Posted in Camellia, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, miniature adventure, miniature photography, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Episode 33: Back to the beginning

Camellia recalls the night she fled.

There had been a dance.

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.

Posted in Camellia, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, miniature photography, Photography, Photoshop, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Turning a photographic novel into a graphic novel

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:

. . . dwarfed by the vastness of the ocean.

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:

Oil painting

. . . dwarfed by the vastness of the ocean.

Oil pastel

. . . dwarfed by the vastness of the ocean.

Pencil sketch

. . . dwarfed by the vastness of the ocean.

Watercolor

. . . dwarfed by the vastness of the ocean.

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.

Posted in Camellia, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, miniature adventure, miniature photography, photo novel, Photography, Rosie, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Episode 30: Kissing the children goodbye

Sitting by a waterfall, Camellia recalls the night when she parted from her daughters

Sitting by the waterfall, Camellia recalls the last time she saw her daughters.

Holding the note she’s just written, she tries to comfort Daisy

Camellia tries to comfort Daisy

Then tears a photo in half, and hands half of it to Daisy

Camellia hands Daisy part of a photo

And reaches into the crib to kiss Rosie goodbye

Camellia reaches into Rosie’s cradle to kiss her 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.

Posted in Camellia, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, miniature photography, Photography, Photoshop, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

The freedom to change one’s mind

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:

Feet at sea
Knees at sea
Camellia at sea – enter stage left
Camellia at sea – exit stage right

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:

A pair of feet come into view.
. . . then a pair of knees . . .
. . . and finally Camellia is seen in a small rowboat . . .
. . . dwarfed by the vastness of the ocean.

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.

Posted in Camellia, Daisy, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, miniature adventure, miniature photography, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, Rosie, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Episode 29: The Stranger’s Story

We ended Rosie’s last episode with Frank placing a story in the local paper seeking any info on the girls’ (Rosie and Daisy)’s mother, Camellia.

This week’s episode starts with someone reading that article.

Over coffee, someone reads the day’s paper and spots an article

which recalls a day 12 years ago

She makes a call

Half a world away, Lily and Daisy are looking through old papers and letters

When Lily receives a call

The stranger tells her story.

“12 years ago, I received a note . . .

The note: “Please take my girls somewhere safe! I can no longer protect them, and if I keep them with me, they will perish. When Daisy turns 18, give her this half of a photo. She’ll know what to do with it. God bless, Camellia.”

. . . I followed the instructions, gathered the girls, and fled, while their mother escaped by boat,

. . . dropped them somewhere where no one would ever find out who they were or where they came from

. . . and waited and watched until I was sure they were safe

. . . I kept watch on Daisy and, when she turned 18, I gave her half of the photo.

while the sranger drops a torn photo

Lily drops the phone, and takes Daisy’s hands

and then paints a picture of . . .

an island.

Posted in Camellia, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, miniature adventure, miniature photography, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Episode 27: Camellia works on the hut and recalls her escape

At the end of Camellia’s last episode, she had encountered a stranger on the island and, together, they began working on a hut.

This week they continue working on the hut, and Camellia tells about her escape.

*****

Camellia and Moana travel to a remote part of the island to gather fibers for the hut.

Camellia gathers fibers.
Camellia sails back to the island.
Camellia weaves fibers into the hut.

Around the fire that night . . .

Camellia tells stories around the fire.

. . . Camellia continues the story of her escape.

Camellia remembers escaping the ball.
Camellia escapes the ball.
Camellia gets into the rowboat.

Once she’s out to sea, she drops her gown and Daisy’s teddybear into the ocean

Camellia drops her gown and Daisy’s teddy bear overboard.

Where the tides will eventually carry them to the shore.

*****

I struggled a good deal with this bit of the story – how does Cado realize that Camellia has gone by rowboat, and what leads him to believe that she’s taken the children with her? Unless he sees her leave, the only thing I could think of was that something identifiable is left on or washes up on the shore.

Once I decided that she’d drop the items overboard to be washed up on the shore, I made Camellia responsible for whatever repercussions that caused. And we’ve already seen, in Cado’s story, what those repercussions are.

Posted in Camellia, doll photography, Fashion dolls, miniature photography, Photography, Photoshop, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Select and mask: Camellia escapes from the ball

The first series of shots I took of Camellia, before I started the doll adventure, were of her escaping the ball. I love the idea of her in bare feet with her skirt lifted up fleeing down some marble steps.

Here’s the shot I took of her:

Like so many of my early shots, I end up with a shot I love on a background that’s very difficult to remove. My early shots all have tiny bits of red mixed in their hair and around the edges of their dresses.

Because I hadn’t really taken the time to learn Photoshop before, I used some combination of selecting, pasting, blurring, etc to remove the image I wanted from the bright red background.

This weekend, I took the lesson on selecting and masking, and I finally have an image where Camellia isn’t shrouded in red.

The select and mask tools themselves are 90% of the solution. Between the select tool, for getting the big pieces, and then the refine tool that you can use to refine the selection, most of the red is easily removed. But, even after I’d removed all of the visible red, as soon as I put the background behind it, I could still see a tiny halo of red all around her.

If you see this after you’ve used select and mask, choose “decomtaminate colors” and output to a new layer. This strips out I the last little bits of red.

I still had to tinker with her dress and legs, because the red backdrop had put a red tint on these objects. I adjusted the hue on those pieces and, even though her legs looks a little ghostly, they’re good enough for me.

And that’s Camellia escaping from the ball.

Making Comics has a terrific section on expression and gestures, but I feel like that’s learning for some future episode, and my Photoshop book is about to do a lesson on text. So, for Wednesday, I’ll show the results of getting the wrinkles of out my backdrop, and hopefully I’ll also have completed the front of the hut by then.