Posted in 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 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, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, Rosie, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Episode 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.

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 diorama, doll photography, Fashion dolls, Lily, miniature photography, Photography, toy photography

Attention to detail – creating a sense of a complete world

Attention to detail has never been my strong suit. It always seems to hinder my mad rush forward.

But a world without detail, even a very little world, starts to feel as if it’s floating in space – unanchored to time or place. So, I’m trying to force myself to slow down enough to get detail into scenes.

Here’s the evolution of one scene – the stranger reading the newspaper article that Frank and Rosie were looking at in her last episode.

The starting shot is my “just the facts, Mam” attempt. I take the pink coach from Daisy and Rosie’s living room, put it on top of the wood tiles from Rosie’s room, sit the stranger on the coach, and give her the newspaper:

It doesn’t get any more bare bones than this. it serves its purpose to convey the necessary info, but communicates absolutely nothing else.

So, I decide to at least give it some sense of place. I grab one of my Barbie dining sets, give her a cup of coffee (and, yes, that is real coffee in there), and a cookie from one of my Our Generation sets, and try again.

In my opinion, this is significantly better. I have some sense now of time (looks like it’s over breakfast) and place (probably some cafe). I could have added more detail by photoshopping it into a cafe scene, but I actually think that might have distracted from the important details.

I haven’t started my shoot of Lily and Daisy’s room – that’s on the schedule for today – but I do have their room set up. Here’s a picture of the setup:

I tried to put everything I’d used before in the shots, including Lily’s letters and photos, Daisy’s photo album, and the torn photography. I put Lily’s slippers under the bed, and gave them each something to look at. I gave Lily a cat and, although you can’t see them, I put Daisy’s suitcases from the last episode up on top of the wardrobe.

Lily’s room is still pretty barren – she seems like the kind of person who would have pictures on the wall and little things on the window sill. I may try to get those elements in for the final shot, just to fill out her character. Or I may get impatient and just start snapping photos 🙂

Some of this emphasis on detail comes from reading through graphic novels and noticing how complete some of the worlds are, but much of it comes from the sheer delight I’m finding in setting up the amazing detail of the Our Generation accessories. Here’s just a sample of what that world looks like:

In addition to the big new detail – hello, Aasta doll from Supiadollz – there’s just a ton of elements in here. Aasta has both a pot and a laddle. Amy has a guitar, as well as her notebook and pencils (maybe not visible in the shot :)), and Strawberry has one of those chemistry models and a stuffed elephant. In the background are a cookie jar (with cookies you can take out) and a bottle of soda. And there’s actually stuff in the refrigerator and under the sink (which you also can’t see in this shot). After a few days of setting up this stuff, any shot without details just seems really really empty.

This week I’ll be working on the stranger’s story, and what she can tell to help Daisy and Lily find Camellia.

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

Episode 26 – Uncovering the Past

In Lily’s last episode, she held a picture of Daisy and painted her standing outside the Secret Garden shop. We continue her story later that same day.

Outside the Secret Garden flower shop
Inside the flower shop
Through the flower shop curtain
Lily and Daisy look at old photos
Lily calls James
Young daisy encounter
Toddler Daisy and baby Rosie rescued by hero librarian

*****

I had a lot of fun with the transitions this week – panning through the shop, doing the split screen call, and following James’ story of finding Daisy for the first time (with an intentional throwback to the picture of Daisy, terrified, in the Cado/Camellia fight scene). The one thing I’m really struggling with is that it feels more like a technical exercise than an artistic one – interesting, but none of the wow feeling I get when something seems a little magical. I’m assuming that I’ll learn how to blend the technical with the artistic and get back to wow.

I also used the puppet warp trick to get James to hold a phone. James, like most male Barbie-type dolls, is barely bendable. I can line up his arm with his ear, but it’s a good inch or so away from it. So, I selected the arm and choose Edit – Puppet Warp. Then I put in a few pins to define the areas I wanted *not* to warp, and then put one pin in his hand to grab for the warping. Then I dragged that pin into position to move his arm. Not nearly as realistic as Lily’s Made-to-move Barbie arm placement, but better than what I started with.

