Introductory: Transformers Toy Photography Tips

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Autobot Dave, Mar 3, 2013.

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  1. Autobot Dave

    Autobot Dave Photobot

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    I've noticed some people don't want to post photos in a few threads because they think their work doesn't measure up; that's no good. So, I figured those of us who take pictures and post them fairly regularly could share how we do it, what we use, etc. After all, it shouldn't be intimidating for anyone to post shots of our favorite robots in disguise.

    This is to help people understand how to take photos!

    With that, here's how I took, and edited, my latest picture. My camera is an old EOS 20D, and I'm using the lens that came with it (18-55 mm). I use Photoshop CS5 for editing, but I hear Gimp (which is freeware), is great, too. I also hear Photoshop CS2 is now old enough where you can get it for free.

    [​IMG]


    Notice my ultra-complicated set-up! The lights are pretty cheap. You can usually find them at Target for around $15 or $20. And the ultra-complicated eraser/cell phone stand for Sideswipe is just a good old-fashioned, "Crap, I've gotta get this dude taller for the pic" improvisation.

    [​IMG]


    That's the shot, after shooting it with an aperture of 7.1 and a slow-ish shutter speed. No flash was used.

    [​IMG]


    Adding the bars. Oh yeah . . . the dimensions I build at are 9.56" x 6" at 300 dpi. The bars are 9.56" x 1".

    [​IMG]


    The lights I use are Reveal bulbs, which cast a red hue. I get rid of that by creating a Color Balance adjustment layer, and setting it to -3 on the cyan/red bar for shadows, mid-tones and highlights. I also add a Levels adjustment layer to give it some contrast.

    [​IMG]


    I draw a small, white shape in the middle of the eye, then create an Outer Glow using the color 005eaa

    [​IMG]


    Here's the final image. To give it the blue hue, I created a new layer and filled it with the color 73bed1. I then set that layer's opacity to 80% and set its layer style to Overlay.

    So . . . there you have it!

    In my experience, most photo problems have to do with lighting. Without seeing a sample photo, though, I can't tell you for sure.
    As for the lights, well . . . lights are lights. I'd think any kind would work with a lightbox.

    Great point about the white balance.
     

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  2. brr-icy

    brr-icy G1 Collector

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    Tripod. A tripod is a must. Holding the camera still only does so much.

    White Balance. When you set up whatever lights you are using for the pictures, there should be a manual set for the white balance in the camera. [This is] where you take a picture of a white piece of paper in the place you will be taking the pictures, and it will set it. Just a few lamps and something to diffuse the lights and a background (such as a sheet), and you're set. Practice away!

    * * * * *

    Mine are pretty close to straight out of the camera. I have a yard of silk velvet for the background, with a sheet of glass placed over it. I have a Nikon D3100 camera with the standard 18-55mm lens, and a homemade light box with some desk lamps. I have Gimp, [since I have] no Photoshop experience.

    Example picture:

    [​IMG]

    The only thing [I did] in post was erase the edge of the glass in the background when needed.

    One thing I learned was framing. Making the bottom have too much space compared to the top looks bad. The same [goes for] the area behind the figure instead of in front (unless it's like Autobot Dave’s megaton and prime picture, [as] one [is] behind the other)

    [​IMG]

    Also when posing, having flowing "action lines" makes the pose look more natural and balanced.

    Big thanks to Hyperoptic for the help he gave me.

    [​IMG]
     

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