Posts Tagged ‘cryx’

After being frustrated the past few days with other projects that aren’t panning out as smoothly as I expected, I decided to work on something completely unrelated to any of my current projects.
I brought my roller derby equipment in after practice on Monday night and decided on Tuesday morning that I wanted to finally paint my helmet.
So now, I have a brand new shiny helmet, that looks like a Canadian flag! Varnished and ready to go, just needing a bag to protect the helmet during bag transport.


After adding the previous post, I realized a couple of things.


1. Holy crap, I haven’t updated the blog in forever.

2.I  seriously need to find the information and write the third part of the photographing miniatures series.

3. I need to remember what I was planning on doing for the third part of that series.

4. Did I mention it had been forever since I’d updated?

Photographing Miniatures Series Part 2, Essential Equipment

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Commisison Painter, Commission Painting, Fantasy Flight, Games Workshop, Gaming, Gaming, How To, Malifaux, Miniature Gaming, painting, Privateer Press, Removing paint, Resource List, Space Hulk, Stripping miniatures, True Scale Space Marine, Uncategorized, Warhammer, warhammer 40, warhammer 40k, Wyrd Miniatures
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Now that we’ve discussed the primary piece of equipment that will be the key to great miniature photography, the camera, there are a few more items of importance as well.




There are a lot of different types available but a mini, or flexible tripod is the ideal option here.  These two types give you the best chance of getting to the right height when working on a table taking your photos.  Various brands are available, and they usually cost less than $30.00.  Now mind you, if you’d rather use a sandbag or something similar, that’s fine too. Basically we are looking for something that will keep the camera steady so you can get good crisp shots without the worry that shaking may ruin the photos.  Some camera kits may come with one, or some photo studio kits available may come with one as well, so if you don’t have one, shop about and see if there’s something else that you may like that a tripod may be included with.


Memory Card and Reader


For most cameras this is the standard storage device that you will use.  Some cameras have compact flash cards instead, but have the same function, store images for you to retrieve at a later time.  Some computers and laptops have various forms of card readers built into them.  If you have one built into the computer you’re using, the USB card reader is unnecessary.  I suggest using the built in reader (if applicable) or a USB card reader rather than plugging the camera into the computer via USB cable (otherwise known as tethering) for several reasons:


–       Less drain on the camera battery (Key if you camera uses alkaline batteries.)

–       Speed.  You can work faster from the card directly instead of having to go through the camera itself.

–       Ease. If you fill up cards while shooting, you’re already removing this.  It’s also much easier to copy images and delete the images from the card when working directly with it. On average, you will save anywhere from 10-45 minutes or more depending on the number of images you’re removing from the card. Also facilitates cleaning the card out afterwards, as you can simply highlight them and delete them rather than go through your camera to do so.

–       If you’re using a built in card reader, you don’t have to install any software.


They are fairly straightforward to use, as you follow a couple simple steps to have access to your images.  Generally you remove the SD card, following any manufacturer specific directions for removing it from your camera, insert it into the reader before you insert it into the USB port, then plug into your computer or laptop USB port.  In no time at all you will have access to your images via a menu on your screen.  With using a card reader, it is just better practice to put the chip into the device and then plug it in, and reversing the process to remove it, after ensuring you shut it down via the “Safely Remove Hardware” button that will show up on the right side of the toolbar (small icon with a USB plug image and a green checkmark). Make sure to follow the proper steps to remove it from your system so you don’t possibly inflict damage to the SD card, reader or computer.


Light Box & Lights


When it comes to a light box there are several different options available.  You could purchase one online, such as this great combo kit from Think Geek ( ) find plans to make your own (easily searchable in any good search engine, there’s lots of versions available if you want to try your hand at this) or borrow one if you’ve got a friend that happens to have one. Just remember when constructing it that it needs to be made of a thin white material, be it vellum, light cloth, or something similar.  There are advantages and disadvantages to whichever of these you choose, as well as personal preference, and budget that will ultimately help you make the final decision.  Effectively they all provide the same thing, a small space that you control the conditions within so you can get the best images of your miniatures possible.

Lights are also important as well.  Ideally, a small pair of lights that will allow you to direct the majority of its beam at the sides of the light box, effectively making the light box glow.  These don’t have to be huge lights that regular photographers use when doing shoots with models, just small, compact white lights. Remember you’re trying to light up the box and produce a glow within the box that will show your model in the most favorable light.  Yellow or another colour will tint the box unfavorably, causing the colours not to be accurate.  Either the bulbs that show “real colour” or standard white are the best options.  Remember that small lights tend to get hot very fast, so if you’re doing multiple shoots, they should be turned off between miniatures.




