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Old 04-20-2016, 12:40 AM   #1
anbarestani
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Melbourne / Australia.
Posts: 17
Painting without airbrush

So my question is that, is it possible to achieve a commercial quality paint job without using an airbrush?
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Old 04-22-2016, 08:24 AM   #2
Parvo
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Join Date: Aug 2015
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Part of it you could do without an airbrush: solid colors, characterization: detailing, dry brushing, applying decals, etc.
Jobs an airbrush does better?, but not exclusively: thin layers of primer, translucent paint layers, varnish, and gradients.

Commercial quality paint job has a number of variants. If you take hot toys figures and or sideshow statues, and similar in their categories, they have an industrial production. Part of the base colors are sprayed with an airbrush, some details as the eyes could be or not decals, and the rest done by hand, so they've got to simplify the paint process in clear steps to get the overall look fine, but if you were to contact a repainter, he could probably do a better job as he could spend more time on the details proportionally than the factory workers who got materials and time constrains.

This is why such things as the image below exists:
[Reference image from Noel Cruz. The base sculpture is unchanged, only the paint job differs]

Is this commercial quality? because it's essentially an user mod.

So if you break it up in it's constituent parts
Airbrushing allows: accurate control of the flow of the paint, permitting very thin layers and consistent gradients. Thin layers you couldn't probably do as smoothly with a handbrush, specially for varnishes*. Semitransparent layers could also be done much more subtly, without obscuring as much the previous layer. It permits you to work quickly over larger areas, than if only you were using a regular brush. This broadens the range of "expression" at your disposal. Not that it's needed for all applications.

Solid colors could be done both with a handbrush and an airbrush.

Details are almost exclusively done with regular brushes and paint or dry pigments (pastels, true pure pigments, etc). Decals/water transfer/heat transfer papers are also used + a sealer (matt, gloss or in between)

*varnishes: multiple thin layers are preferred and too diluted varnish would drip, so with hand application there's a limit on how thin you could go, a spray can wouldn't allow you to dilute it to your desire lvl and you can't control the flow, where the airbrush aerosolizes the varnish and allows it to engulf the whole work model on a 10-100 micron diameter particulation per stream vs 3x+ times that for a paintbrush application, in the most diluted paint you could thin, which becomes in practice unusable. Thiner layers are preferable in concrete ways as they create less stress over the surface when the paint contracts during normal thermal cycles during the day, and accordingly peel off less given you prime the model appropriately, it also doesn't obscure surface detail as much in case you've got skin wrinkles and textures to show off.
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