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ursulav

Beard Not Included

Gonna have to figure out how to photograph these…

It's a...tigery thing. With bits.

…and if anyone has any tips, I’d be very grateful! (Other than “Use a decent camera, idiot.”) Kevin is obviously being very patient, but…well…y’know.

I made the shape curve in along the side of the head a little too tight on this one, I think, but otherwise I’m pretty pleased. We’ll see how the next one comes out. (For my next trick, something that isn’t red and black!)

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

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maybe a mannequin head or a balloon?

I can imagine a rugby ball working too.

(Deleted comment)
Oh, I like that idea! Easier to pin it in place.

It looks sort of like a demonic cow. Not sure if that's a good thing.


Just lay it down on a neutral background?

I have a bolster shaped microbead pillow. It's very scrunchy and it lends itself to shaping around things very well. It can be draped with different cloths to spark up what ever colors you need.
Perhaps one of them?

Styrofoam head shape. They're used for wig displays and similar.

Or go up-market and get one of the glass ones. Heavy, durable and you can put lights inside them to shine through the eyes!

This. And the styrofoam ones are cheap -- I needed one a couple of months ago, and it cost me all of $4.

Glowing eyes would be really hard to photograph well, but outstanding for a physical display at a show.

I kinda liked the bobcat form and have since been wondering exactly why you have one.... XD

I do like the red and black.

in the pic above you have direct light on top of the subject and possibly using flash up front. Thats whats giving you all the bright shiny highlights. If you can manage it, daylight is better esp with dark black as it loses all its contrast otherwise

A neutral background helps and if the mask is shaped then lying it down on something to prop it up at a good angle will do the trick - I think masks are better shot alone rather than on a subject as the subject can change the way it looks to you (ie with a beard :)

If you are using flash wrap a couple of layers of kleenex around it to soften the effect and help minimise the shiny reflections (and works well for redeye on people and animals too)

Consider some options for sidelighting where there is detail/colour to be picked up there

There are some good online tutorials for DIY Light Tents -- basically find a box large enough to comfortably fit the object you are photographing, cut the sides and top out and replace them with thin paper or fabric, use a "sweep" of neutral paper as a backdrop, letting it curve from the bottom front to the top back.

For lights, get two or three daylight-balanced compact florescent bulbs and put them in clamp-lamp flood fixtures like you get at the hardware store and shine them through the paper sides of the box. Tell your camera not to use its flash and put your camera on a tripod if you have one and use the self timer mode to trigger the shutter.

This should give you good, even light with no hot spots and nice, crisp, in-focus images.

Edited at 2011-12-30 12:31 am (UTC)

The one who sent you the "Your Chopped Story broke my heart" email. Thanks for reading that! I got all warm and squishy inside.

(^_^)

Now I'm going to sit here and boggle that your Kevin's beard is pretty much EXACTLY like mine was, only black. Mine was reddish-gold.

I'm getting a wonderful disconnect from Sarah talking about his/her beard :-)

Re: Sarah checking in,

Hee!

My dearly departed husband, also named Kevin, had a wonderfully soft goatee, much like Ursula's Kevin.

Re: Sarah checking in,

Mine is not soft. Actually, I need to trim it since I am once again waking up with Cthulhu-esque sticky-outy beard & mustache hairs.

And when it gets this long...

Re: Sarah checking in,

It tickles in all the right places?

:D For some reason I really, really love the white nose. It makes me want to skritch it. Ditto on the ears, so I'd say the mask is a success. As for a model, I agree with the comments above: styrofoam head, painted to look humanish.

Have you considered doing some textured areas on the leather? Tooling, branding, even buildups with gesso or other media-- I saw some really interesting texturing on a leather mask in New Orleans done with layers of fingernail-polish, clear lacquers over opaques with gems under the clear layers. Made it look like it'd been enameled.

The impossibly talented Ryl Mandus of angel-mask.com tends to use a pretty fabric draped over a wig head for her shoots. Being that I feel like I have to struggle to avoid accidentally copying her works, since her style often coincides perfectly with my own tastes, I've always abstained from using that particular staging, but it might be a suitable option for you.

Oh, and I'm immensely excited that you've gotten into the practice. A long-time familiarity with your style is making it great fun seeing how you adapt to the medium!

Edited at 2011-12-30 04:13 am (UTC)

I think Kevin would look good in something like half-animal-mask, half-Sutton-Hoo-helmet, half-metal-album-cover prop. But that's just me

I'm tempted to try to make some half-masks, like the goth-y carved surgeon's masks[1] I've seen at cons.

[1] a not the right name, I'm sure, but you get the idea

Since you tend to like a certain tentacle guy, you could try something like this (not my page, but I love the artist *almost* as much as you!): http://shmeeden.deviantart.com/art/Cthulhu-leather-mask-natural-265457212?q=gallery%3Ashmeeden%2F2233315&qo=14

There are some painted/decorated ones in her gallery, but this base seems to be more useful for reference.

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