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Author Topic: Photographing miniatures to make Standees from them  (Read 3067 times)

Offline Cherno

  • Scatterbrained Genius
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Photographing miniatures to make Standees from them
« on: June 21, 2012, 03:54:39 PM »
Follow the setup I have tested and approved and the photographed miniatures will have the right size, and most importantly, their front- and backside images will line up perfectly.

All Standees are strictly for my personal use and will under no circumstances be distributed!

The setup is actually very simple, so don't be put off from all the instructions on the images ;)

Short version

  • White background.
  • Well-lit place (in front of a window or outside) on a bright day.
  • You can use artificial lights to increase image brightness, but only if it's not yellow like halogen and most other normal household lamps. LED lamps create a good white color, or specialized photographer's lamps if you have those.
  • 20 cm/ 8 inches or more from the camera to the miniature. The farer away, the better!
  • Focus at the miniature's waist level.
  • Resolution of at least 2 MP, 4 MP is preferable.
  • Use zoom only if you can't get a high enough resolution otherwise.
  • Put miniature on a small square piece of cardboard or paper
  • Draw a line around this piece
  • Place miniature in the middle of the piece
  • After the frontside photo, turn the piece with the miniature on it 180 degrees, using the outline as a guide.

Detailed Instructions and additional info

I wouldn't recommend photographing more than one miniature at a time because at this range even a slight deviation from the camera lense's exact focus will result in the front- and backside images not matching up anymore.

Basic Setup:

Note that the outline of the paper square has been marked on the underlying sheet so it retains the right position relative to the camera when it it turned 180 degrees for the backside image.

It's not neccessary to zoom in if the resolution is high enough, zooming can create problems with the autofocus. If the camera's resolution is lower, it's possible to zoom in so the end result is in effect the same. If the resolution is only 2 MP, a zoom of 2x would make no difference in the end as long as the focussing is right. See also "A word on focal length" at the end of this post.

If this function is not used, great care has to be taken to ensure you don't move the camera while triggering, blurring the image.

The images taken in this positions. Note that the image appears a little dark, but the colors are fairly accurate.

The miniature's face is not facing the camera directly, this can be preferable for miniatures that aim their rifles etc. to the front (those would only be seen from the front on the standee too, so it's good to turn them a little).

It's generally best if the figures are photographed perpendicular to their their widest silhouette so nothing is lost of their equipment and pose :)

The end result. The image has been brightened a little via "auto levels".

The front- and backsides line up very nice. Frontside is blue and backside is red.

At the bottom of the image are the Standee images how they would be printed out in their template, with glowing outline added in photoshop.

A word on focal length

Focal length is the distance from your camera lense to the point the camera lens is focussed at, i. e. what you want to photograph, in this case the miniature.

The shorter the focal length, the more "distorted" parts of the miniature that point towards or away from the camera become, like weapons and body parts spread from the body outwards.

The result is that the front and backsides are harder to match up, see the following image to understand it better. The miniature was photographed with zoom. Note how the sword is a problematic part of the image.

For this reason, it's better to rely on raw resolution and use no zoom at all. This means that the miniature will only be a small part of the resulting image, with the majority being the background, but the focal length is larger so the distortion effect described above isn't as pronounced. If the resulting image is too large to share or eMail, the part containing the miniature can just be cut out.

Choosing the right angle

It's generally best if miniatures are photographed so that their legs are perpendicular to the camera; if the figure holds a sword to the side (as seen above) then the sword should be perpendicular, and if it is aiming a rifle forward then the figure should be photographed from the side so the rifle is facing to the left or right. In any case, the miniature should be as "flat" as possible on the photo. The rule of thumb is: Turn the miniature until it is as wide as possible.

Certain beasts that are non-humanoid like dogs etc., basically anything that is not bipedal, should be photographeed at a 45 or 90 degrees angle instead of just from the frotn; otherwise the hind legs would not bo visible and the creature would look like a two-legged monster. Rule of thumb for these cases: It should be recognizeable as the thing that it is. An example of a good angle for a demonic hound is below.

« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 02:05:22 AM by Cherno »


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