist Digital Artist
very helpfull !!
thanks a lot ^-^)b
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ItsMinosArt's avatar
ItsMinosArt|Hobbyist General Artist
wooo nice!!
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SparDanger's avatar
SparDanger|Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, thanks! :D
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Raixander's avatar
Love this helping hand. Thank you!
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Omega-Knight-X97M's avatar
Omega-Knight-X97M|Student Digital Artist
Thanks! This will help me. ^^
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patbunNF's avatar
patbunNF|Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for sharing :D
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IndiCreates's avatar
IndiCreates|Student Digital Artist
THank you!
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AnonimLOLek245's avatar
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NoxYukianesa's avatar
NoxYukianesa|Hobbyist General Artist
Very helpful! Thank you! Love 
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YinMidnight's avatar
YinMidnight|Student Digital Artist
Nice! Ty for helping me with this! Its really help me Hug 
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insanityguy2000's avatar
Super helpful, thanks!
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TynaStargazer's avatar
TynaStargazer|Hobbyist Digital Artist

Could have used this like an hour or two ago. XD
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historianGirl's avatar
Very helpful.
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KillaMaaki's avatar
KillaMaaki|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
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