Pyramid step by step...
I recently painted up a terrain piece from Ziterdes. ( https://www.ziterdes.com/ ) This is a German company which produces some really interesting pieces in a lightweight but sturdy foam and they come sort of painted and flocked. The step pyramid here came in the basic browny grey textured paint with the bright green flocking you can see below and would be ok straight up to play but one of my regular customers believed there was room for improvement so here we go.
As usual all paints Vallejo model colour thinned with flow improver.
First up I loaded some thin german dark camo brown and outlined the slabs and steps to give some definition. this was especially important on the steps as they lacked clear separation in places. Additionally i sprayed into the corners, nooks and crannies to extend contrast. The picture below shows the result.
Next i used US dark earth to start filling in all the slabs and bricks. When doing steps i go lighter towards the edge and the centre as i assume more wear there. On the slabs the model actually has fairly obvious raised areas on each so highlighting is easy.
After 2 or 3 passes we get to the state below where you can see that variation is key. It is easy to highlight the middle of each step or slab but it looks better if you mix it up a bit doing some slabs highlights at the edge, some in the middle, some in a corner. Also don't try to do it all in one pass as you can easily overpaint. Doing several passes gives a sort of natural feel.
looking at the vertical walls you can also see top surfaces have been lightened as have the upper parts of each stone. Its also a good time to start randomly lightening about a quarter of the stones in the walls. Don't think about this just do it as randomly as possible.
lightening up to cork brown i then hit the walls again picking out random stones, some the same as earlier others new, doesnt matter. Areas with decoration were also passed over from almost vertical to make the stonework brighter and stand out as if zenithally lit. Bits of rubble also had their upper surfaces brightened.
With the stonework done for now it was time to sort the super vibrant flocked areas. These needed both variation and toning down a bit. I considered adding some plastic ebay plants for a more jungly look but decided that putting holes in the foam was a poor idea and also would limit playable areas.
Anyway first step was german extra dark green thinned down and sprayed onto the curves and into corners and nooks. Again several passes rather than all in one go work best as you can darken or leave alone better.
Military green was used for the next passes on the upper lighter areas of the base and in random parts of the patches on the stonework. The plan is to remove the psychedelic monotone green and replace it with a more organic look. You can see on the edge nearest the bottom of the photo i sprayed a little desert yellow to increase variation. WARNING - use all these thinned down to keep control. Once on desert yellow isn't coming off easily if overdone.
With desert yellow in the airbrush i also took the opportunity to increase the highlights on all the places previously done as can be seen below.
A final piece on the stonework was to rework the shadows so german dark camo brown went back in and into the nooks and corners - well thinned. The final stonework randomiser was also done now with about a quarter or less stones being darkened. This is slightly less random as i looked for stones which were slightly rebated or overhung.
There are two bare patches of earth on this piece at the bottom of each set of steps. These were lightly sprayed with flat earth and then dry brushed with desert yellow. Not a fan of dry brushing generally but it has its place with terrain. If you don't have an airbrush this piece is actually well textured for dry brushing.
clear dry brushing here and you can sort of see the flat earth colour going up the steps where i imagine it gets walked up like a dog bringing mud in the house.
Finally its shrubbery time. As i do this for a living i always have a good stock of tufts in hand and variety really helps. I know almost nothing about gardening so placement is based on what ive seen in books but i believe shrubs grow best in little nooks and corners, often in rubble.....
Top view of the finished piece, looks like its begging for some snakemen beating off a joint attack from some crewmen with tribals assistance.
So as if by magic.....