Feb 06, 2014

Lessons Learned From Our Fantasy Character Photoshooot

Sometimes when you plan a shoot you always wonder what if. We sat down for a few minutes to really evaluate our execution on our previous shoot, and wanted to get your input. What do you think about photos? What could we do to improve learning for you.

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    Asia Robbins

    Ok ready?
    “Little girl” is Sables daughter, Sable is a bad ass bounty hunter, who according to Rufus, may have a slightly unethical way of collecting her bounty. Rufus is a social worker trying to take “little girl” from Sable and give her to the insanely wealthy mogul Conrad, hoping that he will “donate” a large amount of money into his checking account. Lester is the scumbag who Sable is currently trying to catch, except Lester knows about Rufus and Conrad’s deal, so he kidnaps “little girl” so that he can bribe Rufus into giving him half of the money.
    Skip to the end…
    Lester is dead (gets his head cut off by Sable), Rufus is in prison (fraud), Sable quits bounty hunting marries Conrad, and they share “little girl”.

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    Harrell Harris

    I feel the characters backgrounds were weak compared to the main characters. I think if this were a comic series, each character should of had some story that drew you into there worlds… maybe each displaying there unique characteristics i.e… super powers exct. great shot though.. thanks for everything!!

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    Kevin Nestor

    While we don’t have much experience with series shots – I commend the afterthoughts on this. It really does take some thinking preproduction to make the post much better. I agree that you should take out the shots that don’t make much sense editing-wise and leave the ones in that do make sense. We had a similar situation just happen where we really wanted to make a series out of a set of shots that we took – we liked them all, but when it came time to put them together, they just didn’t work out like we wanted them to – and the series was scrapped in favor of a single image from the series being a centerpiece. Really great post, your thoughts were spot on. Lots to think about. Looking forward to more of these.

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    Rob Schut

    I think the characters are awesome. For a couple years I try to turn photo’s (mostly pin-ups) into drawings and try to improve my techniques. Watching how other people do it and try to (ph)learn about their techniques and their mistakes. This whole character thing is a whole new thing to me and I like it.
    I love to see how you guys did it.

    Lessons learned is okay (use it a lot in my work – I am an IT Project Manager)
    However don’t take it to hard on yourself !
    Improve but sometimes “less” is more and know where and when to stop !

    Finally, Aaron, allow me to give you a lesson learned tip:
    Pick up the razor again 😉

    Keep up the good work.

    Phlear you later, Phlearnigatorrrrrrrr

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    T Michael Testi

    The problem is, is that these other two are a bit more fun loving types of characters. I would put Lester, and the little girl (and you probably want to add the little girl’s mom so it is not so creepy) into another world (series). This way when Lester comes over to fix the plumbing, the little girl can be annoying or devious as the case may be and you have a different story line.

    These characters don’t really fit the Gotham City mold of Sable. These other characters could be done in a bright sun-shinny world with lots of clouds and blue skies a la a Jimmy Neutron (which that was a bit more 3D).

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    Buck Rogers

    Hey, great idea for a shoot/tut. For me, the one that doesn’t fit is the Sable character. Why? She looks like a superhero whereas the others do not. If they were all together in the same shot one might be able to form some sort of connection, but since they are individual frames then I think you needed to accentuate the superhero abilities of the others. Eg. give the little girl an even bigger lollipop that she is wielding like an axe … have the fat plumber with super strength …. the noodly guy should be even more noodly – er or something to show his super brains …. and the banker could be the gadget man. For me that is why Sable looks good on her own and why the others work better as a group without her. Great Blog. Cheers

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    Derek Lawrey

    You know, I think one problem is you are saying “Fantasy Character” and in that being very very general and broad in the range of what that means.I don’t think that’s working in your favor here. The style you mention in the video is “Pixar type charters” which would be more in the cartoonish animation style. some of the images are close to that but they all seem flat and lifeless. It seems to me you kind of lacked a specific general direction for your shoot. Your idea was too broad in scope. Also feel you lack the actual knowledge of the theme you intended to shoot. Pixar charters are 3D animations they don’t look this flat and lifeless. The Sable character is more like a comic book style fantasy character but again so flat and lifeless. I think the major problem is you do not have a connection to the theme. Your just pull up an idea but you are not really a big fan of actual “Fantasy Art.” The whole shoot and final images feel very stiff and soulless. I suggest doing more research. Check out top digital fantasy artist in places like CGHub. This will give you a better understanding of the themes and world your trying to recreate.

    PS. Here is an idea. How about you putting the images up for your Phamily here. Turn it into a contest see what we could with these shots staying in the theme of “Fantasy Characters.” I’m pretty sure I rock something awesome out of that Sable shoot.


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    I know this is an older topic at this point, but I wanted to reply, anyway. :p

    The biggest thing that I see with these characters is that there is no single style to the caricatures. With say Pixar characters, there is a distinct style for each of the movies. You wouldn’t confuse a Monsters Inc human for any of the Up characters, for instance. Getting an artist to sketch out the characters and refine the style will help when you start doing your PS work.

    Sable looks completely different from any of the others since she has been altered to look similar to Jim Lee’s Psylocke. More sex appeal vs style choices. Then, Lester looks like a “realistic skinned” Mario with the exaggerated nose and stubby little body. Conrad and Rufus match stylistically only to each other, since they’re both long and thin, with minimal face warping. The little girl doesn’t fit into any of those styles, with her pointy anime-esque cheeks.

    Getting a single artist to sketch out designs, either beforehand or from the photos you took, would help a lot with finding a single cohesive style. Their clothing could still be exactly the same, but if they had that similar style, this could be a cool set of eclectic characters for a Street Fighter style game. I wish I drew more cartoony, but I am on the realistic end of the spectrum for things like this, otherwise I would attempt some basic sketches.

    Anyway, I do love this site! I just found it a week or so ago and have been obsessing over the video’s. 😀 My photoshop skills have improved tenfold from starting to use adjustment layers alone. Before this, I was always putting each edit directly onto the image.

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    This was a great idea, thinking about taking on a fun project like this. I know my nieces would have a blast with the shoot and love to have the shot on their bedroom walls!

    I for one would have kept all of the shots you took in the series. Looking at storylines like Sin City, there’s a wide collection of characters in their own stories yet they all intertwine. Totally acceptable to have disparate like that together.

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    Andy Turner

    I did a similar project recently based around a dark Disney theme and found that even after the shoot I had to think of ways to make each shot individual but also work together in a series. Personally I think the images don’t link together in any specific way and the background could be a little ambiguous to each character. More character specific backgrounds with a linking style I think would be nice.