Posted in Camellia, Daisy, Fashion dolls, Photography, Photoshop, Writing

Photo Stories then and now: Comparing Among the Flowers episodes over the years

At almost two years into learning to create photo stories, and reshooting the Among the Flowers storyline, I can start to see what I’ve learned over these years.

It started with Camellia’s episode, which launched the series. Although I left the first two shots largely unchanged, I fixed the very odd “exit stage right” shot at the end of the episode to instead pan out and show her dwarfed by the ocean.

Here’s how it looked, back in August, 2016

Camellia’s first episode, then

and here’s how it looked when I redid it at the start of this year

Camellia’s first episode, now

 

I also did some Photoshop filters (I think this one is oil painting) to give it a dreamier look.

Daisy’s first episodes have gone through much more drastic changes – the story, the setting, even the dog are all different.

Here’s the sum total of Daisy’s original first episode (when I found this, I had to go back to my files to be certain I hadn’t missed anything. Nope, two shots and zero story. No idea why I thought that constituted an episode. Anyway, here are those two shots:

Daisy sits in her window seat
Daisy and Annie get ready to go for a ride

I have to say, the pink wainscoting behind Daisy looks just fantastic. I spent hours creating it – I hope I can find a use for it some day. And the shots altogether are OK – a little thin in storyline, but perfectly acceptable.

Now, comes the embarassing part – Daisy on the bike ride in her next episode. I recall being very proud of myself at the time that I’d managed to get the bike even roughly photoshopped into the landscape but, dear lord, what a bad job I did.

Yep, totally believable 🙂

Anyway, fast forward to the present. Here’s Daisy’s new first episode (now covering the activities of her first two). I started her outdoors and put her in a setting where her bike doesn’t look so ridiculous:

What this shot misses in a sense of motion for the positioning of the bike in the previous photo, it completely makes up for in believeablility. Not sure why I couldn’t bother to get the dog in focus, though.

Once I get Daisy taking pictures of her dog, we can do a couple of shot-by-shot comparisons:

Photographing the dog:

Then

Daisy takes a picture of Annie

And now

Original shot is actually pretty cute (I especially like her crossed legs) although very poorly photoshopped, but the second communicates much better. Plus, the new camera is kick ass.

Lying down with the dog

Then

and now

No contest at all. Why was I blurring the entire background? It’s not a dream sequence. Plus, I just love the upsidedown perspective, and the relationship between Daisy and Prince (or Argo, as I think I’m calling him now).

But the biggest growth is in an area that never even entered the original episode – the push and pull between Daisy’s fundamentally happy and sound personality, and flashbacks to her as a child in an unsettling and dark time. Here are the pre/post flashback shots in the new episode:

In addition to reflecting more depth of her character, these two are clearly influenced by my much better ability to manage Photoshop. I was just learning the tool back in 2016 (in fact, I think I was using Photoshop elements and not the full-powered verison). I could never have managed the reflection in the toy story window two years ago (although, even when I created it recently, it took me a shockingly long time to figure out if it was Daisy or the window that should be partly transparent). In the Post flashback shot, I used Liquify to remove her smile and widen her eyes.

I have a few more episodes to get through for the comparison, but that’s enough for one post. For the next few weeks, I’ll be working on the new Betwixt episode where father and daughter try to understand the scope of their new powers.

Advertisements
Posted in Characters, Daisy, Fashion dolls

Moving into the dollhouse

I’ve spent the last few weeks redesigning my doll room (what used to be the dining room in my house), and the living room next to it (which is still, at the moment, just a living room.)

I had a very clear picture in my head what I wanted for the doll room and, once I’d gotten the pieces in place, I sent a picture of the new room to my sister.

To which my sister responded. “Oh, you’re moving into Daisy’s room”

For comparison

Daisy sits in her window seat

So, apparently, I am now joining my dolls in their adventures. Which, mostly, seems pretty nice.

*****

I’ve had the worst time this last month or so finding all of the pieces I need to do an episode. First, I was totally stuck on re-doing Daisy’s room. Then, once I decided I’d start her outdoors, I decided she needed a much better camera.

While I was waiting for that to make its way from China, I decided to start on the Betwixt episode. However, I’ve been totally stymied on that by the immense immense-ness of the big guys’ thighs. I mean, they’re just totally huge – much, much thicker than the legs of any doll clothes I can find. At the moment, I have him in a onesie and a pair of 6 mos sweatpants, and I guess I’m just going to have to shoot him in that until I find something better.

Here’s the big guy in his baby clothes.

and his freakishly big thigh.

Fortunately, I distracted myself so long with finding pants for my Vindoll that the camera from China finally arrived. So, it’s almost time for Daisy’s first (redone) episode.

Here’s a few sneak peak shots

In addition to the totally cool 1/6 scale DSLR camera (which has interchangeable lenses and a tiny (non-working) flash), Daisy has gotten herself a new dog. He’s Barbie’s Prince dog who, unlike every other dog I’ve found for her, looks pretty realistic and his legs/head can be repositioned. I’m hoping this is the final dog, and that I won’t have to shoot everything again.

