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Lady Tam

Backdrops

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You want to go with a neutral color that doesn't have a lot of saturation to it. Red, blue, yellow, green, magenta... these colors will most often cause funky color shifts.

 

Black is a decent color, but darker colors will tend to bleed into the background. A good example of this is ReaperIvy's green Ent and Hobbit pic. If it wasn't for the folds in the background and the reflection of the light source highlighting the fold, Mippin's hair would blend completely with the background. As it is, the background looks more dark gray than black, which helps, but there is still a darkening to the shadows.

 

White, on the other hand, will reflect your light, oftentimes giving a washed out, flat image.

 

A neutral toned gray is always an excellent choice, however a gray-blue or khaki color would work as well. Using a film camera, it's good to keep in mind that most photo labs will calibrate their machines and print to an 18% gray as their neutral point. You can puchase Gray Cards at any photo supply store and you can use that for the lab to calibrate to your film specifically. I know for some of the customers I used to have at the photolab I worked at did that and it made the color-matching part of our job much easier. Just keep a notebook of your settings and setup so that you can duplicate it every time. If you find a good setting and setup for your minis that you like, using the same one over and over again like R-Ivy does lessens the chance of funky problems.

 

I'm getting long-winded again. Kit should have known better than to post this kind of topic with me around.  :p

 

*BONK!s self*

 

BONK!.gif

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We've seen in the Show Off forum what can happen with a white background, or one that's too dark.  Best results seem to come from neutral colors, as noted above, but those which don't quite disappear into the mini.  I like outdoor shots with real woods in the background; that impossible depth-of-field makes the figure stand out from the backdrop without necessarily being under- or overexposed.

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I found a nifty "pull-out" card from teh Extended Edition DVD of LotR that I'm gonna try out.  It's thick cradboard, showing the gorge "behind" the Argonath.  I figure I'll add a slab of cardboard on the back so it will stand up, and then the neutral grey-blue of it ought to work well.

 

I got my pictures back today of my first photo shoot, and while I am disappointed in the results, the experiment did teach me a few things (lighting and "mini-colour" for one  My "brighter" minis exposed better than the "darker" minis).  I'll scan them in and post them later this week.

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Another idea just occurred to me...

 

 

Aquarium supplies.

 

 

Yes, you heard me right. I've seen wonderful ruins with massive pillars, and there are some great pictures of backgrounds for the back of the fish tank that come in various sizes that can give the illusion of being outside.

 

Also, if you're shooting aquatic minis, some of those backdrops would be a wonderful addition to the ambiance of the picture.

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if you add a light specificly for the background most colors will work, but again as it was pointed out if your lab isn't on top of their game you will end up with a color shift.  

 

i'm personally dieing with out my studio light sets...ohh well someday I will have them again.

 

Patrick "Mad Pat" Haughton

AO 00092

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I just wanted to bring up a point of caution. When taking pictures, don't forget that the object of your picture is the miniature. A flamboyent background may look really cool, but you don't want your mini to disappear, or be overwhelmed by it.

 

I personally like to use a light blue background, but that's mainly because it eats up the yellowish light in the room, and all that's reflected is the pure light from the true color lights I use. I find that beige or yellowish backgrounds accentuate the yellow light, so I stay away from those. I imagine a light bluish grey will also work well.

 

As mentioned before, black and white are probably the worst choices. I dislike white because it's like trying to take a picture with the sun behind your subject. And black dims the edges of your miniature. Note that for optical illusions the most common colors used are black and white, and you really don't want optical illusions if you're trying to display the miniature to its best.

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I use a sheet of acrylic that has a matte finish on one side.  this has given me pretty good results.  Just about all of the shadow is absorbed by the matte finish.  I have thought about lightly painting a few pieces with light blue or what not to see what happens.

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Craft stores have this stuff called "Fun Foam" which comes in sheets, and has a matte finish. I lay it on the table, and then use something to prop the sheet up and behind the miniature. I find Teal and Blue work well, it doesn't mess up the automatic photoprocessors, and I like the results.

 

http://daniel.a.joyce.home.att.net/images/FirstPlace.jpg

 

This image was shot on such a background.

Being matte, it doesn't reflect light, nor cause glare.

 

I've found that white washes things out, and black will cause shadows to be too dark when the film is developed. The photoprocessors try to compensate for image brightness automatically, and this causes problems.

 

teal or blue both look nice, and I've never had a problem with the image being blue tinted. If anything, it's been yellow from the halogen lights (which is why I got a lens filter). That image is a lil blue tinted from the lens filter. The lamps I was using were incandescent, and the halogen blue filter is a lil too blue for it. I should have color corrected it better.

 

I just got a diffuser hood for my flash, and I took some picks using bounce lighting, etc. I'll let ya know how it comes out.

 

-Daniel

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Oooh... new posting area *drool*...

 

Anyway, good topic to start in. I've used 100% white, all the way through -100% black, as well as a few colors of cardstock as backdrops for my minis and found that a nice medium range grey usually works best (for me).... Although now that I see that nice smooth look given from the 'fun-foam', I'm dying to pick some up!

 

Granted, my lighting isn't the best (waiting till I move to invest in some nice daylight bulbs for the hobby room)... but the greys seem to let the bright colors shine through, while the darks are still nice and dark....

 

:Example on Black:

:Example on Grey:

 

Both of the examples are similarly painted minis (same color grey on the cloaks), same lighting setup, for the most part. The only real difference is the backdrop. The greys don't get nearly as lost on the lighter backdrop. Anywho, that's my $.02.

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For lighting I use 3 cheap gooseneck halogen lamps, you can buy them at target...

 

Flashes are 'clean' light though, so I am trying out my diffuser hood for my flash now. Given that the diffuser area is bigger than the mini, I should'n have any problem with shadows...

 

-Daniel

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Recently I've started using a sheet of marble patterned grey/white tracing paper (you can pick them up at any art/craft store that has different paper for making invitations and cards).

 

I just contour it onto my open figure case which has dark grey foam, and use desklamps as lighting. The digital camera I used (Nikon Coolpix) has a feature to calibrate the white light balance for incandescent lighting, and the pictures turned out better than I ever expected.

 

Andrew

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Ooo  ThePolo thank you so much for examples of the difference black vs gray can make!  I had known that white wasn't a great idea just because it would wash things out too much but it was really revealing to be able to pull up 2 figures painted the same way and see just how much difference a mid-gray and a black could make.  *starts looking through her scrap pile for some gray*

 

I've tried taking a few pictures but they always came out either too dark or too washed out:  either black background or a very pale gray.  Time to try something new.  =)  

 

Hugs

Nevy

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