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@  NotVeryKnightly : (20 January 2018 - 02:20 AM)

You just did.

@  Tm_Silverclaw : (20 January 2018 - 02:18 AM)

Can I just say that right now... I hate the USA?

@  NotVeryKnightly : (20 January 2018 - 01:34 AM)

There are languages where the days are named for numbers and Sunday is "one". Like Arabic.

@  Pennpenn : (20 January 2018 - 01:31 AM)

Isn't it sort of a religious thing for Sunday to be the start of the week but most people just go with the first day they go to work for the week?

@  unitremover : (20 January 2018 - 01:02 AM)

I feel like I've known plenty of Americans who'd say Monday is the first day of the week.

@  Pennpenn : (20 January 2018 - 12:57 AM)

Personally Monday will always be the first day of the week for me. The notion that Sunday is somehow the first day of the week seems completely nonsensical to me.

@  Pennpenn : (20 January 2018 - 12:57 AM)

I'm fairly sure it is in Australia, but that tends to get blurred because of US influence.

@  SHIELD Agent 47 : (20 January 2018 - 12:19 AM)

(It's Sunday here in the U.S.)

@  SHIELD Agent 47 : (20 January 2018 - 12:18 AM)

Anyone here live in a country where Monday is considered the first day of the week?

@  Tm_Silverclaw : (19 January 2018 - 08:40 PM)

Maybe?

@  Patchouli Kn... : (19 January 2018 - 08:38 PM)

But do they search barf?

@  BlackMax : (19 January 2018 - 08:38 PM)

Under water, the fish don't stink.

@  Tm_Silverclaw : (19 January 2018 - 07:42 PM)

I read that at first as "Everyone is a fish...."

@  TheMightyMol... : (19 January 2018 - 06:08 PM)

Everyone has a fetish, I guess.

@  BlackMax : (19 January 2018 - 05:56 PM)

I parsed it as "search barf" at first.

@  Nevermore : (19 January 2018 - 05:05 PM)

Robowang nude hiden cam photos

@  Robowang : (19 January 2018 - 02:54 PM)

Oh, hey, that's not the search bar! Whoops.

@  Robowang : (19 January 2018 - 12:48 PM)

reflector camera mode

@  MEDdMI : (19 January 2018 - 12:14 PM)

But did you get a Snowbombcyclopsragnarokdoomstorm like the US NE got last week?

@  Nevermore : (19 January 2018 - 11:40 AM)

Netherlands? We got one hell of a storm here in Germany the other day too.

@  PlutoniumBoss : (19 January 2018 - 01:59 AM)

When that happens in Cocoa Beach there's always someone getting out their surfboard.

@  CORVUS : (19 January 2018 - 12:04 AM)

Damn!

@  Telly : (18 January 2018 - 10:29 PM)

holy hug

@  SHIELD Agent 47 : (18 January 2018 - 06:27 PM)

Goddamn look what happened to the Dutch this week.

@  SHIELD Agent 47 : (18 January 2018 - 06:27 PM)

https://twitter.com/dwnews/status/954066379610628097

@  Locoman : (18 January 2018 - 03:43 PM)

To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand brick and mortar.

@  siccoyote : (18 January 2018 - 04:31 AM)

Who sings the first part of the GIJoe The Movie theme song? (Cobra) Sounds so familiar.

@  SHIELD Agent 47 : (17 January 2018 - 10:46 PM)

Also true.

@  Tm_Silverclaw : (17 January 2018 - 10:40 PM)

I hate brick and mortar stores around here.

@  SHIELD Agent 47 : (17 January 2018 - 10:38 PM)

But I like the feel of the brick and mortar search a bit more. And I can see inside packages at brick and mortar. True, Amazon has a good return policy, but I like buying once and settling.

@  SHIELD Agent 47 : (17 January 2018 - 10:37 PM)

I suppose I could save more if I bought more often from Amazon.

@  wonko the sane? : (17 January 2018 - 10:36 PM)

Closest I got to "free" was 30% off warpath, which just about lined him up to the canadian price had he ever shown up around me. The pile of loot saved me a pile, but it was still pricy.

@  Shrug : (17 January 2018 - 09:34 PM)

Yeah, I purposefully waited on them because I knew they'd be perfect "add onto orders to get free shipping" fodder. Already gotten two that way. Technically "free" and I barely had to wait.

@  SHIELD Agent 47 : (17 January 2018 - 09:21 PM)

That's how I feel about Prime Masters. Getting back into collecting last year taught me to be patient, which grants rewards most of the time.

@  Shrug : (17 January 2018 - 09:18 PM)

I want Starscream so hard after seeing him in person, but since he's the one being left behind by every other collector in my area, I feel like I can wait for a sale.

