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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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.

29. October 2016 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 38: Persona 4 Satonaka Chie Taito Premium Prize · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , , ,

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Neil’s challenge:

What is Chie leaning on?
In this case, it’s “Amagi Yukiko, Taito Premium Prize”.
Extra credit was offered for an outdoor shot that involved forced perspective, where “a full-sized thing is used to make the figure also look full-sized”. In this case that is a full-sized 2′ tall rock that I think looks like the side of a mountain, and a 1′ tall weed that sort of looks like a tree.
I’m pretty sad about that giant seam along the glued-on hair piece on Yukiko, but that’s just what you get with prize figures. Thought about editing it out, but it felt disingenuous.
After the jump: physical setup banality.

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26. October 2016 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 38: EB-05S Schwalbe Graze (McGillis Custom) · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , ,

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A lot of folks, when they’re getting to a certain stage in their digital image editing experience, discover the “saturation” slider and it’s easy to go hog wild with it. In reference to that, Jeff issued me the following challenge:

Take a picture of this thing and oversaturate it – artistically – in post. I’m serious. Show [people] how overkill is done correctly.

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26. August 2016 by · Comments Off on Figure Photo Fight 37: Bye Bye Baltimore · Categories: Photo Shoots · Tags: , ,

When Neil and I attend conventions together we traditionally challenge each other to buy a figure of any sort while at the convention and stage a photograph at or around the event. Sometimes this works and sometimes it really doesn’t. I ended up snagging this Shizue for maybe a dollar less that I see it go for online, which is a good enough deal for me.

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Since this was Otakon’s last year in “Charm” City, we added the caveat of capturing a part of the unique architecture of the Baltimore Convention Center in the picture as well.

I will not mince words: for all my concerns about their change of venue to Washington DC, I am not going to miss Baltimore. The BCC is long overdue for renovation and is practically disintegrating in it’s current state, the city has made some breathtakingly poor decisions with regards to pedestrian flow around the area, ancillary retail (like places to eat) has seen better days, honestly, it’s good to put it behind me. But the BCC, with it’s giant glass walls and concrete triangles everywhere, was truly weird, and in that regard it’ll always have a place in my heart.