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Photography: Jibril - The Dark SidePhotography: Jibril - The Dark Side

Hello everyone
Yeah, another image-heavy and lengthy blog post from me I suppose…

Today’s feature is Phat Company’s 1/7 Jibril from No Game No Life. Jibril’s props kind of a proof of concept I had in mind. It can be compared to the rough prototype of a new product - not very refined in its construction or quality control due to time and budget constraints on my side, but it did not matter that much as long I get the results I wanted for her photos. For every weakness in the props I built, I tried to overcome it with lighting techniques and trickery. It’s one of my most time-consuming sets to build, and definitely the heaviest – weighing in excess of 10kg for the entire set.

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Photo: PICTURE #1837732


Why did I choose to do this version (the evil side of Jibril, which I prefer to call it “The Dark Side”)? Because the one drooling over books is too mainstream and predictable. Yes, people would expect me to build a library, which I do intend to, for a second project of her in future. As usual i have split things into sections below.

Ideas & Concept

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As a recap, Jibril was from the kind of clan/species/race whom were experts in war and killing, until the world they lived it decided that all conflicts should be resolved with a game instead of a war. Hence their race took knowledge seriously. This expression of hers holding a skull is representative of her older days in war as a sadistic killing machine in a war.

Since she originated from No Game No Life, a world about games, I wanted the theme of the photo to be similar to a game. The idea here was to imagine her as a boss character in a specific floor in a dungeon, where if you defeat the boss you get your hands on the treasure.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4403/36702054333_34b52f43f1_z.jpg

In addition, this setup also applies the classic fantasy concept of a beast or a dragon guarding a treasure from intruders or people who attempt to get their hands on them. This is why there are skulls around – victims/humans that were defeated by the dragon in an attempt to get their hands on the treasure. It fits in perfectly as Jibril looks merciless enough with her right hand holding a skull.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4455/37324704066_cc7e6b8bbf_z.jpg

There is a similar concept seen in the recently aired anime Isekai Shokudou, but in this scenario the golds are kind of the belongings of the Dragon itself.

A plain dungeon would probably be too dark and boring because it would be just brick walls and arches, so I was figuring out how to make things look a bit interesting. Usually huge sculpts of a head are common in artworks of dungeons. I have considered a huge human skull in a wall before, but a three-dimensional object that extends out would probably have more impact. I went for the head of a (were)wolf because it is the perfect reference to the warbeast clan in No Game No Life.

Everything was theory and concept in my mind – I have never done anything like this before, and I’m not very familiar with fantasy theme especially with my habit of trying to think and visualize things in a logical manner. When it comes to a fantasy world, you have to stick to the “fuck logics & common sense” rule.


Building The Props

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The wolf head ‘sculpt’ isn’t a sculpt – I have zero skills in sculpting. It is actually a mask, for Halloween parties I suppose. Made of rubber-like material instead of plastic unfortunately, as I couldn’t find a plastic one. Rubber has both its advantages and disadvantages. I can secure it to another material with just nails or pins, but on the other hand it is very difficult to paint on rubber, and many types of glue don’t work on rubber.

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The obvious problem here is an imbalanced weight of distribution, where the set will not be durable if I just glued the pillar holding the mask onto the base. The pillar was secured to the base using cement, as in, real construction grade cement which has excellent strength even in small quantities. The main disadvantage, of course, is the weight.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4352/36702068463_e8fcacb49b_z.jpg

A second mask is used on the base, inverted, serving as the platform for Jibril to lie on. The mask is inserted into hole and then the gaps are sealed with plaster of paris too.

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When the entire unit is painted with the same color, it will look like one single solid object, despite the various different materials used to build it. The main issue is the wolf head being made of glossy rubber – even when flat textured paint is used on it, no glossy stuff, the final result still looks a bit too glossy to my liking. I do not have Mr. Hobby’s ultra flat clear spray with me (they are often sold out in local stores, popular among Gundam kit modellers). So it will all depend on my lighting techniques to conceal things as much as possible. Yellow colored artificial jewel are inserted into the eyes.

