Figure/doll photography 121 – How to produce black background

I’m going to call this a figure/doll photography 121. It’s not a 101 because even though what’s presented here is what I know of, it may or may not be correct. It’s not a 123 since I’m not really providing a step by step instruction. So some where between 101 and 123, I hope this becomes helpful to someone. And through that, the knowledge is transferred from one to another, and hence the name 121.

Black background, there are a lot of myths about it. There are talks about how to use black seamless paper, black cloth, or even black velvet behind the subject to create it. Then there are talks about using post production editing tools such as Photoshop to achieve it. However, neither of these approaches produces what I would call a true black background. Black background material is always visible due to light reflection, even black velvet shows up under some lighting conditions. And then there are many cases where the use of background material is just not practical or not possible. Photoshop on the other hand, will product a true black background, but typical masking technique to mask out your suject will produce an unnatural edge around it, this is on top of the amount of work needed to mask the fine details. In this post, I will try to walk through my technique in creating what I would call a true black background, just like what I have done below for Dollfie Dream Kanu Unchou. I’ve used this technique for many years now, mostly for floral photography but used sparsely for figure photography as well. however it can easily be applied to much bigger subjects such as dolls, real people and even other bigger subjects that you might want to photograph. And it’s all done straight out of camera with no background material and no Photoshop work.

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Nendoroid – Megurine Luka

Even though I never actually posted an full post dedicated to nendoroids, but I am actually a nendoroid (Official Nendoroid web site in Japanese) collector. I’ve owned over 20 nendoroids to date include: all five Suzumiya Haruhi characters, three Suszumiya Haruhi WonFest bunny girls, all ten of Lucky Star character with different versions, and the Mikkumiku Kagami, Itoshiki Nozomu from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Saber lion, Hatusne Miku. And today I’ve just added Vocaloid Megurine Luka to my nendoroid arsenal. Well I always felt that nendoroids are more thing that I play with rather than a real collector item. But seeing how I have accumulated such a large number of them from the past, I think I should post some of them so they don’t feel left out from my collection.

I actually had to fight hard to get Megurine Luka.For some reason that she sold out on pre-order really quick and I actually wasn’t able to pre-order her from any of my usual Japanese shops. In the end I was only able to get my hand on her right on her release date. I refreshed few site’s web page like mad and was able to find stock on Hobby Search. Purchased her quickly but when I checked back later in a few hours, it’s all gone. Funny how she was not even available from Amazon Japan while most other nendoroids are. Then because I wanted to try out the SAL shipping method, I had to wait for quiet a few weeks for her to arrive from Japan. After all that, I’m glad that I finally have her.

Nendoroid Megurine Luke by Good Smile Company. (ねんどろいど 巡音ルカ). Original sculptor Ageta Yukiwo (あげたゆきを). Released on January 2010 with MSRP of ¥3,500.

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Chogokin VF-25F Super Messiah Valkyrie

Bandai DX Chogokin VF-25F Super Messiah Valkyrie Alto Type was originally released on January 2009. Later, two add-on packs were released that’s available in the Bandai’s Tamashii shop in Japan only. One for the Super Pack and the other for the SMS display base. I didn’t get a chance to get it back at the beginning of 2009. Qhen I looked around at the prices later, they were high and so I gave up. Now as Macross Frontier movie is scheduled to be released, the VF-25F is released together with Super Pack as well as the SMS display base all in one single package. The paint color was slightly different to match the movie release, all the rest are otherwise the same as the original release. Best of all, I don’t have to pay extra for deputy service or fight in lines to get the add-on packs. It arrived before end of 2009 and it was sitting on my filing cabinet for a long time. Now finally I took some photo of it.

Bandai DX Chogokin VF-25F Super Messiah Valkyrie Saotome Alto Custom (バンダイ DX超合金 VF-25F スーパーメサイアバルキリー 早乙女アルト機). Released on November 2009 with a MSRP of ¥16,800.

Here’s the box shot. It was a very nice box with colorful prints of the valkyrie in different forms.

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Chinese New Year – china dress duel

In cerebration of the Chinese New Year, my dolls are having a china dress duel to see who looks the best in their own china dress. The participants are Kanu Unchou, Saber, and Tohsaka Rin. Kanu’s wearing her brand new official china dress set from Volks. Saber’s see in her pure white long china dress before but she things that’s the best china dress for her. Tohsaka Rin’s been dressed in that pink dress for a while now, but she think that daily dress will make her the winner.

Here a little sneak peek for those anxious to see what the girls will be wearing. 😈
Please make sure you vote for the girl looks the best in china dress at the end of the post.

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Girls with guitars

With the growing popularity of the anime K-ON and its related merchandises, it seems girls with guitars are the hottest topics these days. And looking through the up coming figure releases from the Wonder Festival 2010 Winter, the large number of K-ON figures and dolls is a testament to just how well received these girls with guitars are. And now Volks apparently want to step on the bandwagon as well, announcing Dollfie Dream K-ON dolls at the Wonder Festival 2010 Winter. I, on the other hand, am not much of a K-ON fan. However, it doesn’t mean I don’t like girls with guitars. And so, here’s my girl with guitar — Dollfie Dream Saber dressed in the Black Skull Cat Dress Set (was showcased before by Kanu in this post) and of course a guitar. :)

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