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

Rosie’s Pirate Adventure, part 2

In her last episode, Rosie was carted off by pirates. In this episode, she finds herself being carried through a jungle:

The pirates carry Rosie through the jungle
The pirates carry Rosie through the jungle

And brought before the queen:

Rosie meets the queen of the island

from whom she receives a map:

Rosie receives a map from the queen of the island

Afterwards, the pirates dump Rosie back in her room:

The pirates drop Rosie back in her room

Where Fetch grabs the map and puts it in the cupboard:

Fetch takes the map
Fetch takes the map to the cupboard
Fetch puts the map in the cupboard

Revealing all of the treasures from Rosie’s dream adventures:

Rosie sees the treasures from all of her dreams neatly stored in the cupboard

******

And thus ends Rosie’s last dream adventure.

We’re navigating the doll adventure train towards it’s final destination, although I may take the week off next week for a family visit. If I manage to post next week, it will likely be a continuation of the story about the sisters and their treehouse, giving my sister and I something fun to work on together 🙂

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 Aimeraidoll, BJD, Buu, doll adventure, doll photography, graphic novel, Jinjur, miniature adventure, miniature photography, Mudoll, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, toy adventure, toy photography, Underfoot

Underfoot: A night in the shop

After being turned away from the hotel in their last episode, Jinjur and Buu take to the streets to find some place to stay the night.

Jinjur and Buu trudge through the snow, looking for a place to spend the night.

But the big world is not a safe place for little things

Jinjur and Buu come face to face with a cat.
Jinjur and Buu drop everything and run.

Looking for a place to stay, they spot a shop.

Jinjur and Buu spot a shop across the street.
Jinjur and Buu peer into the shop window.
A bulldog peers out of the shop window.
Jinjur and the bulldog lock eyes.

And use the mailslot to scramble in

Jinjur lifts Buu into the mailslot.
Jinjur scrambles into the mailslot.
Jinjur, Buu, and the bulldog meet in the shop.

Suddenly, they hear a sound and run for a place to hide

They hear a noise and dive into a nearby drawer.
And manage to hide just in time before the shop owner enters the room.

Once the shop owner leaves for the night, they exit the sewing drawer with their new-found goods

Rummaging around the drawer, Jinjur finds an object she fashions as a spear.
while Buu suggests a use for a bow they found.

As it starts to turn light, they gather their belongings and their new friend and make their way back to the streets.

Realizing it’s turning light and the shop will soon be opening, they gather their belongings and jump back out through the mailslot.
And take a quick nap on the sidewalk before continuing on their journey

*****

This may be more pictures than I’ve ever taken for an episode – I really wanted to give them some space to explore, and I wanted to drag out some scenes – like the first encounter with the dog.

And, I managed to finally get my husband into one of the shots 🙂

Posted in Aimeraidoll, BJD, Buu, doll photography, Jinjur, miniature photography, Mudoll, Photography, Photoshop, toy photography, Underfoot

Taking action shots of inanimate objects

I’ve spent more hours than I’d care to guess trying to prop up my figures for motion shots. For my fashion dolls – all four of the My Doll Adventure figures – I rely on some kind of stand. For my ball-joint dolls – all of the characters in the Underfoot and Up Above stories, I’d try to keep them balanced while carefully getting them into the position I need.

I still do this if I’m going to use my own background – either a dollhouse room, a diorama, or the great outdoors. But, I no longer try to pose my dolls upright for the majority of my photoshopped action shots.

Instead, I realize that I get far more realistic shots by laying the dolls down and photographing them from above.

Here are a few examples from the episode of Underfoot that I’m working on.

Here’s the finished shot of the “The chase”

and here’s the setup I photographed:

and then I Photoshopped it onto a copyright free image from Pexel. It’s so much easier to pose them this way. Not only can i get the details of their posture right, I can also arrange their hair so that it seems to be streaming out behind them.

In another scene, I have the girls climbing into a mail slot.

Here’s the original scene:

and here they are, again photoshopped onto a Pexel image:

 

Some shots require that I photograph them with the dolls standing up, like this shot of them trudging through the city:

Once I have objects in different planes, like Jinjur’s suitcase or Buu’s bag, it’s just too much work to photograph them all separately and then put them together. So, I set up both dolls on the carpet, each on a sheet of plexiglass, to give them an even surface, and then spent forever getting everything in right position without toppling them all over like dominoes.

Jinjur and Buu are about to get into lots of adventures, navigating the big city, which will give me a lot of time to perfect my non-action action shots.

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.