In one of my first posts, I wrote about trying to find a place for Camellia in the real world. Her location was difficult to find, since I needed a livable, sparsely-inhabited island which might house a panther.
Since there’s not going to be a real reveal on place for her (just far away shots of Rosie’s map) I can say that I imagine her on one of the islands near Venezula at a time before there was much tourist traffic to those islands.
Daisy, Rosie, and James are somewhat less defined. I’m imagining that they’re somewhere in Oregon, but I never did find a town for them that I loved.
Lily, however, is in a very definite place, and I’ve been using shots of that place throughout her episodes. She’s in Syracuse in Sicily, not too far away from my grandfather’s birthplace in Nicosia, Sicily, and a few hours away from my grandmother’s birthplace in Coreleone, Sicily. I’ve never been to Sicily – on my one trip to Italy, I never got beyond Florence and Rome – but I like the feel of Syracuse from the distance of my living room.
But, in this week’s episode, everyone is leaving where they are and converging on Camellia. Oh look, here are Lily and Daisy arriving at the airport now.
Camellia dances with the stranger, and then sees that Cado is watching
And then, when she realizes that Cado has left, she goes upstairs to find him . . .
and finds him holding Daisy, with a gun to his head.
As the late publication might suggest, I had a terrible time with this episode. I’d finished taking the photos with my original ending, and then felt like it was just too much – too much threatening of Daisy, and too much vilifying of Cado.
Here are those picture:
But, really, holding a gun on a toddler Disney Rapunzel? It’s just not right 🙂
So, we’ll go with this as the beginning, and, next time around, I’ll figure out a clearer way of moving towards it. And Camellia will shoulder a little more of the blame.
But, that’s it for the beginning. Now we’re on to the end.
Looks like I’m playing around with the second version again, while I’m supposed to be finishing the first 🙂
But I had an idea I wanted to see the adventure in more of a graphic form. Fortunately, Photoshop (and, in this case, Photoshop Elements) has some cool filters for quickly transforming photos into sketches and paintings.
Here is the original of the last panel of Camellia’s open ocean episode:
You can make some changes with Photoshop, but I find it more difficult to navigate for this kind of thing, and its painting filters are pretty limited. So, instead, I mostly use PhotoshopElements. Open the photo in Expert mode, and click on the FX tab. You’ll see a list of 50 or so filters. Here are the effects of the ones that turn the photo into a graphic:
I ended up really liking the second one – the Oil Pastel filter. It retains the detail of the original, but gives it a kind of dreamy quality.
I don’t think I’ll turn the whole novel into a painting, but it’s possible that I’ll play around with Camellia’s early episodes.
Sitting by a waterfall, Camellia recalls the night when she parted from her daughters
Holding the note she’s just written, she tries to comfort Daisy
Then tears a photo in half, and hands half of it to Daisy
And reaches into the crib to kiss Rosie goodbye
Even with an impulsive day off from posting to the blog this week and a late posting today, I still didn’t manage to get all of the pictures taken for this episode. There was supposed to be handoff of the note from Camellia to the stranger. Oh well, I guess we can assume it got to her, since we saw her with it in the previous episode.
Also, some day I have to get an infant doll. Poor Rosie hardly makes it into any scenes, since I don’t have a doll small enough to pass for her.
If there’s one thing I was certain of on Friday, it was that I was going to take a year off from reworking the My Doll Adventure series once I’d wrapped up the first draft.
Naturally, the first thing I did on Saturday was start working on the revised version. I still think I’ll hold off on working on it in earnest for some time, but who knows.
The most significant change I want to make (other than redoing a lot of the photographs) is to spend time letting Daisy and Camellia develop and change in response to their circumstances. I’m also going to change the triggering event for Camellia’s story. Since you haven’t seen that yet in the current version, I won’t say too much about it, other than to say that it makes Camellia a more complex character.
I’m frustrated enough with trying to pose my two unarticulated support cast members – Daisy’s and Rosie’s adoptive father and the stranger character – that I’m going to completely recast them, probably with some Hot Toys-type action figures. I’d like the adoptive father to be much older. I fell in love with a hyper-realistic Morgan Freeman doll (and, yes, this really is a picture of a doll)
But my son tells me that he’s so darn realistic that he can’t be anything other than Morgan Freeman. So, unless I want to claim that Daisy and Rosie were taken in by Morgan Freeman, that really won’t work.
So I’m going to try a somewhat less realistic Michael Caine character instead (and, yes, this is also a doll).
It isn’t so much that he isn’t realistic, it’s more that it’s not quite so identifiably Michael Caine. Either that or it’s just that Michael Caine himself is not that identifiable 🙂
I haven’t started searching for the stranger character yet – I’m going to finish re-doing the plot to see what she’s supposed to be like first.
So, anyway, I spent the whole weekend working on redoing the plot, that thing I wasn’t going to do at all. Hopefully I’ll have enough time during the week to work on the current episode I was supposed to be working on 🙂
Anyway, back to redoing the past. Going through my original photos, I had enough shots of Camellia in the boat to redo those images in Photoshop, and then lay them out in a new comic layout tool I got.
Here’s the original shots:
The first two aren’t so bad, although the boat does look like it’s rearing up in the ocean instead of actually resting on the water. But the last two are pretty bad. She looks like she’s in a bumper car.
Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned in one year, shown in the reworked images:
Apparently my biggest Photoshop accomplishment is that I’ve learned how to skew objects and add a shadow layer. But I feel like my eye has developed, especially as seen in the two versions of the last photo. The recent version of that photo is pretty good, IMO – I’m starting to get a sense of her lost in the ocean, and that gives it an emotional tone that the first version was totally lacking.
As I was doing this I had yet another crazy idea that I’d just redo the whole darn thing every year to gauge my progress. We’ll see how long that idea amuses me for.
Here’s what it might look like layed out on a page, using a comic layout tool called Comic Life:
If you’re ever interested in laying out photos, and adding speech, this is a cheap (I think it was $29) simple, flexible tool. It did everything I needed it to do, and I could figure it all out in 30 minutes or so.