08. September 2017 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 43: Otakon 2017 · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , , ,

Very late for two reasons:

  • Ongoing computer failures
  • It’s just plain not very good and I know it

The side of a hotel lamp did make for an interesting backdrop, but that doesn’t save it from also being an overpoweringly strong light source in the exact wrong place. A reflector would have saved this but I didn’t bring one; I used a blank white page on a cheap tablet as an improvised kicker which was almost, but not quite, good enough. Lesson learned: pack the right gear and be smarter about scheduling.

Figures are the Banpresto Ordinal Scale Kirito Prize Figure and the Banpresto Ordinal Scale Asuna Prize Variant in Kirito’s old coat from the original series.

16. August 2017 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 43: Otakon 2017 · Categories: Photo Shoots

Cu-Poche Gourai is the latest in my Convention Cu-Poche series for 2017. She’s helping illustrate one of the great things about Otakon’s move from Baltimore to Washington, DC; there are now good places where you can stop, grab refreshment and get ready for the next convention adventure, without having to camp out on the floor. The shot was simple to set up, but required some help from Jeff on how to get the camera stable enough without a tripod. Aside from the usual crop and resize, there’s some Photoshop work this time, but not much.

01. May 2017 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 42: Zenkaikon 2017 · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , , , , ,

Continuing the theme of using Cu-Poche figures for my convention Photo Fights, at this year’s Zenkaikon I used Cu-Poche Asuka Langley. Compositionally, I went the opposite route. Instead of trying to make my figure look people-sized, I decided to have my figure interacting with giant objects. Both of my Cu-Poche Photo Fights have required interesting balancing acts. In this year’s case, Asuka is attached to her stand, hiding behind the can, but the stand needed more weight stacked on it to counterbalance the figure’s giant head. Editing on this shot was minimal, involving a crop and some lighting adjustment to make it pop a bit better.

30. April 2017 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 42: Zenkaikon 2017 · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , ,

Some serious late-night streetpassing with the GSC Tachibana Sylphynford Trading miniature and a mountain of snacks. You can tell that it’s a Nintendo 3DS because of the inch of dust on the touchscreen (sorry about that).

Shot was done on a hotel desk with a stack of manga as a tripod and a 25 second exposure. The 3DS is the primary source of light, but I did have the bathroom light on as a very distant kicker.

29. March 2017 by · Comments Off on Figure Fight 40: Alter Popura & Yamada · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , , ,

For the fortieth Photo Fight, Jeff and I each had challenges involving shooting two figures from the same show. In my case I got to use my awesome Alter figures of Taneshima Popura and Yamada Aoi from the show “Working!!”. This time the challenge was,

Shoot these two figures in an arrangement that is complimentary to each other (more or less) with nice neutral lighting, then composite that shot on top of a background derivative of [the style of the geometric backgrounds in the show].

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04. March 2017 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 40: Vertex Space Dandy & Honey · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , ,

Your task is to take these two figures and get a shot from a dynamic angle. Since the show from which they come is full of exaggerated and interesting angles, you should try to capture that vibe. Extra points for bright colors in the background.

My initial idea for this involved fabricating and entire mockup of the inside of the “Boobies” restaurant, but I just don’t have the desk space for it. That wasn’t going to stop me from using the backdrop, which is just a piece of cheap cotton fabric that I used a straw to spit paint at and a UV light.

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20. February 2017 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 41: Katsucon 2017 · Categories: Photo Shoots

For the Katsucon 2017 Figure Photo Fight I decided to go with the Cu-Poche Hestia. I haven’t seen the series, but the Cu-Poche figures are great, and the character design for Hestia stands on its own. The original plan for this shot was to take it outside and use the figure’s magnetic feet to stick her to a railing with a nice view. When I spotted a metal chair in one of the convention hallways, that plan changed, even though her feet didn’t stick to the chair. The camera settings included a pretty high ISO to account for the fact that the hallway wasn’t as bright as it looked, and I wasn’t using a tripod. That added a lot more grain than intended, but some of that was removed after the fact. There was also a tiny bit of surgery to remove a piece of her stand that wasn’t supposed to be in the shot.

19. February 2017 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 41: Katsucon 2017 · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , , ,

Wherein we both complete Challenge 41 before completing Challenge 40.

The terms are the usual: purchase a figure at the convention and take a picture of that figure somewhere in or around the convention center. My figure was the Good Smile Company 1/8 scale of Erina Nakiri from Shokugeki no Soma, a figure that I regretted skipping the preorder on, and subsequently paid that regret away at a cool, easy, 47% markup from the original retail price.

I was thinking there was some potential for forced perspective here, but I only had a miniature tripod in the bag and as a result went way too low to get the effect. I still think the figure, and especially the throne, ended up complimenting the setting in terms of theme and color, even if I mistakenly remembered the carpet on this level being red instead of blue.

20. December 2016 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 39: Max Factory Plamax 1/20 Lynn Minmay Kit · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , , , ,

Photo Fight 39 represents two milestones for the series. It’s got the smallest scale figures yet (1/20 for the figure, 1/200 for the mecha), and it’s the first time one of us has had to build a model kit that wasn’t already done when the challenge was issued. The first thing I had to do was grab the Plamax Lynn Minmay kit from my shelf and get to building. After that, my assignment was,

It’s Lynn Minmay’s big moment, right before she irrevocably ruined the direction that nearly every Macross story would take for the foreseeable future by ensuring that milquetoast idol music was the only way that humanity could ever win a fight in space.

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16. November 2016 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 39: Persona 3 – Aegis – 1/6 – ART WORKS (Alter) · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , , ,

Warning: saturation abuse ahead.

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Neil’s challenge:

This figure has a lot of subtle detail in the shading in the face, the sparkles in the hair plastic and the printing on the eyes. Your task is to do a portrait shot with high contrast, saturation and sharpness to make those details POP.

I asked him if I could add creative lighting to the toolbox to make the face on this figure jump out and he OK’d it, so I employed a trick I learned a long time ago with this figure – the addition of a fluorescent “black” light has a tendency to make some of the whites and reds really scream. It was also responsible for that purple cast on the back of my lightbox, but fortunately I think it mostly worked out.

Most of the work happened in post, though, which I suspect is what Neil had in mind. The contrast here is about half as amplified as I usually go with when touching up every day photos, and likewise the saturation is high enough to make me want to stare down my nose and sneer. The irises especially – for whatever reason they just wanted to come out flat, so I selected them individually and really kicked them in the ass, it’s about a 50% boost. As for sharpness – I added very little. The sparkles in the hair came out on their own, as much as they were ever going to (as mine, at least, have faded slightly over time), and the addition of sharpness beyond about 2% served to do nothing other than introduce grain.

If this is his revenge for my asking him to oversaturate his last photo fight shot, man did he ever get it.