For comparison, here is the orginal version of the Daisy-sprawled-on-the-grass with her previous dog, Annie, along with her tiny, unsubstantial Barbie camera.

Daisy shoots the sky

At the end of this episode, Daisy has a little shock, so I put the Liquify face feature in Photoshop to work.

It’s impossible for Daisy to frown – the most she can do is just not smile. I made her eyes a little bigger, though, and I think the combo of that with the unsmiling face looks pretty convincing.

Posted in Camellia, Daisy, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, Maskcat Ester, miniature adventure, miniature photography, My Doll Adventure, photo novel, Photography, Rosie, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls, Wildflowerdoll Jacqueline, Wildflowerdoll Jane, Wildflowerdoll Rosie, Wildflowerdoll Ruby

My Doll Adventure 35: The End

Last time we checked in, all of the characters were converging on the airport in an attempt to find Camellia.

Did they make it?

Let’s see.

Well, hmmm, not sure. Let’s see if we can get another angle

Oh, yes, I think I can make it out. Let’s try one last angle

Ah, good, looks like they all made it there. Oh, where are the rest of the dogs?

Ah, there they are. And then, they turn and . . .

. . . it looks like it’s time for us to go.

*****

Thanks to everyone for following along for this last year. August 22 was the official anniversary of *my* adventure, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have.

I’m going to make some changes going forward.

First, I’m going to split my behind the scenes mirror sites (mydolladventure.com and mydolladventure.wordpress.com) from the production site (coming soon – to be named Small Life Stories). That gives people the choice to watch what it looks like constructing the adventure, or just to follow along with the adventures themselves, or both.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to play around with constructing more substantial sets, and I’ll probably slip in an Underfoot episode while I’m doing that. Then I’ll cycle between the various adventures.

On the topic of Underfoot and my other adventures, I got one of my 1/3 scale dolls this week, and he’s totally bonded with little Ester (who was supposed to appear in the Underfoot adventures.)

So she’ll be joining the Betwixt adventure as a kind of fairy/sprite, leaving Buu and Jinjur to continue their journey alone. That actually works out a little better, I think, because it leaves a space for Buu to grow into.

Buu is also (I’m almost sure) going to also take a supporting role in the second draft of the Mia Fiorello story as young Daisy. She’s pretty much the right size, she looks a bit like Daisy, and she has all of those great joints that my toddler Disney doll is missing. There are going to be a few more recasts in that story, but the main Wildflower dolls will go on in their current roles.

So, thanks again for joining me on the first phase of my adventures, and happy doll adventures to all of you.

Posted in Daisy, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, miniature adventure, miniature photography, My Doll Adventure, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, Rosie, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls, Wildflowerdoll Jane, Wildflowerdoll Rosie, Wildflowerdoll Ruby

My Doll Adventure 34: Worlds in motion

After the flurry of activity in Rosie’s last episode, it’s oddly quiet today. In Silverton, OR, not a creature is stirring.

 

And everything is quiet in Syracuse, IT as well.

I wonder where everyone could have gone?

Ah, *there* they are.

Well, looks like they’re all taking off. Let’s hope that Rosie’s map is right, and we’ll see you next week.

Posted in Daisy, doll adventure, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, miniature adventure, photo novel, toy adventure

A sense of place, revisited

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.

Posted in Daisy, diorama, doll adventure, doll photography, Dollhouse, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, miniature adventure, miniature photography, My Doll Adventure, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, Rosie, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls, Wildflowerdoll Jane, Wildflowerdoll Rosie, Wildflowerdoll Ruby

My Doll Adventure 32 – Rosie solves it all

As we catch up to Rosie, after her last episode when she found that Fetch had stored away all of her dream objects in her cupboard, she appears to be . . . well . . . dragging a big bag of flour across her room . . .

Rosie drags a bag of flour across the floor

dumping it all in a sand table . . .

. . . into the sandbox, and begins raking it up

and then . . . not quite sure . . . looks like maybe she’s putting the things in her cupboard into and, oh, the blackbird has returned and appears to have gotten flour on himself.

The raven returns to watch Rosie’s work, and ends up getting flour on his face

Well, that’s all pretty puzzling. Let’s see what Lily and Daisy are up to.

After their last episode, when they talked with the stranger who had left Daisy and Rosie at the library, they figured out that Camellia may have landed on an island. Now they’re heading to the library to figure out what kind of land masses she might have been able to reach in her rowboat.

Lily and Daisy drive down to the library
Lily and Daisy pour through books figuring out where the tide could have carried Camellia

Let’s see what Rosie’s up to now. Oh, it looks like James has gone to her room, and now he’s making a phone call . . .

James walks into Rosie’s room, and immediately calls Lily and Daisy

to tell Lily and Daisy that they can stop their research . . .

Lily takes a call from James

because Rosie is sitting on her floor, beside a diorama with a boat, a raven, and a hut, looking at a detailed map of a set of islands. . .

James looks over the boat, the hut, and the map, then reaches down to take . . .

and beside her, is a Camellia.