@  wonko the sane? : (17 January 2018 - 09:09 PM)

I mean: I maybe woulda jumped on starscream if I found a sale or something, but it wasn't a priority.

@  wonko the sane? : (17 January 2018 - 09:08 PM)

I only wanted the dinobots (cause... volcanicus.) but got saddled with three I didn't want due to the bundling. I'd still be waiting to order if I had waited on individual figures.

@  Tm_Silverclaw : (17 January 2018 - 08:27 PM)

Ahh.. I just ordered the whole case cause I wanted too. :)

@  wonko the sane? : (17 January 2018 - 06:49 PM)

Mostly PotP dinobots. Plus some stuff I couldn't opt out of to get those dinobots. And CW warpath... cause he was on sale.

@  Tm_Silverclaw : (17 January 2018 - 04:54 PM)

What ya getting?

@  wonko the sane? : (17 January 2018 - 04:38 PM)

Yay! My package from BBTS is in canada! I might even get it this week!

@  Benbot : (17 January 2018 - 02:04 PM)

I need a laptop more than a new desktop

@  Tm_Silverclaw : (17 January 2018 - 01:18 PM)

Buying a pre-built computer you should be okay.. It's just the individual parts that jumped huge in price.

@  Paladin : (17 January 2018 - 01:14 PM)

well all the idiots who invested in "bitcoin" will be selling theirs en masse to make ends meet so you might be able to find something cheap if you watch auctions.

@  Benbot : (17 January 2018 - 12:59 PM)

Is now a good time to buy a computer? Or should I wait?

@  Tm_Silverclaw : (17 January 2018 - 12:01 PM)

I pointed out that I'm on disabilty.. I don't have to pretend to be an adult anymore. ;D

@  MEDdMI : (17 January 2018 - 11:25 AM)

Also Bayonetta 3.

@  TheMightyMol... : (17 January 2018 - 10:55 AM)

Nintendo also announced Dark Souls for the Switch, so those people should shut up.

@  Tm_Silverclaw : (17 January 2018 - 10:51 AM)

Apparently people are freaking out that Nintendo announced something for kids and kids at heart. And people are absolutely freaking out about it.

@  TheMightyMol... : (17 January 2018 - 10:23 AM)

...what?


Photo
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Toy photo setup on the cheapish


32 replies to this topic

#1 M Sipher

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 05:59 PM

setup.jpg

 

A bad photo of my current setup. I've got a bigger one in the works, but soooooooooooooooo much crap going on.

 

But here's stuff you can do to make a cheapish but decent toy-photo studio.

  • A large cardboard box
  • white posterboard (or whatever color backdrop you like)
  • tissue paper (again preferably white)
  • desk lamps, ideally 3
  • 5000K(elvin) white-light bulbs
  • Some kind of clear stand-thing
  • Some kind of clear support

Check with any localish stores about their shipping boxes. You want something at least a foot in every dimension, preferably more. Trust me, these places won't care it you take some of the garbage. They got loads. Just be polite and patient. Working retail sucks, don't add to their pain.

 

Carve up yon cardboard box, removing the "lid" bits for an open side. Cut large windows in three sides, leaving enough cardboard left to still be structurally stable. Tape white tissue paper over the holes... probably on the inside of the box to cover the cardboard frame. I shoulda done that. This is not strictly necessary, but if you'e taking pictures of bigger things (Mega/Voyager/Ultra/whatever) the frame might show up and need editing out of your image.

 

Cut the posterboard to the box width and slide it in, matte (non-glossy) side up. This will diffuse the light and bounce it back softly. DO NOT FOLD IT. Do a soft curve in the back corner, pushing it up to the top of the back wall of the box. While a later step minimizes the need for this, it's still best just in case.

 

Desk lamps with replaceable normal buIbs can be had fairly cheap. Position two in front, one on each side of the target zone, and one up top, which is more there to illuminate the backdrop. I use 5000K light bulbs that give off a blue-white light, rather than the standard yellow. And I don't just mean for this setup, I mean "in my living space in general". I do not like yellow light. These kind of bulbs are not expensive, but they ARE trickier to find. Look SPECIFICALLY for 5000K bulbs, check the back of the box for a little scale. You might have to go to Home Depot or similar. I've had no luck at Targets some nights.

 

Now, ideally, all of your lamps would be behind the tissue paper pointed at the item, which would diffuse the light more and prevent harsher reflection on the shiny plastic/metal toy. Notice mine are not. They should be. But I am currently operating with limited space. Next rig will.

 

To eliminate as much harsh shadow as possible, I use a clear-plastic riser to stand the toys on. While this does produce a minor reflection in the final photo, that is a LOT easier to cleanly eliminate than a shadow on a solid opaque surface, especially when it comes to vehicle-mode images where the subject is wider and lower on the ground. I'm using the cases from the old Micron Legend DVDs that came with toys, but I realize that's not likely viable for most. But there's lots of alternatives out there.

