Monday, March 18, 2013

"Staging" miniature photography

I've been envying certain bloggers' terrain collections for a while.  Not because I want it for gaming, but because with the right set-up,  it can produce some really impressive photos of miniatures that "bring them to life" as it were.  Some good examples from some of my favorite painters:

Yeaaaaaah, pretty nice.  I don't have nearly the time to make this kind of thing, or the space to display it, but some kind of thematic backgrounds might be an improvement over the blue-white gradient or simple coloured paper I use now.

The other day I found a page with a pretty amazing collection of  free Star Wars-themed downloadable paper terrain, that I thought might do the trick and be simple to use. I printed some off, and quickly whipped up this super-basic backdrop:

Your typical Death Star corridor, nothing to write home about.  But even this produces some fun photos:

"Only a master of evil, Darth!"

Trying something a little more elaborate:

"Hey, what's HE doing here?"

Wow, right out of the movies!  OK, maybe not exactly, but I like it.  And it gives the figures a bit more "story" or context, which any even halfway-decent sculpt should already be trying to evoke.  Also, while it's not very creative on my part, I could print these at different scales to display 15 or 28mm minis.


  1. I'm blushing! ;) Really nice backdrops Allison! I especially like how you create perspective using the floor panel lines.

    A nice ground piece and a photo backdrop put far enough in the back that it blurs out, creating depth of field would work well in this manner too. I have been meaning to print up a section of runed city to put in the way-back area myself.

    Thanks for the very kind shout-out, you are one of my favorite painters too!

  2. Good point about the floor lines. Hadn't thought of that, and it's very true. I wish the printing of these had been a bit higher-quality, frankly, and the "viewport into space" thing didn't work as well as I'd hoped. But they *are* just the first ones I made :)

    The distant backdrop would might be a nice alternative for outdoor settings. An extra illusion of distance could be made by atmospheric perspective - fading and desaturating the image a bit in software. Learned about that in painting class once upon a time...

  3. I actually really like the viewport. If you wanted more "window-like"ness to it, you could always use an inkjet transparency and print up a frame and put it in front!

    And, also, thanks for the shout out :) I tend to take my photos from the angle shown in the photo simply because I haven't come up with a large backdrop I like yet. Usually I just use those N scale Kato Buildings or the apartment blocks.

    As for DoF, I don't know what kind of camera you use, but if you have just a point n' shoot, generally if you set to Macro settings, and put your mini really close, and the background far away that can get some nice results. Otherwise I use low F-Stop settings in my DSLR. LMK if you want any of the settings I use!

  4. Beautiful and most enjoyable to view.

    Even though SpaceJacker's and Mr. H.'s comments are too complicated for me to understand, I concur exactly!

  5. BTW...Catwoman on Buildings. Just use her model I reckon and when she is in play take her off that ledge. :)

  6. Wow they are really effective, I need to do something similar myself

  7. Hi Allison, As said by your distinguished followers, an excellent solution for backdrop photography!

  8. What an excellent sense of perspective and fotography you have!

    Being it on purpose or not, it works and recreates nicely the "point de fuite" perspective thing.

    Really effective for a so simple method.

    PS. I secretly hate/envy one of the above commenters for his awesome looking terrain and retro tatoos :D

  9. Not so secret now, apparently ;) Is it... Spacejacker? With his awesome "Silence in the Library"-esque ink? Yes, of course it is!


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