toy photography?

Discussion in 'The Toyark' started by e3nine, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. e3nine

    e3nine Poop.

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    What kind of setups do you guys use when you take your pictures?

    I'm trying to take cleaner and more vibrant pictures, but everything tends to end up more yellow than white. Any suggestions for affordable & effective lighting?
     
  2. Cyclone_X

    Cyclone_X Cybertronian Warlord

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  3. alphie

    alphie Veteran

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    Reveal bulbs are your best friend. That is what I use. Cyclone, is correct about the blue bulb. Then you can get white poster board or a bed sheet to give it a cleaner look.
     
  4. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    Good cameras usually have light settings to color correct for different types of light. I know mine has an incandescent setting that adds a bunch of blue to the picture to compensate for the yellow look that even really good photo lamps tend to have out of the box.

    I'm using some 250 WATT photo lamps right at the moment that really aren't anything more than work-shop light reflectors with a good photo quality bulb stuck in them.

    I keep hearing about these Reveal bulbs. I should really pick some up some time and experiment with them.
     
  5. ckhtiger

    ckhtiger old skool fool

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    what he said. I just stick my digital camera on a tripod, turn on the bright overhead (incandescent) light, and set the light setting to incandescent, and boom. done. you get better pics when you use a good long shutter speed, like 2-5 seconds, but you probably knew that.
     
  6. Orodruin

    Orodruin @deathformer TFW2005 Supporter

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    There's a trick I just learned a couple weeks ago for getting rid of the yellow in photos. Open the pic in photoshot hit the 'auto level' function (ctrl+shift+L), it does wonders.
     
  7. soundwaveCA

    soundwaveCA Veteran

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    For yellowing I go for GE Reveal bulbs like alphie suggested I know it sure worked for me. Also use lots of lighting from all sides as that helps as well.

    For white backgrounds also try using white bristol board or computer paper.

    And like Orodruin stated fiddling with the brightness and contrast also helps depending on what photo editing program you can get your hands on.
     
  8. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    cheebs did this great tutorial once...

    somebody should sticky it.
     
  9. wheeljaxx

    wheeljaxx Banned

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    i use 24,000 watt second Speedotron studio flash heads, and a speetotron unit that can kill you if you don't handle it right. but thats cuz i have axs to a professional portrait and commercial studio...

    at home i use 150 watt halogen work lights, and set my white balance on my digital rebel. I shoot RAW and adjust any color correction in PS.

    a good tip for white BG is to use the "dodge" tool, and set it to highlight. dodge wher ei want white and it will skip over any pixel with a value higher than what you have PS set to as your white point, leaving you with a perfect white BG, and proper exposed subject.

    but the best way to go is to not need to do any of that. get enough lights that you can light the BG itself. make a snoot or some gobo's and direct the light where you want it. black matte board or black photo alluminum paper work well.
     
  10. Chaos Muffin

    Chaos Muffin Misadventure Veteran

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    They pretty much covered the lighting. Just dont depend on cheap flashlights or spotlights unless you want uneven light rings and circles all over your lit space. Need a soft, wide natural light.

    There's always those light igloos or light boxes that provide a small enclosed perfectly lit space for shoots. Saw one of the Light Igloos at a photo shop and the guy just shined a wide radius flashlight underneath it and the inside was all lit up in a beautiful white.
    Good luck sticking a Unicron in there though. They also have light boxes (The Box) but they're a few grand.


    For those white neverending backgrounds, just get some materials (anything that don't leave creases in it like cardboard when bended) and bend them upwards at least a foot behind the fig in the background. (so shadows wont bounce off it) Reflective surfaces always help.
    Those oldstyle kitchen window shades work well. Or a giant piece of paper.
    That way you don't see creases or shelf lines in your pics.

    Like already mentioned, photoshop has a good auto levels option to take out more yellows. To make em even brighter, and also to get rid of some background, you can put some diffuse glow on it. It does'nt work as well for figs with alot of whites though.
    Or just take some normal pics, cut the image out and paste it on a solid white background. Maybe transfer some shadows as well to keep the natural look.
    Hav'nt tried the dodge tool yet that Wheeljaxx mentioned, sounds like a good method.

    I go a little overboard editing shadows and usually take too much out.
     
  11. Cheebs

    Cheebs Well-Known Member

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    A word or two on lights...

    Diffusing
    Obviously get the brightest light you can. If at all possible, diffuse it somehow (block the light with a thin white material) to get rid of harsh shadows. If you can't get your hands on a professional diffuser, rig up a giant square of tissue paper or something to put in between the light and your toy. Diffusing the light will make it dimmer. There's no getting around that. But sharp shadows are ugly and should be avoided, so you gotta' diffuse.

    Here is an example of one of my old photos where I did not diffuse. Note the harsh shadow:
    [​IMG]

    Light sources and color
    To evenly light a toy get two light sources. Be sure to know your light sources and what color they are. Don't mix a flourecent bulb and a tungsten bulb for example. The resulting two different colors can't be corrected by a white balance in Photoshop like normal "yellowing" can. This also means don't mix sunlight and an artificial light. Get two light sources of identical color (I think the lighting people call it the same "temerature"?). Try to put one source coming in from the side and one more direct.

    Here is an old photo of mine where I accidentally let sunlight into a picture lit by an artificial light. Notice that because of the two different light colors some of Meister's body is white while other parts are colored off-whitish-yellow.
    [​IMG]



    Exposure
    Obviously, the dimmer your light the longer you need to set your exposure. You need a tripod for a long exposure. It is always better to under-expose by a little bit than over-expose by a little bit. A little bit of under-exposure can be corrected in Photoshop. Over-exposure is permenent loss of bright detail.

    Here is a photo where I over-exposed Depthcharge. Notice all of the detail in his white areas is lost.
    [​IMG]


    And now just to make myself feel better after posting all of those crappy pics, here's when it all works right: :D 
    [​IMG]
    For the digital editing end of things, do a search for that tutorial I put up a while back.
     
  12. Cheebs

    Cheebs Well-Known Member

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    Auto Level does work to a point, but I find when I need to color correct it is much more accurate to open the regular Level window and manually adjust the individual R G and B levels. An automatic level feature gets it close, but it can't match your eye.
     
  13. wheeljaxx

    wheeljaxx Banned

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    I don't want to sound liek a prude or a jackass, but in the professional market, if you even mention "auto" tools in photoshop, you get laughed at and shot down. auto tools, and really, even most of the PS adjustment tools are destructive to your pixels. You should always use an adjustment layer and hand adjust your curves and levels, that way you can go back and adjust them further without actually destruing your original layer. Ps is a tool that only assumes what you want, and does it by math. nothing beats doing it by hand to really get what you want.
     
  14. Hiro Prime

    Hiro Prime Cybertronian Guru Veteran

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    If you really want to go low tech, use the back of a truck tailgate with some white posterboard and a nice, lightly cloudy day's worth of sunshine.

    It helps to have a nice digital camera w/pod of course.

    And I'm not joking here, BTW, this is how I did the first few Cybertronians until I could afford a better setup.
     

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