 

Since some stuff doesn't like to stand up on its own (or needs to be laid on a narrow side for a good image), I have a variety of clear-plastic stands/props to prop the toys up if needed. These too are generally easy to edit out and offer no/minimal shadows.

 

And that's about it for the physical studio parts. There's camera arglebargle depending on what you got with settings and stuff, but I'm not gonna cover that here (and some stuff is unavoidable... you are NEVER gonna get certain shades of aqua to look right, bright red will ALWAYS "bleed" out details, flaws and dirt your eye won't normally catch WILL be magnified, white toys on white backdrops are a huge pain, etc). There's also a load of Photoshop chicanery I use to make things look wiki-fresh, but a setup like this means a lot LESS work in editing the images to make them look good.

 

 

M "Thanks, And Enjoy" Sipher


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#2 crockalley

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 06:30 PM

Desk laps are a great idea. I bought clip lamps, and it's a pain. When I do photos, I have to lug in some wooden chairs to clip the lamps to.



#3 ExVee

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 06:38 PM

Another way to approach lighting is softboxes. You enclose your lights in some manner of frame or box, and the front side is a diffusion material. That allows you to kill the harshness of direct light the same way the tent concept does, but it keeps your lights movable and doesn't necessarily restrict you to a particular volume of space to work within. And they're also cheap to set up.

The building material is styrofoam coolers. That's the "box". Utility clamp lights which you can get anywhere with a hardware selection are the power, and as for diffusion, there's a couple approaches. My preference is polyester pillow protectors. I find these good in particular because the material does not affect the color of the light much at all, where I've seen cotton pillowcases or sheets cause a yellowish tint that defeats the purpose of using those "natural daylight" color CFLs. The last thing you need is some bungee cord straps. I've found well suited ones at Walmart for under $2 each.

Assembly is super easy. Take the reflector bowls off the clamp lights. Get the light sockets as near as you can to the center of the outside bottom of the cooler, and trace around it with a marker. Once you have the spot clearly marked, carefully carve an opening. It's better to keep it a little smaller than your outline, than to have it end up bigger. The styrofoam will give a bit, and being tighter will make it work better. Put the socket through the hole and screw in the CFL. Over the open top with the pillow protector, and making sure to keep it smooth and a bit tight, stretch the bungee strap around the outer edge and hook the ends together.

Two of these are good for lighting most situations where you're not going for the infinite white background. The clamp lights are typically the most expensive part at $7 or $8 each, but a pair of this kind of softbox can be built for under $35. Sipher's studio box is cheaper for sure, and better at its cost for doing white background photography, but if you need to be able to work in a larger space or otherwise have more flexibility, cooler lights are great to have.

#4 M Sipher

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 07:08 PM

Yeah, my setup is predominantly for the purposes of smaller-scale "product photography" against a shock-white backdrop, set up in a limited space. It's pretty much perfect for anything Deluxe-scale or smaller, and solid for most "Mega" scale items.

 

(Also, you can't really see it, but there's a window directly right of the setup so daytime light filters in nicely.)

 

You certainly want adjustable necks on your lights either way to adjust for toy sizes.

 

 

M "Hopefully Someday I'll Have More Space To Spread This Out, Use A Cooler-Box Light" Sipher


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#5 Dracula

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 07:21 PM

I recently started using this setup which is able to accommodate figures of Titan size and larger:
 

20161211_130900.jpg

 

Got the PVC pipes from Home Depot and the fabric from Jo-Ann's. I usually have the fabric rotated lengthwise and clamped to the left and right pipes. 

 

Lighting might be kind of a problem for a setup like this, but I use an external flash with good results:

 

tumblr_oj69vlZTJx1r7gehbo1_1280.jpg

 

(The fabric in the photo above is basically t-shirt material, as it is less likely to wrinkle)


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ALL OF TREASURES


#6 lastmaximal

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 07:31 PM

After getting tired of having to find a glare/reflection-free way of photographing stuff (the last ones I did were RiD Windblade and a few TR wave 2 guys), much Googling led me to a setup like Sipher describes. I only have two lamps at the moment, and each only minimally adjustable, but having a lightbox (even an on-the-cheap one) makes a huge difference. And for this I only spent on the parchment paper to line the box and the cartolina/posterboard; the box and lamps had been lying around.


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#7 Nutjob R/T

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 07:51 PM

Gotta say it again. A decent digital camera should have a way to manually lock in an F-stop and should automatically adjust the shutter speed.

A big aperture (small f-stop number, like f2.8) and a fast shutter (big fraction number like 1/3600) will make only a thin layer of the picture be in focus.

