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True fire beginner tips&tricks

Discussion in 'Techniques, Textures, Tips & Tricks!' started by haasje dutchairbrush, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. haasje dutchairbrush

    haasje dutchairbrush Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

    Oct 17, 2013
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    As this seems to be a reoccuring theme I thought it might be handy to have a place to refer people to when the start out with "true fire". It's not intended to be a step by step as there are more than enough of those around. Most step by steps and movies are done by the "pro's" though and they generaly make it seem very easy as it is something they did a gazillion times before. This post is intended to sumarise the stuff that is generaly not mentioned in video's but which is pretty essential to get a good result.

    Feel free to post your own tips and tricks here :thumbsup:.

    For those starting out with flames, the video's make it look a lot easier than it is and resign yourself to the fact that it will take some practice. There are a couple of methods to do true fire these are some tips that should be generaly true for all of those.

    Tips & Tricks

    -Keep some references of flames close by and study the shapes and forms of flames. When watching video's it often looks like they just spray down some paint and it magicaly becomes a flame. These people have studied flames and know how a flame is shaped.

    -Make sure your flame licks have a shape and form, they originate at some point and have an ending. Also the tend to fade, going from bright (yellow/white) to dark (red)

    -Don't "flood fill" your work with flames. To get some depth going you'll need to have the bckground shine through.

    -Unless you are doing details keeps some distance from your work. You get flames by creating transitions between your colors so overspray is your friens. Going too close creates "spagetti" flames.

    -Don't overdo the masks. Certainly when beginning it's often better to do it just freehand. Overuse of masks creates the cheese effect :). Only use a mask to accentuate the hot and bright parts of the flames or do detail where neded. Again when watching video's it looks liket they just randomly hold their shields against the canvas and flames magicaly appear, theyse guy's know exactly why the use the shield and where they use it though.

    -As you want transitions from light to dark (yellow for the hot part to red for the cooler part of the flame) you want overspray when doing flames. Unless you do detail keep the brush at an angle (especialy when spraing across mask)

    -Never ever re-use as shape on your mask. In nature you'll never see the same shape twice in a fire. Repeating a shape on your mask will about instantly kill any realism you have going on.

    -Keep your masks clean :p

    -When using candy keep in mind the "bleed*". Especialy red waterbased paint has a tendency to turn pink when you do the hot spots in white in the last layer when it has been applied in a thick layer. The bleeding is something used with candies to get the nice transitions so it's not a bad thing, you will need to get a feel for how the different collors react with each other though.
    *It will react/mix with colors applied later on

    -When using candies it's probably nice to know why you are using them :p. The trick with cany is that you lay down a layer of opaque paint followed by a candy that is darker than the opaque. This will "blend" the opaque into any layers applied before them which creates these nice natural looking transitions in the flames.

    -Flames tend to be brighter at the bottom (point of origin) so you can do lots of bright yelow and white at the bottom but make sure to have some fades to red at the top

    -As you want to have fades you will generaly do less with each layer (this depends a bit on the method used)
    DvlDg29, Franc Kaiser, Susi and 9 others like this.
  2. DeadlyDesignsNC

    DeadlyDesignsNC Young Tutorling

    Jul 7, 2016
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    Ocean Isle Beach nc
    Couldn't have said it better and not to mention I've seen people do this that are new iincluding myself from time to time rushing with a solid color and then using super thinned paint to detail, when I feel thinning your paint a bit will make it a bit more forgiving until you get the hang of it!
  3. MeeshellMP

    MeeshellMP Goddess Queen of carts Staff Member Mod

    Mar 11, 2013
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    Hillsboro Ohio
    So...whatcha saying shields are dirty?? lololol :D:D
  4. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Very Likeable!

    May 8, 2012
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    Hampshire South Coast UK
    Don't waste time and effort on putting detail on the first layer. Just fog in your flame area, in the rough idea of your overall shape, just to give a base to work from, and as mentioned don't make it solid.

    Start to put in some flame shapes. Keep it loose, just enough to work out direction, and the flow (for want of a better word) of the flames, and to build the colour depth.

    Only in the top layer do you need to get detailed.

    My advice is to ditch the stencils altogether for a more natural look. But there are infinate flame styles, so depends on the look you want. No danger of repeating, or getting paint build up from the stencil on your work if you don't use one though.

    Don't forget to add some hotspots, and for a finishing touch, I like to add a tiny bit of white here and there (not towards the top of the flames) for the hottest parts.

    Don't over do it. Less is more. :D
    Franc Kaiser, Susi and Johnny T. like this.
  5. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Double Actioner

    Dec 26, 2018
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    San Angelo, TX USA
    I'm no expert by any means, but Squishy and haasje speak the truth. The keys to Tru-Fire are "random," and "less is more." When I first started, I was still stuck on hot rod flames, which are very structured, and do not make a good base for Tru Fire.

    I actually bought Mike Lavallee's Tru-Fire video and stencils, which was pretty awesome and very straight-forward. It's all about the layers, being random, and using the candy colors. He makes it look too easy, which honestly, it's not that tough to do. Just gotta remember to stay random and not 'over-egg the cake,' as I've heard all too often. I've also only used House Of Kolors paints for these projects, cleared with DuPoint Centauri, except for Hellfire, which had some basic urethane rattle-can clear over some black engine enamal, which made the case look like a shiny charcoaled wooden box because of the reaction and applying it too soon - my nephew loved it that way, though... so, Bonus!

    My first attempt at Butane Flames was my second attempt at Tru Fire. My 'client' was happy enough with the results, but after seeing how it all came out, I was less than thrilled and offered to sand it all off and start over - I was still stuck in structured 'hot rod flames-mode.' Here's the step-by-step as I did it, and a good example of why "less is more":
    Best piece of the bunch - the front fender:

    My next attempt was my pal Jim's Jeep dash panel, which came out a lot better, but still suffered a little from flame overload:


    Then I took on some purple flames for my buddy Dave's '98 Ram 2500. Still a little bit of flame overload, but I got better at 'random' (before the clear coat, since the clear was too shiny to make out the flames). I basically shot the blue 'butane flames' and overcoated with some purple candy clear (I'd let the opaque big stuff settle in the HOK Purple Passion Pearl), then decanted the purple tinted clear liquid and shot it over the blue flames):


    And finally, my nephew's computer case came out the best of the bunch, along with my first real attempt at some cool flaming skulls:

    So, the keys to Tru-Fire: Be random, "less is more," and practice, practice, practice.

    Hope this helps!
    basepaint, doc1 and Franc Kaiser like this.

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