There are a lot of small things you should have as well, some may even seem insignificant when mentioned, but they help a great deal in the long run.  Some of these are just a recommendation to facilitate your experience in miniature photography.


Power Strip- Because you’ll be moving the lights around a bit to get them in the best spot, a power strip to work from is handy, giving you extra room and helping keep all the cords in one area, making the area less likely to be at tripping hazard.


Backdrop Material- Because the models you photograph vary as much as the weather, various colours of material to use for backdrops are a must.  A good selection of backdrop colours include: Black, White, Red, Blue, Green, and Grey.  You can make your own in Photoshop and print it out, such as clouds or another type, but inexpensive pieces of material really work well. Solid colours are best, so you don’t detract from the model, and they should average about 24” wide x30” long.  It should have a bit of weight to it, especially in the case of a light colour, so light doesn’t go through it.  When you’re not using these, either carefully fold them or roll them up and store them in a safe spot.  Wrinkled backdrops tend to have uneven colouration when lit, and can detract from the model itself.


A large well lit area to work in.  Natural light is a wonderful asset but not necessary for good photography when using a light box and lights.  If you’re working in an area with little natural light, you may simply need to add a bit more to get a great situation.  It’s much easier to add light than it is to remove it, if you are working with a combination of natural light and artificial. Having a large area to work in allows you to get the best possible light for your photography, as you have more room to work with, whether you need to add more lights or adjust how far away from the box they are.


In general, a few minor things to point out to help avoid frustration.  Remember light colours reflect light and dark colours absorb it.  Miniatures varnished with matte varnish are ideal candidates to photograph.  Gloss varnish will make it harder to get good angles without a lot of reflections and shiny spots.  Boxes can be your best friend.  You can use boxes under the backdrop to elevate the model, if need be, to the same level as the camera on the tripod.  Just make sure the box doesn’t have writing that will show through once the area is lit.


Next up: Step by Step Photos of Setting up a Shoot.

Photographing Miniatures Series Part 1, Choosing the Right Camera

Posted: December 18, 2010 in Commisison Painter, Commission Painting, Fantasy Flight, Games Workshop, Gaming, Gaming, How To, Malifaux, Miniature Gaming, painting, Privateer Press, Removing paint, Resource List, Space Hulk, Stripping miniatures, True Scale Space Marine, Uncategorized, Warhammer, warhammer 40, warhammer 40k, Wyrd Miniatures
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So, you’ve decided to take the plunge, and you want to have some great pictures of your hard work.  Then, the thoughts start rolling through your mind, how do I do this? What do I need to buy? What kind of camera should I have? Is this going to cost me a lot of money?  Can I get someone else to do it, which would cost me less than picking up what I need to do my own pictures? These questions and more are common ones that come to light when someone is deciding how best to go about getting beautiful, clear shots of their miniatures.  Remember, this is about taking pictures of small objects, as small as two to three inches high, not taking pictures of people.  There are different camera modes and/or equipment that you will need to use, or learn to use, that will help you produce these types of photographs.


Macro (Close Up) photography is a delicate task, with several very particular characteristics that make it very challenging.  This is not limited to: choosing the right equipment for the task at hand, learning various techniques, choosing the ideal subjects and far more.  Just having the proper equipment is not enough, you need to practice with it, a lot.  It requires a steady hand, good colour composition, good shot composition and more, things that come with practice.  The most important part to successful macro photography however, will always be the camera.  Without a good quality camera, all the practice and preparation in the world won’t turn out a successful final product.  You as a photographer can have all the most current training, but if you’re trying to use inferior equipment with this training and knowledge, the results can only be described as disaster.


The Explanation


There are two main types of digital cameras, point and shoot and the D-SLR. They have a megapixel rating (mp) that can vary anywhere from 2 (low end) to upwards of 24 (very high end).  The newer the camera, the more likely it is to average around 8-12mp.  These numbers can be found on the box, on the camera, or by researching the particular camera you either have or are interested in online.  Brand really doesn’t mean a great deal, its personal preference really.  If you ask 10 photographers what brand they believe is the best, 8 of the 10 will tell you whatever brand their current equipment happens to be.  Out of those 8, there are probably 6 different manufacturers mentioned.  The mainstream camera companies include (in no particular order): Nikon, Cannon, Sony, Kodak, and Panasonic.


