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Kat Von Dyke

Difference Between Color Packer And Shader

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That was what artists used to do up until quite recently. I know some older guys who still use the same machine for both. They just turn down the volts for shading. Like so many other things in this industry it's all down to personal preference. The main difference is usually the colour packer has a longer stroke which gives the machine more force and also slows it down. The black and grey shaders generally have a stroke somewhere in between a liner and a colour packer with a speed to match. This helps to reduce "peppery" shading and smooths out the greys (if you know what you're doing). This method is effective but is not recommended for those tattooists that like to steadily build up their grey tones because the increase in speed is more likely to damage the skin.

This is how i see the main differences. There may be many smaller differences in terms with how the machines are built and parts that are used. But that's for a whole other thread. :)

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yeah what joe blow said, you can use your color packer to shade by turning it down, or your shader to pack color by turning it up, if its set right and thats how you like to tattoo, its all prefrence, for black and grey pieces i prefer a small stroke and faster machine but really soft to build up the tonal values, where as my color packers are set up long stroke, slow and hard hitting, but if i were blending colors or shading a color piece id probably just turn down my color packer to soften it up and use that.

Edited by PAINT

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I use my shader for both blending and b n g. I've got it tuned so it hits really soft and really fast, exactly the opposite of my color packer. Different effects need different tools.

How I run my setup, just for reference, and understand that I'm still learning, just like you. Experiment and find out what works for your style. This may not work for everybody, but I like it so far. I'm still fine tuning to find that perfect combination.

Liner, medium stroke, medium hit, super fast. Hard front spring, medium backspring.

Shader, medium stroke, light hit, fast. Hard front spring, soft backspring.

Color, long stroke, hard hit, slow. Soft front spring, hard backspring.

You'll find that different needle groupings need different things from a machine as well. I'm working on speeding up my shader even more. I want that sucker zippy. I'm having to conciously slow down doing shading and blending. I run my color mostly through the PS to get the speed and power I want for different parts of the bod and different groups. It's very easy to hit too hard with color and lining, and it will show in your heal time and heal quality. Colors should be nice and bright after two weeks. If they're cloudy, you're going too deep and hitting too hard.

One thing I had to learn was that the PS was variable for a reason. Turn that sucker down when you work on thinner skin, or to get a softer effect. Turn it up when you're bouncing around on the surface. If your stretch is good, you'll be able to feel this happen in your off hand at your fingertips. This is the primary reason, other than no artistic ability, for bad tattoos.

I'll step off my soapbox now.

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