Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Photos: Practice and Experimentation

So it's been a very long time since I was able to get a really good picture of a model and, when uploading it, actually think it was worthwhile. Now that I am actually thinking of it, I'm not sure I ever had good pics...maybe I was just younger and not as much a perfectionist. What I can say for sure though, is that it has been at least as long as I've been blogging that I've had a hard time getting good pictures.
Attempt #1

Normally, my picture taking routine involves putting away all of my painting stuff and setting up on the same table, lowering my work light into precarious positions and trying to snap as many photos as I can before the light singes an eyebrow and I give up. Usually, this leaves me one or two decent photos.

Attempt #2
The more I work on this blog though, and the more I think about really getting out into the community, the more I want to really make some photos that showcase the amount of time and dedication I put into completing a paint job. To that end, I've been experimenting with backgrounds, lighting and different cameras. To the right are some of my attempts. I picked up variety of colored felts to use as a background. This alone steps up the quality of the images.

I'm still working on lighting, but I think I am getting somewhere. One problem I run into pretty regularly is that I have a hard time seeing what an image actually looks like based on the screen on which it is being viewed. While most of my work with the photos and the blog is done with an iPad or iPhone, when I get to a  desktop with a brighter screen, the photos often look very different. Different still when I view them on a laptop, which is typically a darker screen.

Attempt #3
It occurred to me after the photo experiments were done that Avatar Seamus is a difficult model to photograph, as he's big and full of large areas of single colors. His skintones are pretty light, making it difficult to get the right amount of lighting. So I tried a couple of other models with the same experiments.

Attempt #4
I pulled out a Night Terror and an Austringer Puppet and decided to to the same tests with the felt background and lights in a couple of positions and of varying intensity.

Overall, I think I am making progress, but there is still work to be done. Over the weekend, I picked up a new desk lamp...nothing special, just an OttLite cheapo one that claims to reduce glare and eye strain. My next experiments will use that lamp, either in conjunction with my current setup, or on it's own.

I imagine there will also be several other changes and additions to my process as I move forward. One thing I am completely lacking, for example, is a good way to edit the photos I am taking. I've been looking into some programs, and even some apps that may help with that, but if anyone is reading this and knows about one, please let me know in the comments.

In the meantime, I'm continuing work on my two new big projects. I hope to have more info about them coming soon. I also want to get back out there and play some Malifaux. Tonight, however, freezing rain and snow abound....so I will be staying in.

More to come.

-Nick

Friday, February 15, 2013

Resolutions Revisited

I think the second half of February is a perfectly acceptable time to completely overhaul my gaming resolutions. The good news is that, as I look back on it, the list was not particularly ambitious, so I'm actually challenging myself a little bit more.

Let's take a look at the list I made first:

  1. Finish painting my current Puppet Wars Collection
  2. Finishing painting a tournament-worthy Malifaux crew(s)
  3. Play an actual game, of anything, at least twice a month
  4. Attend at least one large event
  5. Build a Malifaux table and Terrain

Not bad. But I am going to adjust them a little bit, mostly to reflect the fact that I have been working on two brand new projects, A LOT. And also to be realistic about the time I have for gaming outside of the home. Oh yeah, and the new airbrush will help considerably.

Here is the new list:
  1. Finish painting my current Puppet Wars Collection
  2. Finish painting a tournament-worthy Malifaux Faction
  3. Finish painting my secret new project. More to come on that one.
  4. Base and Varnish any remaining painted Necromunda models
  5. Play a game of anything, outside the house, at least once as month
  6. Attend at least one large event
  7. Build a Malifaux Table and Terrain
  8. Focus on Improving the Quality of my Blog posts.
A little more ambitious, yes, but I still think it's realistic....well...maybe not the gaming once a month part...

Resolution number 8 there  is an addition I am making after the initial draft of this post. I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to work step up my game as far as posts go...both in written content and in the photos. The funny thing is, that after writing that post and spending a good amount on time on the Seamus article, I accompanied it with some pictures that were okay and some that were horrible.

The distinction I need to draw is between a pic I can quickly snap on the iPhone and the showcase photos I need to spend time taking for completed models. 

More to come.

-Nick