Another factor weighing heavily is the resolution of the photographs the chosen camera produces.  This can vary from 72dpi (low) to 300dpi (high) or more, dependent on the equipment.  Scanned photos can have a very high rating, as much as 900dpi or more depending on the scanner used!  DPI, in the end is the printer resolution, telling you how many dots of colour can be put into a one inch square when printing the image.  Generally speaking, the higher the number the sharper the image, as the more dots of colour can be fit into that same one inch space.  The higher the resolution, the images produced tend to have a higher range of colours and shades when it prints out or is viewed on a monitor.  In terms of macro model photography, it means the more dots that can be fit into the printed image, the more accurate reproduction of the colours depicted on the miniature, as well as more of the fine detail being captured.  This leads to the miniature being accurately represented in the final image without blurriness or pixilation.


Macro Mode


This is the most important feature that is a must have for macro photography to work properly, if the camera is a point and shoot.  A D-SLR has specific lenses you would purchase in order to have this ability, costing upwards of two thousand dollars, depending on the camera brand, and type of lens your purchase.  With macro mode on a point and shoot, depending on the model, you can get as close as a half inch away to take photographs, but others may have a 4-5” minimum distance for this mode to function properly.  It’s all dependent on that particular camera.  It’s best to consult your camera book, or the website for that particular brand for the recommended distances.  A note of caution: if your point and shoot (or the one you’re looking at) doesn’t specifically list a macro mode, and you can’t find information on their website about that specific camera, chances are it may simply not have it.  Regular shooting mode is not a substitute in any way shape or form for an actual “Macro Mode” option.  Macro mode is designed to allow the user to get very up close and personal such as frame filling flowers, small insects and more with clarity.  This is why it’s the ideal mode to use when photographing miniatures.


Other Recommendations


Lithium Ion Battery


Not only better for the environment, they are more reliable, can take several thousand charges before you need to worry, and are cost effective. Remember, with macro photography, you’re making the camera do a lot, and it will use a lot of battery to do that.


Image Stabilization/ Anti-Shake


If your hands shake at all, this one’s a must.  Even when using a tripod with the camera to do still photography, it still helps with the final product. Don’t rely on it alone to take macro photographs, as it can only do so much, but it makes a great assistant when combined with a tripod.




This isn’t a concern with macro photography specifically.  Macro mode is specifically designed to allow you to get very close to the subject, without needing to zoom in to fill the frame.  If you try to combine zoom with macro, it will hinder you, as the two do not work well together.  Why combine two settings that make your camera fight against itself to get the shot?




This can be your best friend, seriously.  When you look at your screen, you get a preview of the final image.  With autofocus, in most cases you can set the area it’s focusing on (ie. the center of the frame or another point you determine) giving you more control on the focal point.  Reminder though, this can also hinder you, as it may want to focus on a part of the model that you don’t want to, so be wary.  This is another of those points that practice is important to getting good, consistent results that you’re happy with.


View Screen


The larger the screen is the better.  In all reality, you’re getting a preview of the image before you take it.  If you’re like 80% of the world and don’t have perfect vision, it will be easier on your eyes if you’ve got a larger space to look at while taking your images. It’s not necessarily a requirement to have a large screen, just remember that the more you can see of what you’re working on, the more likely you are to notice any problems before you start shooting.



In closing, the suggested parameters for an ideal camera for macro photography are:


–       Macro Mode

–       8-12+ mp rating

–       300dpi photo resolution

–       A Lithium Ion Battery

–       Autofocus

–       Image Stabilizer/Anti-Shake

–       Can be mounted on a small/compact tripod

–       Good sized view screen for preview

Update on the list today! 11/09

Added to:

GW Bits
Ready Made Bases
Custom Tokens and Unit Markers
Basing Materials and Tools

Thanks to firedancer again, as well as all the others who have contributed!


Resource List Update

Posted: November 4, 2010 in Commisison Painter, Commission Painting, Fantasy Flight, Games Workshop, Gaming, Gaming, How To, Malifaux, Miniature Gaming, painting, Privateer Press, Removing paint, Resource List, Space Hulk, Stripping miniatures, True Scale Space Marine, Uncategorized, Warhammer, warhammer 40, warhammer 40k, Wyrd Miniatures
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The following categories got an update today:

– Basing Material and tools
– Custom Tokens and Unit Markers, Ready Made Terrain
– Ready Made Bases

More updates to come!

New Categories added as well, Magnetic Base Suppliers, Basing Material Suppliers, and Custom Tokens, Unit Markers, and Ready Made Terrain.

Resources Added to

Non GW Bits

Miniature Sculptors

Ready Made Bases

Magnetic Bases

Basing Materials and Tools

Custom Tokens and Unit Markers, Ready Made Terrain

Link to full resource list:

These were from a bit of research I did, trying to recall some of the sources I’ve utilized before, or looked up for inspiration.

I’ve got more resources that will be added to it soon, if you have anything you’d like to have me add, please EMAIL it to me at