And I used the Overlay blending mode one more time to overlay the Hero Librarian story on the picture of Daisy and James.

Next week, I follow one of my other stories. If the weather holds out, I’ll let the two sisters in the Up Above treehouse adventure go and plan out where they’re going to start building. Fortunately for me, we had a real bang up wind storm here a few weeks back, so I’ve got lots and lots of branches to choose from to find the right tree 🙂

Posted in Daisy, doll photography, Fashion dolls, general discussion, graphic novel, Lily, miniature photography, Photography, Photoshop, toy photography

The sequential art of dolls – Scott McCloud’s Making Comics

I read Scott McCloud’s “Understanding comics” years ago, when I was thinking of making an adventure game. It’s a high-level look at the art of comics – well worth a read if you’re doing anything in the realm of sequential art. I’d missed his more practical guide – “Making Comics” – which is totally fantastic for what I’m working on now.

I’m only through the first chapter, and I’m already overwhelmed (in a good way) with great ideas.

Here’s just one really useful way of looking at sequential art – what are the transitions between the panels? He lists six different types, and what they’re useful for.

* Moment to moment: A single action portrayed in a series of moments. Creates a movie-like effect, and is useful for slowing the action down. I notice I use this a lot for Camellia’s episodes, like the slow approach of the panther in Episode 13: Danger afoot or dolls in danger
* Action to action: A single subject in a series of actions. Efficient, and moves the plot along at a brisk pace. I tend to use this in my “plot-ty” episodes, where I’m trying to drive the plot forward, for example in Lily’s second episode where I have to communicate both that she has some special ability to paint lost objects, and that something has happened to her daughter.
* Subject to subject: A series of changing subjects within a single scene. Also drive the plot forward, but are used more for dialog. Since I don’t have dialog in my doll adventure, I don’t tend to use this much, although I did do it when I wanted to pick out what each one of Daisy’s friends was working on in Episode 15: Putting the pieces together
* Scene to scene: Transitions across significant distances of time and space: Help to compress a story by leaping across time and space. The most obvious examples of this in my doll adventure is the movement between Rosie’s real and dream states, like the distance between Episode 6: Rosie’s Doll Adventure, Part 1 and Episode 10: Rosie’s doll adventure, part 2
* Aspect to aspect: Transitions from one aspect of a place, idea, or mood to another. These create a sense of mood by making time stand still and allowing the eye to wander. Interesting idea, and I don’t think I’ve ever used it.
and finally
* Non-sequitur: A series of unrelated images and words.Because . . . why not. It may seem like I’ve done this, but I haven’t 🙂

And that’s just three pages worth of ideas.

I worked a lot on transitions this week. One that I’ve never really done is using framing shots to place an event. This is a kind of aspect-to-aspect that you see all the time in movies (start with a shot of a city, jump to a shop, focus in a single character), and it works to place the subject within a context. I used it this week to explain something that I’d have to explain in words otherwise (and, again, spoiler alert) – what’s the relation between the Secret Garden photo that Daisy has and the places where we see Lily?

So, spoiler, Lily owns the shop. Her apartment is behind it and out back from her apartment is the garden I often picture her in. Easy to tell if I were making a movie, but not so easy in a doll adventure. I was originally going to build a flower shop for her, but it just seemed like a ton of effort for a tiny piece of information. Instead, I’m using the aspect to aspect to tie the places together.

The curtain in the back of the shop is actually a separate image that I placed over what used to be the front door of the flower shop in the original image, and then I use it as a layer in the final shot and set the layer blending mode to “overlay” to make it so that you could see the picture of Lily and Daisy behind the curtain.

Anyway, Friday’s episode is going to be full of transitions – I even use a split frame in one to create a kind of dialog between two characters who are separated in space.