NMM Explained in Just 10-Minutes!

NMM – Non-Metallic Metal – has been a bane in my painting life. I’ve watched hours of video, I’ve practiced on small things, like weapons and the odd bit of armour, but that has been my limit – I just haven’t been able to get my head around it.

NMM is an advanced technique, especially if you want to do it well, and it mostly revolves around how metal reflects light. Understand this and you’re halfway there, but it isn’t an easy concept to understand, at least up until now that is.

After mentioning my woes at painting NMM on Loki, Jeff of Kuribo’s painting, kindly offered some advice and pointed me in the direction of Kujo Painting. Kujo does miniature painting tutorials and his explanation of how light reflects on metals and how to interpret that in your painting is second to none – it’s the most productive 10-minutes I’ve ever spent on YouTube!

It’s so good it deserved sharing… enjoy!

11 thoughts on “NMM Explained in Just 10-Minutes!

  1. Thank’s for sharing Justin, it’s one of the things I still want to learn

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This has helped me out no end and thought it only right to share!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. NMM is something I’ve never attempted and to be honest, I probably won’t; it’s way beyond my skill set. On the other hand, that’s the best explanation of working out *where* to put the light/shade I’ve ever seen.

    Juan Hidalgo does great tutorials on painting NMM with individual videos on each colour: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAgUxju32DgTtgHfdyF9JUWP_mRFph0d4

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s the thing that I really couldn’t get my head around – where to put the reflections – and this makes it so easy to understand. If I can work on this and get the basics nailed then I’ll start looking at other videos again and try to move forward.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m with Matt on this! 🙂 The analytical side of my brain also says that anything you paint in NMM style only appears correct if viewed from a specific angle, so my non-NMM metallics look much more dull but catch the light correctly from all angles (well, it sounded logical to me)! Having said that, your NMM and zenithal shading/lighting work is pretty damn good, Justin, no denying that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John.
      I know what you mean and it takes some thinking about to get your head around – I’m hoping this will help.
      I’m pleased with the bits I’ve done in the past, but that’s all they are, bits. I’ve struggled on anything larger than a dagger, but I keep trying and I’ll get there one day.


  4. Thanks for the shout out, mate and I’m glad this inspired you! I agree with Matt that Juan Hidalgo’s videos are great as well. I feel he doesn’t do as good of a job at teaching you how to place the highlights but he does point you to Darren Latham’s blog which is not a bad written resource for painting NMM and I certainly apply those ideas when I am trying to figure out where to place highlights. Here’s a link to that if you’d like to give it a read: https://razzaminipainting.blogspot.com/2016/07/non-metallic-metals.html. The image where he shows the lighting coming from four sources is the key in my opinion. It helps you avoid the situation that John is talking about where the NMM only looks good from one angle. It also helps you get over that initial hump of thinking, I don’t even know where to put the first highlight on this thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the link, I’ll get round to reading it at some point – I seem to be swamped with stuff at the moment.
      My problem has always been that I get sucked back into highlighting in the conventional manner and lose the ‘metal’ effect, as I’ve never really understood how metals reflect light. Now I’m coming armed with that information I hope things will start to fall into place – practice, practice, practice!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When painting NMM, it is worth remembering that you want to maximize contrast across your colors. So white or near white to dark gray (nearly black in fact) is ideal when painting a steel. You generally put a really bright highlight near the darkest shadows too. If you can put those into practice, that really helps convince the eye that its metal 🙂 Take your time and try NMM when you’re ready. There is no rush and you have to use your noggin a bit while doing it so it is good to have a clear mind and some patience! I can always give you feedback on minis as you post painted minis on this very blog as well 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. All great advice Jeff, and I’ll certainly heed it when the time comes… hopefully the wait won’t be too long.
        I’ve been thinking of doing some ‘critique’ posts so this might all tie in together… all feedback is much appreciated 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sounds great! I look forward to seeing what you come up with 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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