For those who are new to ship painting, a quick introduction to fundamental painting methods with examples is offered. This tutorial will cover the fundamentals of shading, decal stacking, and color palette choices.
Although I consider myself a fairly amateur painter, plenty still has to be learned – I wanted to write a basic guide to help others who are trying to build ships they are proud to own. This guide will demonstrate simple, yet effective techniques for painting your ship without too lot of difficulty.
Cosmoteer’s painting of ships is a similar task to all . These strategies may be used, or none, at none. You can still paint your own incredible vessels. All images and example ships are my property.
Let’s get started with the basics!
Let’s first go over the basics of the paint system.
Paint is divided into two layers: one base paint layer and three decals layers. There are four total paint levels. The base paint layer, which is the simplest (yet very important, is the most important.) – This layer consists of one monocolor and the option to choose a “texture”. This texture can dramatically change the look of your paint scheme. So don’t be afraid to experiment and change it around to find what works for you!
Each layer, beginning with the base paint layer and ending at the highest (layer, the third decal layers), are “ordered” sequentially. This means that paint on a higher level will paint over paint on the lower layer. Skilled painters can use this technique to create unique effects, covering only certain areas and taking advantage the ‘negative’ space. This feature will be further explained in the guide.
The final result of a ship’s painting is the combination (base paint, decal layers 1, 2, and 3 – all working together to create a specific design. Understanding the interplay of layers is key to creating appealing and eye-catching designs.
Here’s an example of a ship that has all its various decal layers laid out. Then, it is combined at the bottom. This ship, as well as others, will be displayed throughout.
Technique 1: Shading
Let’s start with the most fundamental of ship painting techniques, SHADING. Shading is one of the most important techniques for creating pseudo-3D effects on ships.
How does shading work? You can shade using “Fades”, which are one of many options for decals. There are many shapes and types to choose from, which allow you to create unique “raised” and “lowered” areas for your ship.
The “Fade02” decal is the basic fade. It is a straight, simple line which often forms the “core” of fade shapes. These shapes are completed with the “Fade01”, “Fade03” and “Fade03”, which are often used to seal the corners properly and seamlessly.
Many of the basic fades can be combined with a curved piece. Each of the fade shapes shown to the right uses one or more decals, but only the four shown at the top left) in order to create shadow-like shapes.
To make fades most effective, they should be placed on top of the layer being used. In almost all cases, this will be the third layer. This is because fades often closely mirror shadows and must not be obscured.
Basic fades are often created by creating rectangles or straight boxes to create shadows. However certain decals can be used to create “angled”, “curved” and “curved” fades.
The only shading layer on the example ship was removed.
Technique 2: Patterns
Technique number two involves the use of decals and patterns in new ways to create pleasing lines and shapes.
There are many different decals to choose from. Many can be used in unique ways that are often quite different from what they seem to be intended. Experimentation and creativity are key! For example, “Curve07”, “Curve02”, and “Curve07” are two examples of neat symbols and shapes that can be used to create eye-catching centerpieces.
Multiple can also “flow” together creating natural ends or continuations.
You can create unique shapes, stripes, and patterns with a variety of decals. All of the shapes to the right were created using different decals from column left.
Decals are the foundation of your paint. Their flexibility and creativity can make a paint scheme incredibly creative.
Example ship with decal layer one and two. This illustrates how simple decals work and how they can be mixed.
Technique 3: Decal layering/Pseudo-negative space
As explained in the basics section, different decal layers can interact with each other due to how each layer paints above the previous one. This can often mean that a higher decal will completely cover a lower level, but it is not always the case.
Skilled painters will opt to use partial stickers that don’t take up the entire block to make room for another small sticker either above or below it. This allows for some very creative effects and styles that can help you keep a “flowing look” between your colors and layers.
One example of how decals can be “layered” on top one another. The blue decal is higher than the red.
The complete example with all its layers mixed, showing how they interact to create a seamless design
Technique 4: Colors and Aesthetic Shapes
This one isn’t as technical as the others. It’s a quick overview of the impact that color choice and the form of your ship can have on your design.
(you don’t have to stick to a particular color scheme. I know that I changed my initial choice quite a bit throughout). You can experiment with your design as it evolves.
This is not a guide for shipbuilding. However, a ship’s shape can often impact how it looks, which can influence how you want to paint it. The performance of a ship will be affected by its unique or unusual shapes and protrusions. You must be willing to take some efficiency loss if you drastically diversify its shape.
These are some of the basic concepts you should keep in mind.
Vibrancy/Brightness: How shiny do you want your ship? Or a shiny finish? Or A dull, “rusted”, style? Adjust your brightness by moving the color picker horizontally within the color box.
Contrast: Choosing colors that are very similar to one another can yield beautiful, consistent results. However, mixing in another (, different) can sometimes make a design pop and not seem too “samey”. This, as with all things, is subjective. You should tailor your designs to your needs.
Shape: Radical shapes tend to be less efficient (. Please refer the various ship building guides) for further information. However, it can allow for another aspect of creativity. You can experiment with many different types of “Fins”,” “Wings”, and “Spiky Protrusions”, as well as “Circular Sections”, to create your unique ship shapes.
It’s possible to create truly unique ships by using asymmetry
Here are some ship photos and.ship files for your personal analysis. Drag the.ship files into your (game space.
A few alternative starter ships. Below are the.ship files that they have made available for personal use.
A.ship file for a small, diagonal fighter using a blue colour scheme
A.ship file of an extremely small hauler with a somewhat “rugged”, and “rusted,” look
A.ship file describing a tiny, greenish blue fighter
Cosmoteer paint is a rich and satisfying system that can be used to create unique and appealing ships.
All types of ships can benefit from a great paint job. The best way to learn is simply to sit down and paint. Don’t let your first attempts discourage you. You can use them to learn new techniques and ideas. You can observe the unique styles of other painters (.) to learn how they create the paint on their ships.
I hope that this was helpful. I will likely continue updating this guide with the help of the many talented painters in this community. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions, or if you have any other tips and tricks that you think are worth mentioning.
All the best for your painting endeavors.
~Lord Draconis (Astrum)
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