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View Full Version : Help! How do you paint chrome color?


reikiart
12-01-2010, 06:38 PM
A very special family member has asked me to do a painting for her husband for Christmas - she has a reference image of his Corvette she would like me to paint. I can do most of the car, but I have no ideal how to paint the chrome colors for the wheels and the bumper area. I would really like to do a good job on this, so any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks!:wave:

idylbrush
12-01-2010, 07:30 PM
Chrome tends to be more about the reflections than the color of chrome. Take another look with that idea in mind.

Raymo
12-01-2010, 08:33 PM
Yeah, just paint what you see.

reikiart
12-01-2010, 09:14 PM
Thanks, guys!:wave:

danreed
12-01-2010, 10:00 PM
As the others stated, chrome doesn't have its own color- its nothing more than a mirror, although in a more complex shape. In automotive work your chrome will reflect mainly two colors - the blue from the sky and whatever color is on the ground, such as grass, gravel, dirt road, etc.

Here's a link to an "In-Process" page on my website which shows the process of my 1955 Desoto painting and it includes the process of building up the chrome wire wheel step-by-step. Hopefully this will help take some of the mystery out of painting chrome.

http://www.danreedillustration.com/DesotoProcess.htm

Dan

birdhs
12-01-2010, 11:24 PM
Look very very closely at this photo, then paint EXACTLY what you seehttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Dec-2010/110200-CSTTC_JUNE_2010_CARSHOW_074_1955_DODGE_ROYAL_LANCER_BLUE_8.JPG
This is the way I was told to do it, that and study the wonderful car paintings on this site. Greg :thumbsup:

reikiart
12-01-2010, 11:50 PM
As the others stated, chrome doesn't have its own color- its nothing more than a mirror, although in a more complex shape. In automotive work your chrome will reflect mainly two colors - the blue from the sky and whatever color is on the ground, such as grass, gravel, dirt road, etc.

Here's a link to an "In-Process" page on my website which shows the process of my 1955 Desoto painting and it includes the process of building up the chrome wire wheel step-by-step. Hopefully this will help take some of the mystery out of painting chrome.

http://www.danreedillustration.com/DesotoProcess.htm

Dan

Wow, thanks so much! That is unbelievably helpful! I saved your website to my Stumble favorites and will be checking back to it during this process quite a bit. Thanks again! :clap:

reikiart
12-01-2010, 11:52 PM
Greg, thanks so much! I see you are from Tennessee, too. Nice to meet you!

Charlie's Mum
12-02-2010, 01:22 PM
You'll nearly always get excellent advice here!!!!:)

Whenever you're unsure about an area to be painted it often helps to isolate it from the rest of the ref. and just look at shape, tone and colour - ignoring the subject - then see it all in total again :D

reikiart
12-02-2010, 01:35 PM
Thanks, Maureen. Excellent advice!

howyadoin
12-03-2010, 02:06 AM
Lots of good advice here. The thing I have to add is, it really comes down to just how photorealistic you want things to look. If you're doing something fairly stylized, you can often get by with just a suggestion of chrome. I've done illustrations where a simple pale blue gradient and a few white hot spots did the trick. In other cases I went a lot further - delineating the horizon line, reflecting both the sky and the ground, etc. etc.

Whichever avenue you choose, just make sure it's all consistent. Chrome on a car is essentially a series of mirrors, and the ones that are parallel should all be reflecting the same thing.

reikiart
12-03-2010, 09:57 AM
Lots of good advice here. The thing I have to add is, it really comes down to just how photorealistic you want things to look. If you're doing something fairly stylized, you can often get by with just a suggestion of chrome. I've done illustrations where a simple pale blue gradient and a few white hot spots did the trick. In other cases I went a lot further - delineating the horizon line, reflecting both the sky and the ground, etc. etc.

Whichever avenue you choose, just make sure it's all consistent. Chrome on a car is essentially a series of mirrors, and the ones that are parallel should all be reflecting the same thing.

Thanks for the help! I definitely will not be getting very photorealistic. I am just not that kind of a painter. I want to do as good as I can on this, though, because it is going to a family member who has meant a lot to me and my husband. Great advice about consistency. Thanks so much! :wave:

kate252
12-03-2010, 10:56 AM
i agree with all thats said- as ts so reflective its going to pick up loads of other colours and reflections- which you should try and paint as you see- trying to mathc the exact colour as best you can- how i would start out is a grey- with green and red and white and then add other colours- bit of black- bit of white- bit of blue- bit of yellow- depending on what colour the chrome picks up

thats how i would approach it

but im not a pro painter mind

reikiart
12-03-2010, 11:14 AM
i agree with all thats said- as ts so reflective its going to pick up loads of other colours and reflections- which you should try and paint as you see- trying to mathc the exact colour as best you can- how i would start out is a grey- with green and red and white and then add other colours- bit of black- bit of white- bit of blue- bit of yellow- depending on what colour the chrome picks up

thats how i would approach it

but im not a pro painter mind

Thanks, Kate - I'm no pro painter, either, that's why I so appreciate the suggestions of others like yourself. Thanks again! :thumbsup:

old_hobbyist
12-03-2010, 12:12 PM
Chrome has no color. It reflects color and distorts images.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/community/images/21-Aug-2008/115806-car_grille-08-20-08.jpg

reikiart
12-03-2010, 01:09 PM
Chrome has no color. It reflects color and distorts images.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/community/images/21-Aug-2008/115806-car_grille-08-20-08.jpg

The link isn't working, but thanks for your help. I am seeing that much better now, that like everyone has been saying, and like you pointed out, chrome really just reflects what is around it. Thanks again!

*Violet*
12-05-2010, 02:34 AM
i agree with all the advice already provided ... paint what you see ....

a funny story - i was painting a car crop in a gallery and there was lots of chrome in it ... lots of white in the chrome and streaks of greens blues grays and the red of the car's body colour ... what the heck, i'll attach a crop of it to show you what i mean ... anyway, a guy came in and saw my work in progress and asks me if i used silver paint to get that effect !! ... i just responded with a smile and said nope ... i'm just painting exactly what i see reflected in the chrome as best as i can and it turns out looking like chrome ... that answer satisfied him .... so see? .... we *think* metal, but it really is only the colours of what is reflected in it painted just as they are seen ... to me, i think it's much easier than painting the shine and reflections in a solid coloured glossy object... like the body of a car !!! ... :lol: ...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Dec-2010/46454-chrome_crop_sm.jpg

p.s. ... it's a huge tree's trunk and branches and leaves besides the grass and clouds and bits of blue skies in the reflections if the distortions have you wondering ... but it looks like chrome in the end, doesn't it? ... even if you can't figure out exactly what is being reflected ...

reikiart
12-05-2010, 10:00 AM
Violet, wow, thanks for sharing! That is truly amazing! Beautiful work! If I could make this painting look that nice, it would be fabulous! Thanks so much for helping me to see this. I have to continually remind myself not to try and make things look like "things" when I am painting, but to paint what I see.
Uh oh, the body of the car...now I am worried! :eek: :lol:
Thanks again, Violet!

old_hobbyist
12-08-2010, 11:24 AM
Sorry you couldn't open the file. Here are a couple of examples of painting chrome and one on painting a car crop with some chrome in it. Again, the objective is to paint what you see. Chrome simply reflects and distorts what it sees.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Dec-2010/214919-car_show_I.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Dec-2010/214919-car_show_IV.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Dec-2010/214919-car_show_VI.jpg