I will most likely leave my “Top Wargaming Blogs” suedo-poll open for another week, then I’ll do a post with the results. After that, I’ll take some time off. There are a few reasons for it. I have tried numerous times to get some feedback to see what people would like to see more of what just find out what they like in general, and most of it has been for nowt.
Taking pictures and posting takes time, and with little feedback there’s little motivation to keep it up. I have tried to put up something interesting AT LEAST once a week, interesting is the hard part. I have been painting like a freight train lately, and I feel the time will be better spent painting until I get a posting bug again.
Thanks to those of you who have posted, I really appiciate it.
I painted my 2,500th 6mm musket yesterday and finally snapped. In a fit of rage, I threw the entire unit against the basement wall. I said to myself, “Self, THAT felt REALLY good.” I then sought out the storage bins where I keep the finished figures, dumped them on the floor and proceeded to jump up and down on them. I felt very relieved, an obsession finished.
I think I’m going to watch more TV and maybe take up a less demanding hobby. I think I’ll knit with my wife.
Copy anything you want from the blog as I will take it down in a week to remove all traces of this hobby from my life.
When I started my first blog I had to ask my wife (the family photographer) quite a few questions about how to work the camera. There isn’t a great deal of information on the net about taking pictures of miniatures, and what you can find is sometimes very vague. I thought I’d pop a post up about how I take my pictures.
I don’t have a fancy SLR camera as the budget doesn’t allow for it, I would love to though. What I do have is a Olympus Camedia C-60 ZOOM. We bought it a number of years ago, and it is a fine camera.
I have found the most important thing to do is not use the auto settings. Auto settings are for your most typical picture. A 6mm subject is far from typical. I always do the following:
I use the P setting on my dial. The P setting stands for Program Mode and is like an auto that allows you to choose certain over-rides.
I use the menu to select Super Macro Mode. This means I can place models about 5-7cm from the lens.
I also turn off the flash. This happens automatically on many cameras that have super macro. If you don’t have super macro mode, use macro mode and manually turn off the flash.
That does it for the camera.
You can NOT have too much light! I repeat, you can NOT have too much light. I have two different lights set up at all times for my painting, to eliminate shadows. I use these same two lights and pull them in as close as possible. I also have daylight bulbs in them. You can find daylight bulbs at most places with a wide variety of bulbs.
I have a cheapy little tripod that come with the bag we bought for our camera. It’s all of four inches tall and has flexible legs. It is fantastic for the job. It is imperative that you use a tripod of some sort for your camera at this level of photography. When using the slow shutter speed required for the detail of macro photography, a steady hand is not enough.
Choose a neutral background color or gradient to put behind your figs. White and black are too harsh and will really affect the quality of your photographs unless you really know what you are doing. I try to use a cream color if I have the chance.
I take shit loads of pictures every time. Then I go through and delete about two thirds of them. I think you need to get brutal about what makes the cut. I mean, you only need one good picture of a model from each angle, more than that is unnecessary, but I don’t know if it’s a good picture until I see it on the monitor.
Cropping and Editing
All pictures need to be optimized for the web. You don’t need more than 72 pixels per inch. Most printers require 300 ppi for a nice photo, so you can save a lot of bandwidth for your viewers by reducing the size. A great free web app is photoshopexpress. Give it a try.
The Light Box
I purchased a lightbox for my photography and have had good results. I wanted to take my pictures to the next level and it worked. An unintended side effect was that it was more of a process to take photos and I practically stopped taking pictures. It is in a very tight corner of the basement and I have to move the extension cord, etc… I believe that when I get it set up in a more convenient spot that requires no preliminary set-up, I will use it more. I hope!
I’m sure that all of this info will be good for larger figs as well. That ought to do it.
I finally changed my galleries from the eye-sore ones that I used previously. I found a new plug-in that makes them easier to use and a fantastic lightbox type plug-in. I hope you like the new ones.
I also discovered why I haven’t been taking many pictures lately. I have been painting like mad for months now and am very close to completing the entire OOB for the Saratoga Campaign, well kinda close anyway. I switched to a much fancier way of doing things and it just isn’t that easy to snap off a few quick shots. I took the test model pictures from my work table and it was quick and easy. However the background is busy but doesn’t detract enough to make me go to the trouble of taking pictures the hard way. We’ll see how it goes, as I want to get the pictures out there as quick as possible.