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Since the entire set was not intended for display in conventions or exhibits, I cut corners with detailing as a cost-saving measure since specialized paints like weathering material are not cheap and that’s mainly because the base/flooring will be covered with jewelry and treasure, so there was no point trying to detail them. Everything is just plain matte grey. I will be relying on my main strength in making the seemingly boring and dull looking setup look good in photos - by applying lighting techniques, which will be briefed in the section far below.

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I also did not pay attention to the details of the 2 walls surrounding the base, since they wont be in focus and will be blocked by other objects. I simply coated Styrofoam with plaster, introducing basic shapes in it such as a huge brick wall and curved arches. Ugly as hell but not a crucial part of the set. Well, you know, the amount of work needed to build that head sculpt was already quite demotivating so Im only doing what’s necessary.

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These roman pillars are made of resin/polystone-like material, which was an order from a store that custom manufactures and sells diorama props for Saint Seiya action figures. They also do custom orders and 3D printing. The items itself are not terribly expensive. What kills, is the shipping cost.

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This block of broken brick is 3D printed resin material. I’m not yet using 3D printed props widely in my sets so far but slowly introducing them if suitable. Stuff like this saves me some effort of making things from scratch and detailing them. I tend to make custom orders or buy ready-made parts since I cant do 3D designing or handle its software so it Is kind of pointless to buy a 3D printer. For now.

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Some of the items used in the setup. 1/6 scale skull model (third party 1/6 scale action figure props), various artificial jewels, yellow colored semi-transparent stones, resin brick, polystone roman pillar, and a plastic treasure chest with gold coins. I had to build the wolf head, base and walls, while other parts are mostly purchased. DIY craft material.

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Some sort of replica/models of weapons from some Chinese RPG/strategy game, well, I don’t know. But I have seen those kinds of games before. I picked it up because I thought the spear and shield are treasure material, and will aid in the composition of the photo.

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Swords are borrowed from Good Smile’s 1/7 Tohsaka Rin UBW figure ITEM #26700 . It can be easily stabbed past the wolf head without damaging or scratching it because the wolf head was rubber material. All I needed is to stab the head with a real knife to create space, and then pass the swords through.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4477/36663508424_dbb5d81fc1_z.jpg

Setting things up. Yes, it looks dull and uninspiring here because it was just a random shot from a smartphone with lighting conditions that are not optimal. The lighting is the magic that will transform the looks of the entire setup.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4421/37372265271_bf7af9e085_z.jpg


Setting up the Lights

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There are two main locations I usually set up my props – either on the balcony making use of natural sunlight while under a shade, or converting the large desk in my own bedroom into sort of a photography studio. My own room is the obvious choice here because a dungeon means a dark scene, and it has to be shot in a dark room, with all lights turned off except my own lighting setup.

Before I move on to describing my lighting setup, we take a look at this figure of Jibril, which falls under the “moderately complex” category if I have to classify a figure by how easy or hard it is to do a studio style lighting for photography.
Usually figures with simple poses are easier to light up for photography, while those with a very dynamic pose or extra props/parts (huge weapons, wings, nonhuman entities) tend to be a bit more challenging, because these figures cannot be lighted up with just one single lamp.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4343/36702059403_da67c4b461_z.jpg

As in the simple example above, no matter how you change the angle of your light source, there will always be unacceptably dark regions/shadows somewhere. That means additional light sources, reflectors, or photoshop editing is needed. What makes things even harder for me now, the werewolf head sculpt acts as an additional obstacle for light sources. Do it wrong and her surroundings will be too bright.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4493/23520173058_c90dfed307_z.jpg

A usual setup of two to three lamps will not work, because it ends up making everything too bright, especially the wolf head “sculpt”- and its glossy (reflective) surface is going to ruin the looks of the photo. So I resorted to targeted lighting, which is quite technical. Eight light sources and a reflector were needed (a personal record for me).
The technique here, is to use small LEDs which have very small area coverage, to light up specific areas of a setup.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4366/23520166508_3464d90083_z.jpg

> The main key light in a soft box lights up a large portion of the figure and shielded so that it wont spill into other areas especially the wolf head and the foreground
> A reflector (mirror) deflects the key light back on the other side of Jibril’s face
> One lamp was used to brighten up the her left wing and left thigh
> Two LEDs hidden under the wolf head were used for her head and shoulders
> Three LEDs were used to brighten up all the treasure surrounding her, one each from the left, middle, and right
> And then everything else is supposed to be dark and stained blue – covered by the blue filter backdrop light behind, shielded in a way that it does not spill onto Jibril resulting in blue hues appearing on her skin.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4435/37324666786_874fcf44c6_z.jpg

A similar real-world example of using multiple small-area coverage lamps would be stage lights used in concerts which is directed only on the performers on stage while keeping the surroundings dark.


