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Fish Blanks

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by oaktree, Feb 16, 2023.

  1. oaktree

    oaktree Member

    Might be a strange question
    I am in the process of stripping the paint off a repo perch this is the first blank I’ve worked on without the nice translucent fins. Is there a special painting method to lay down on the fins to give them a natural look as to not have them looking over painted.
    many tips would be appreciated
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    It’s called layering your colors down. Look at fins underwater as long as you don’t have light refraction their opaque.
    Your rays will be lighter in color and the webs will be darker.
    jimss likes this.

  3. Richs Taxidermy

    Richs Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Mike O once said fins are not as transparent as most people think
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    And has prove as well as I have. It’s the refraction that makes them transparent!
    Richs Taxidermy likes this.
  5. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    Thought it might be helpful to explain in part what refraction is. The word tends to be used out of context often on here. To try and simplify it and relate it to what we do, refraction is when light enters a medium, the given medium changes the speed of the colors (color is the reflection of light and each color has a unique wave length), this in turn changes the appearance of the colors. For example a prism enhances this refraction creating a rainbow. What is happening here is the light bounces around through the medium reacting to reflection, refraction and the medium itself causing what we see as a rainbow. A fin under water reacts differently using these same principles. Many fish have fins that are translucent and when light enters the fin it bounces around changing the wave lengths of the colors. If the fish is out of the water the light is able to project out of the fin giving it a clear appearance. If the fish is under water the light will reflect off the interior of the fin causing an opaque appearance. Kind of has that light blue ghost like appearance. The appearance will also be heavily effected by water clarity and depth of the fish. Although refraction is part of that equation the fin under water has that appearance primarily due to reflection.

    Personally I prefer to paint the illusion of translucency in my fins.

    D.Price and 1fish2fish like this.
  6. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    As frank mentioned above, layers and blending colors and lines so they blend in and look natural. Hard line edges and color changes generally look fake.
  7. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    How can I see a yellow perch's scales through an "opaque" pectoral fin? X-ray vision?

    I disagree that the rays are lighter and webs darker as well.

    I do recommend studying the underwater pictures. As well as the above water pictures, to get a sense of whats happening for each fin.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2023
    Timjo likes this.
  8. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    It’s lighter cause of the bones in the fins and yes darker in the rays
    Mike O, Rick K showed me this yrs ago. When we do see that transparency it’s light refraction and yes I totally understand what you’re saying.
  9. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I'll go by reference.

    Whereas webbing is translucent, it's appearance is affected by the background.

    I like M. Fahrni's attention to this detail.
    Harum likes this.
  10. Timjo

    Timjo Active Member


    An example of a pec fin.

    Most freshwater fish fins are like this with of course, some exceptions. To achieve this look like a real fin you need to start out with a transparent "blank" fin. After that it's up to you.
    Harum, 1fish2fish and 3bears like this.
  11. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I've always been super impressed with how nicely you achieve this look with replica fins. Despite the obvious techniques it calls for, it's not easily accomplished at all.
    Timjo likes this.
  12. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    Great reference pic Timjo! The fins you create on your pieces are second to none. They have always impressed me.
    Timjo likes this.