The long and short of it

Been a while since I posted something relevant here. I have been preoccupied with submissions here and there as the local 'con season is drawing near. here's the short of it:

1.One of my collaborative effort's getting an English translation courtesy of an upcoming e-zine. It's this.

2. An entry in a new (crazy-ass) anthology.

3. A short story for a friend. One with fangs and claws in it and will bite with no hesitation.

So there. Will be back once I sort things out :D

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Gunpla Photography

Pardon the lack of updates. I actually have my hands full at the moment from several projects here and there. But anyway, we're going to discuss more toys/kits/action figures photography. This time we'll concentrate on Gundam plastic models or 'gunpla' for short.

The images used here is from a recent gunpla photography guide and is sourced from here.

First thing one has to take note before taking a picture is posing gunpla. Always remember that your gunpla must not look static even thought it's in a neutral or standing pose. The lower left picture here shows that a slightly bent elbow  (correct poses are shown with a circle mark, while those with 'x' marks are wrong from here on) can work wonders in a pose.  The lower right picture on the other hand shows that keeping the gunpla's body straight and checking/correcting crooked posture is the way to go.
 Next we go to action poses. The key here is exaggeration. Figure A on this page show the RX-78-2 in a shooting pose with it's feet spread wide and arms raised as if they are in mid-action. Figure B shows the correct aerial shooting pose: notice the left leg is bent more than the right leg giving the gunpla the feel of 'springing into action'. The gun and shield arms also convey action simply by bending them. Figure C shows an aerial melee pose: The beam saber is held slightly higher over the head and the shield shown full on the frame. The right leg in this case is bent more giving the gunpla a sense of forward motion in this case.

Here is a simple gunpla photo booth. If you notice, the background is just a piece of colored paper (choose according to your preference) tacked on the wall adjacent to a table. Note that the background does not lay flat on the wall and instead is placed rather bent and tacked unto the edge of the table.

You can use an ordinary desk lamp for lighting coupled with a do-it-yourself light filter made from tracing or filter paper attached to a frame. This will soften the light striking the gunpla. Again, like in my last post, a simple digital camera mounted on a small tripod can be used in gunpla photography.

Now position the gunpla in between the light filter and a piece of white board. This is commonly referred to as a 'reflector' which does what it is named after: it reflects light back to the other side of the model. This way, you won't have to use another lamp.

After you have set up the model, shoot away! Simple isn't it?

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First Impressions: Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders

The first episode of Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders is up and it's living up to my expectations.

The show is all about gunpla fascination no less, with Haru the protagonist, representing all of us gunpla builders. Everyone starts with his/her first Gundam kit and so does Haru. Remember how it felt when you first bought and assembled your first Gundam kit? Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders captures that moment's ecstasy.

What made Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders a bit more exciting other than showing kids how-to build gunpla (Gundam plastic)  kits is the fact that in their reality, they can ACTUALLY pilot their Gundams via a video game interface which requires them to link up their Gunpla to it, in turn enabling the builders to operate their respective mobile suits.

I'm not really surprised by this element, since Japan is leaps and bounds in terms of video game technology. There's quite a few games capable of bringing the mecha pilot experience already: Virtual On Force, Border Break, Gundam: Senjou no Kizuna to name a few. Maybe we're looking at the future of mecha games with Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders? Who knows?

So to sum it up: Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders is an anime full of Gundam and Gunpla goodness. It may take some of the hardcore fans of the series to swallow this one up, but as they say in Lucky Star: "Its is a Gundam series. No matter how ridiculous it is, it is our obligation, nay duty, to watch it!".

Check out the intro below:

And check out episode 1 here. Enjoy!
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Simple & Practical Toy Photography

I'm not a photographer. I'm a snapshooter. And a scale modeler/action figure collector at that. Normally when I finish building and painting my toys and kits, I take pictures of them to post online.

Here are just a few simple guidelines I follow:
1. Any camera will do - You don't need a Digital SLR for toy and figure photography. Believe or not, I take most of my pictures with a PSP Chotto Shot/Go Cam. It doesn't have a flash and it's only at 1.3 megapixels.


So what if it has limited features? Point is as long as it can take a decent picture, it will work out. For me, the PSP Chotto Shot/Go Cam is enough as it has a macro feature that enhances a toy's/model kit's/action figure's details (that's what I love about it). Heck even a celphone or simple digicam will cam will do. You don't have to get all fancy-schmancy about your gear.

2.Do mind the basics - of photography. Even a snapshooter should put into mind the basics such as lighting, composition and the rule of thirds. Technique and style will follow suit.

3.The pose -  you just can't tell a toy to pose on it's own, you'll have to do it yourself. For starters, think of a scene from the comic, cartoon or anime/manga in which the figure came from. Try to copy the pose and look at it from the camera. Then move on to more dynamic poses that will push a toy's/model kit's/action figure's articulation. One simple rule: If it looks good, then it is GOOD.

4.Background and composition - in my case, I keep it simple. For most of my toys/model kits/action figures, I either use the black or white side of an illustration board.

You might be thinking:"That's absurd!". But it is simple and practical. Yes there are commercially available toys/model kits/action figures photo backgrounds, though if you can make a cheaper but nonetheless effective alternative then why not?

I've tried my uncle's old scrap paintings for backgrounds and they work well too. See? It doesn't take that much.

5.Mind the size - usually, forums and social sites have ground rules on picture sizes. Make sure to follow them.

6.Most if all, keep the fun intact - after all, aside from saying to the world that "I've done/finished this!", keep in mind that toys/model kits/action figures photography should be fun.

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