Post Processing

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If you get it right on the camera itself, there’s little work to be done on a computer. Here’s a comparison of the shot straight out of camera VS the one I edited in lightroom. Most of the work involved enhancing and adjusting the colors, shadows and contrast, and recovering Jibril’s skin color. The pale skin color is caused by the LEDs used for the lighting which are often bluish in nature, but it can be easily fixed.

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Here’s another comparison of before and after editing. Not much adjustment other than the skin tone.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4331/37324673946_faa5271357_z.jpg

A regular light setup i used on other figures would not have worked. I did try and the result was nothing short of disaster.

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I knew quite well from the beginning about this issue with light was going to be tricky, and the photography session was actually frustrating where repeated adjustments and light setups were used, trial and error, to get the best results straight out of camera.

Coming up next from me sometime in October, is Max Factory's Ikumi Mito. And Im anticipating my Aniplex Saber Racing figure xD My schedule for the rest of the year is already full, I still have Max Factory's Nana Astar Deviluke and Good Smile's Alisa Illinichina Amiella in my backlogs for the rest of the year.

- And this is the end of the article. -
Thank you very much for reading!
3,241 Hits • 12 Kommentare

Kommentare12

1pt
All I have to say is very amazing work.
Vor 1 Jahr
1pt
Thanks for this tuto. I've planned to do one diorama, but it's notre easy !
Vor 1 Jahr
0pt
Wow! That is an awesome picture!
Vor 1 Jahr
1pt
Gorgeous lighting and works I have to say. Can't imagine how much effort you put behind this photo. Very impressive !
Vor 1 Jahr
1pt
Woooow !! Very good job !!!! O_O
Vor 1 Jahr
6pt
Your game is way too strong, dude <3 Your figure photography is amazing as usual! Always interesting to read your behind-the-scenes articles too :D Thank you very much for your effort ^o^
Vor 1 Jahr
1pt
Your game is way too strong, dude <3 Your figure photography is amazing as usual! Always interesting to read your behind-the-scenes articles too :D Thank you very much for your effort ^o^
Vor 1 Jahr
4pt
Rajke Ca fanatic
Impressive Diorama you build for this photo shoot. And the final results looks great. Love the wolf skull you used in your diorama.
Your pictures are really beautyfull.
Vor 1 Jahr
1pt
EXkurogane (Vor 1 Jahr) #26523206Thanks. Here's a big one. :D
i.imgur.com/VMe...
The color is probably a personal preference, but I believe i tweaked it that way so that it looks more consistent with Jibril's brightness/exposure level. Try imagining the skin brightness level on the right picture and the hair color and exposure level on the left side and it will look a bit inconsistent. I raised the luminance amount in Hue/Saturation/Luminance slider under purple and magenta color channels. On the Hue and Saturation aspect i did only slight tweaks.

Oh, thanks! And yeah lotsa things are subjective, but the processed one does look better overall.

I'll take a moment to stare at this and have a nice day. :D
Vor 1 Jahr
1pt
Mekuneko (Vor 1 Jahr) #26523011Nice job once again!
One comment though, I think I'd like to see the straight out of camera and after post-processing pictures little larger because they are very similar. I can see some of the shadows brought up nicely as well as the skin tone (after processing), but I like the original purple hair in the first picture. Was there a reason to change the hair as well?
And I'll be keeping an eye on your blog. :3


Thanks. Here's a big one. :D
i.imgur.com/VMe...

The color is probably a personal preference, but I believe i tweaked it that way so that it looks more consistent with Jibril's brightness/exposure level. Try imagining the skin brightness level on the right picture and the hair color and exposure level on the left side and it will look a bit inconsistent. I raised the luminance amount in Hue/Saturation/Luminance slider under purple and magenta color channels. On the Hue and Saturation aspect i did only slight tweaks.
Vor 1 Jahr
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