I have read on line many times about a gamer that goes to put the final coat of spray varnish on his figs and grabs the wrong can. I alway think, “What an idiot.” Well, last night it happened to me. I have painted a few units of Indians for my games and decided to change the way I did it and make them more colorful. So I finished with the first unit and then go to coat them and…grab the wrong can and spray a thin coat of white over them. At 6mm, this can obscure quite a bit of detail. I wanted to get a picture of them.
Here are both sides of the figures, you can see that one side is much more vibrant than the other.
They should be finished during next week and I will post pictures of them and my other two units all at the same time.
One of the things that really sets off a unit on the table is a flag. They also help to distinguish units, if they are you own units I suppose as other peoples’ flags might not be helpful in identifying units. I usually tend to buy some flags at the beginning of a project, then create my own as the project moves along.
Baccus makes some great flags for most of the periods it serves, and AWI is no exception. I bought the Patriot flags when I made my first order. I measured these and then set up a photoshop template to create my own. If you are a dab hand at photoshop, a 6mm flag is no problem. A couple of hints for those of you that would try to make your own.
start at 300 dpi
set your width in inches (for yank flags I use .9in x .3in)
use lots of layers so you can make minor changes and produce completely different flags
There are a great many resources out there for you to start with. Warflag is a favorite for inspiration. There are many actual photos available as well. Kronoskaf is also becoming a rich source of flags as the British Army section becomes more populated. Many of the flags could easily be used for 6mm.
I have found Wikimedia Commons a wonderful source for heraldry symbols and flags alike. David from Not by Appointment turned me on to these in a post of his. I have found many different British flags and symbols to decorate different flags with. Best of all, anything on the site is free to use as you wish.
That’s one of the reasons that I prefer to create my own flags. I don’t want anyone claiming I can’t reproduce them or give them away or copy them. Screw you pal, I’ll make my own. I am also able to change them in any way that I want.
Flags for the 9th Regiment of Foot
I created these over the past few days as I have been finishing the 9th Foot. I gathered the basic info from many sources. The british flag comes from Wikimedia Commons. I added a wreath also found there, it’s the United Nations wreath, but it works at 6mm. (I’m trying to get a better one at the moment) I then just added the regiments numbers. I will be able to produce most of the Kings Colors for the British regiments from this one flag, with a few minor changes.
The Regimental comes from a basic yellow square. The canton is the same flag from the King’s Colors, only smaller. Once again I have used the same wreath.
At the end of the day, I really enjoy making these and find them a new challenge when I need a break from painting. I’m lucky to be working in 6mm as it is very forgiving when working on flags. For the most part, no one will really ever know/care how accurate they are but me, but that’s why we do this right?
I just checked in after quite some absence. I see it has been since the end of September for the last post. Holy Shit! I need to get going. To be honest, I became a little disappointed in the project as there were only two comments on the blog and there were very few views. After checking the views today I see that people are still visiting with two months of inactivity.
So I will try to get some more pictures up presently. I have completed the entire OOB for Hubbardton for both sides and have begun to work on the OOB for Freeman’s farm.
In the meantime I have also begun to fool around with another period, though still in 6mm. I will get some pictures up for that soon as well.
Well, I have given up on designing my own blog to show of the project. I recently started a web design company for games companies and to be honest, when I have finished working on this stuff, I can’t bare the thought of starting work on my own site for fun. So as my options were to find and easy way to get my work on the web or not put it up (the option I have been exercising these past many months) I have decided to take the plunge and go with a WordPress blog.
The other large reason that I wanted to find a web based solution is that I am switching my home computer to Ubuntu from Windows. It is no possible to run DreamWeaver (my preferred web creation software) on Ubuntu with full functionality. So by using WordPress, I am able to maintain the site from anywhere.
So, here it is. I will be slowly migrating my old content to this new platform and then adding the 10 plus units that I have finished since my last post.
I’ll see you as soon as I get the bugs worked out.