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Terra's Lair

Painting ChromaDepth 3D Wall Panels: Tutorial

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This is a 3-part video tutorial series on ChromaDepth 3D wall panels. Please look for the other two videos: Designing ChromaDepth 3D Haunt Images and Building Haunt Wall Panels.





This video shows the process of transferring a small image onto a large haunt wall panel, priming the panels and painting it:













Following, is a general outline covering what was in the video along with additional details:




In the picture above, you'll notice a B&W version of a .jpg image created in Photoshop. That same .jpg image is loaded onto a computer which is attached to a projector.










Project the image onto your wall panel. This will help you transfer the design easily.

If you are using fabric (or landscape fabric like what's being used here) the image must be primed with gesso first. Artists prime fabric canvases so their expensive pigment paint doesn't get sucked into the fabric. You use gesso to stop that. Plus, white gesso is a perfect background color for fluorescent paint. It helps make it pop and you'll use less.

The gesso I'm using is a recipe I made up. It's not a real gesso mix but it's works good enough for me. Generally, it's 1 gallon of Sculpt or Coat, 1 1/2 gallons of cheap ceiling latex paint plus a tube of white acrylic to pump up the white (I'm still tweaking this recipe). When painting, use a 1" flat brush for large areas and a 1/2" brush for tight spots. You just paint any light that's on the canvas with gesso.













After the first coat of gesso dries, do a second coat. One coat won't be enough. Here you see the coverage a second coat gives you.













For the third coat of gesso you will need to Photoshop that B&W .jpg a bit. Expand the subject area with more white. This allows you to have subtle color shading show without sacrificing the detail lines in it. You will still be able to make it out. Project the new B&W .jpg onto the wall panel and do a third coat of gesso.

It is now ready for fluorescent paint.












This step is called 'color-blocking'. Just like coloring books, you are simply painting in the colors from the drawing you made. It will take several coats depending on the fluorescent paint you use and the ratio of thinning for your airbrush. You will generally do 3 to 4 coats.

I use WildFire fluorescent paint thinned down with a ratio of 50% paint/35% Illustration Base/15% water. At times, I found this ratio too thick and so was watered down even more. This all depends on the type of air brush and air pressure you use.













Here you will be airbrushing black lines and shading. Look for the hints of lines left behind from the third gesso coat and airbrush in with black. Sometimes it will be hard to see the hints and you will be referring to your jpg image. Also look for the shadings you had in the .jpg image and duplicate that.

I used regular black airbrush paint without thinning for this step.













Final step. Have all of your paintbrush colors ready and the black. Begin to blend and add other colors that you haven't been able to do thus far. You will be referring heavily to your .jpg image for this. Under black light and wearing the 3D glasses keep adding colors and shadings until it starts to match your design. Though a challenging step, it's also very fun to see the dramatic changes you will be doing here.















TADA! You are done and ready to terrify your ToTs. Time to drink some celebratory wine. whew!

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