Set a tiny aperture (f10-f20) and a slow shutter (1/300, i'm guessing at shutter speeds) and you'll get more of the depth details in focus, but you'll need a tripod and maybe set a time delay on your shutter release.
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#8 Zamuel

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 08:06 PM

I recently started using this setup which is able to accommodate figures of Titan size and larger:
 
20161211_130900.jpg

So that's why you have purple backgrounds. I've attempted the box method Sipher displayed but I have seen the PVC pipe method before.
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#9 Marduk

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 08:18 PM

Please be advised that I have no idea what I'm talking about, so any advice should be taken with a grain of salt (read: I am a terrible photographer).

 

Most important: set your white balance to match your light source!

 

Clamp lights are great for tabletop photography.  Pick up a couple at Wallyworld for like $8, pop in some Daylight LEDs and you're (almost) good to go. A lot of people use CFLs, but I don't like the possibility of breakage (and cleanup).  Stay away from Halogens because they get hot. Clamp your clamp lights to the side and go to town.

 

I've had decent-ish results with a sheet of white posterboard stuffed up against a white wall.  Put your clamp lights (100 watt) facing the wall to blow things out, and use your desk lamps (60watt) to illuminate your object. Adjust your camera's exposure up a bit to help blow out the background.  If you've done it right, you'll probably only need to adjust a little bit in your preferred editor to finish blowing the background out all the way. 

 

You can also use some aluminum foil wrapped around cardboard to act as bouncers / reflectors.  It's a good way to make use of the pieces you cut out for your light tent. Crumple the foil first and then carefully unwrap before wrapping around the cardboard (this is supposed to provide better light distribution)(or something like that).

 

If you're looking for reflective bases, Amazon sells acrylic sets designed for tabletop photography, but glass from a cheap picture frame will do in a pinch.  I've seen some tips to paint one side of the glass black for black backdrops, but I haven't tried doing that (my adventures in black backgrounds go poorly).

 

Don't be like me and keep thousands of bad photos.

 

~Marduk



#10 Strafe

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 07:36 AM

This has been a fascinating read. I'd love to see what others can do with nice light tents and boxes set up like these, I really need to buy lamps to try out at some point.

I have probably the laziest/cheapest set up ever, unfortunately. I shine the mid day sun into an empty styrofoam box, so my toy photography is pretty much limited to weekends. I have a $50 camera and free image editing software for turning up the contrast. That's it. But yeah, you can absolutely take decent photos without spending a lot.

 

14312339915_b543eff29a_o.jpg

 

25895030171_c18f215b39_o.jpg

 

 

24320800730_0f2f1f03a5_o.jpg



#11 Benbot

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:57 AM

I prefer a white or very light background.  



#12 LV!

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 11:14 AM

I prefer Turkleton.

#13 Msol

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 11:23 AM

Sipher, any good exams of your work? The wiki has a ton, but anything specifically a favorite of yours?

#14 gargunkle

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 11:27 AM

Lamps, PVC pipe, tissue paper, poster board.

 

IMG_1465.jpg

 

IMG_1463.jpg

 

I think the biggest problem has typically been that I have been too cheap to get a decent camera.


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#15 Dracula

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 11:30 AM

Dig that gorillapod, though. Those things are great.


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#16 Gizmoboy

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 11:31 AM

This is pretty much the exact set-up I'm using, except my lights aren't LED.

 

https://www.amazon.c...photo light box



#17 Mouse_Pad

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 12:06 PM

https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

This is what I use.  I love it because it's big, it folds flat, and the light is integrated.  It only takes a couple of minutes to get set up.  I did have to add some Velcro to the backdrops because the included clips are inadequate.

 

I'm no photographer, but I've got a new Canon camera that I've been toying around with.  My goal is generally to get photos to support jokes, though, rather than to get photos to showcase the toys themselves.



#18 DeltaSeeker

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 12:50 PM

This is pretty much the exact set-up I'm using, except my lights aren't LED.

 

https://www.amazon.c...photo light box

 

I use two of those LED lights and a couple tray inserts from Voyager scale figures to make the backdrop.  

 

Barricade7_zps7swelxk5.jpg

 

I could probably stand to get a couple more lights.


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#19 D Buster Prime

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 07:23 AM

Does anybody use green-screen backdrops regularly in toy photography?


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#20 ExVee

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 10:40 AM

To do chromakey with? It's not the easiest thing to do at this scale, as a lot of times a color background lit properly to key it out will tend to cast some tint on to the subject as well. Then when you go to cut out the background color, bits of subject either go with it, or you have conspicuous color highlights on the figure that don't match. Given this also happens sometimes with filming people against a green or blue screen when someone doesn't quite know what they're doing, it's a challenging approach in general. :)



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