Sometimes I get a really clear picture in my head of what I want to capture, and then realize that there’s simply no way to achieve it. That’s when I resort to brute force posing.
I had that happen today with my little Maskcat Ester doll (named Faye in the Betwixt episodes). In trying to tell her backstory (she’s a “listener” who hears calls for help and sends in the rescuers), I settled on a shot. She’d be sitting on flower, with her hand cupped to her ear, scanning for trouble.
First problem: Faye, while tiny, is far too big to sit on a flower without bending the stem. I suppose if my peonies were still blooming, they’d be strong enough to hold her, but nothing else in my house or yard is. And, I’m really tired of photoshopping my dolls onto objects. So, I used brute force method #1 – holding the doll in a pose. Here’s my hand holding little Faye on top of the flowers, while my other hand takes the picture. Fortunately, it’s bright enough that she doesn’t blur while I’m holding her. (BTW, that’s Rosie from Among the Flowers in the background, waiting patiently for her first episode in the remade series).
OK, first problem solved. Now, second problem. Faye is a single jointed doll. That means that, while she can bend her arm at a 45 degree angle, she can’t bend it past that. So, she’s not actually flexible enough to cup her hand behind her ear. I *could* tie her hand in place, but that just felt like a task fraught with more problems. Instead, I moved the arm after I took the shot, using puppet wrap in Photoshop.
Here’s the picture of Faye with her arm bent up that I used as the basis of my final shot:
To fix the arm’s position, I brought the picture into Photoshop. I selected the arm and used puppet wrap to reposition it, then pasted the arm into its own layer. Then I made a layer with just her ear. That lets me put things in the right order (arm in front of her hair but behind her ear). Finally, I found a picture of flowers and pasted it in back, lightened everything up a bit and, in the end, I had little Faye sitting in the flowers and listening for trouble.