Star Wars Lego Minifigure Portraits – Toy Photography with NO PHOTOSHOP!


Hello there! In today’s macro photography
tutorial we’re taking a look at shooting some Star Wars scenes using Lego so I’m
going to put some Lego scenes down use some practical effects to make some
really cool cinematic shots so stick around and I’ll get started so yes the Star Wars hype is pretty
real at the moment, there’s new games coming out there’s new TV shows and
there’s the new film so whether or not that film will live up to expectations
we’ll have to wait and see but I want to take advantage of that hype and get some
inspiration from some Star Wars Lego toy photography today we’re going to be
grabbing some minifigures and doing some portraiture using colored lights lasers
fog all sorts of practical effects my objective today is to not use any
photoshop at all but come out with some really cool atmospheric images at the
end now we actually did some Lego photography in a previous video but that
was a very different style we were shooting film noir style Lego so we got
some of the buildings behind me we’ve got those down and used them as a scene
to create some nice dark and moody images again using lasers as well which
we’ll touch on in just a little while but for a slightly different purpose so
today I’m going to be grabbing some Star Wars figures I’m going to be getting
much much closer than last time I’ll link that video in the top corner if you
want something a little bit wider out but I’m going to be using the Adaptalux Studio to create some really cool and colored effects I’m going to be
using atmosphere spray to create some some fog and I’m going to be using
lasers to light up some lightsabers so I’m going to get started with my first
shot which is going to be of Boba Fett so I’m going to grab him out of slave 1
and get down close with the macro lens and see what we can do so my first set up my first shot today
is going to be of Boba Fett and Han Solo in carbonite we’ve got little Carbonite
figure of Han Solo there and he’s actually a the little mini figure of Han
Solo’s are here nicely asleep in here not sure if you can see the his
expression but he’s sleeping quite peacefully in his Carbonite shell so
that is going to form the background of our portrait of Boba Fett he’s going to
be sat quite proudly in front of his bounty of of Han Solo so there’s
a–there’s Boba Fett in his armor and I’ve posed him just with a slight head
tilt off to the left so I can put his body facing away from us and then
looking towards the camera I’m then going to place him just slightly in front of
Han Solo and then we can talk about our lighting so I’ll just I’ll pop the
camera on so you can see exactly how these guys are posed so this is already
pretty close to the shot that I’m wanting to achieve I’ll just focus in
there now that we’ve moved the minifigures around and maybe just bring
Han Solo a little bit forward and you can see there that we’re actually reflecting
some orange light now that orange light is coming from the Adaptalux Studio
so here we’ve got to have the control pod on a mini tripod and in the control pod we’ve got plugged white lighting arm s so that’s our brighter
version of our normal white lighting arm that’s got a white diffuser on there
just to soften that light on their faces a little bit and on the other side we
have an amber lighting arm now I’ve not diffused that at all that’s just coming
straight out and but it’s positioned behind the two minifigures so if I put
this back in place you can see that we’ve actually got some some rim
lighting coming in on the back of Boba Fett’s helmet which just helps to
highlight that side of him pick it out from the background a little bit because
that side of his head is quite dark we’ve only got one key light we’ve got
the one white light coming in from the one side so that’s lighting of one side
of his face and picking out the detail whereas the the
orange the amber light is just adding a little bit of colored effect and that’s
goes the same for Han Solo in the background there I want him to be just a
little bit out of focus because the focus here is on Boba Fett he’s the one
that we’re taking the portrait of so I wanted to have most of the light on him
and then just a little highlight of orange just to make it a little bit more
Moody and interesting now there’s one last thing to add to this scene which I
think will make it a little bit more atmospheric and a little bit more of an
interesting shot and not just a shot of some Lego characters stood there it’ll
make it a little bit more cinematic and now I’ve got my hands on some atmosphere
aerosol which which comes from the guys at atmosphere aerosol you can you can
get these online for I think this was about 10 pounds and the ship all over
the world as well and it’s designed specifically for photographers so it’s
called a professional haze it’s really great for full-size portraits if you
want to add a little bit of atmosphere to that but it’s essentially just a just
an aerosol with some haze in it and it sits in the air for quite a while
actually and it’s really really handy for stuff like toy photography where we
can just spray this down make sure that we’re recording just spray this down in
front of our characters and you’ll see that it’s actually affecting that orange
light coming from the right hand side of the frame it’s making the lights a
little bit more hazy it’s adding a little bit more atmosphere and that cool
cinematic effect that we want so the one thing that you do need to make sure that
you don’t do with this stuff is to go full blast and move your subjects so
make sure that you’re nice and far away and that you’re not blasting them too
hard to either knock them over or move them out of position it’s also worth
noting that if you’re particularly Precious about your minifigures it does
leave a little bit of a wet residue on them so it might be worth giving them a
wipe after you’ve done some spraying of this aerosol I’m going to just fine-tune
this shot and then take my final image and move on to some
new minifigures For my next shot i wanted to well it seems that we’re
sticking with the villains a little bit I’ve got an emperor palpatine minifigure
here is an older model but it checks out so yeah I’m going to be getting a nice
little portrait of him with a couple of his Senate guard or I’m not sure what
they’re actually called though these these red dudes who linger around in the
background of a lot of the other shots in the movies I’m going to be getting a
really moody dark and very very evil shot to suit the Emperor’s personality
as it were the way I’m gonna do that is by using a red light so as I hit to
record on the camera you’ll see that we’ve got a nice red haze going on in
the background that’s again from well it’s actually just the leftovers of the
atmosphere spray but if you spray a bit more you’ll see that it just adds a
little bit more of that haze in there I’m going to experiment by letting that
dissipate a little bit and see what it looks like absolutely clear of all of
this haze that’s now hanging around it in my room and see whether I’m whether
or not I prefer it but for now let’s talk about the lighting that we’ve got
going on it so again I’ve got a single key light which is coming down from the
top which is a white lighting arm s with a diffuser on the front I wanted to get
that sort of classic look of the Emperor where his hood is actually shading the
top half of his face and making him look quite sinister and so to do that I’ve
got the the main light positioned directly above him and just a little bit
in front so that the light is actually casting a shadow across the lip of his
hood and then in the background I’ve got a red lighting arm which
is not only enhancing the Reds from those two characters in the background
but it’s also shining on to just a simple white card which is becoming a
nice reddish pinkish hue when the light falls on it so that’s providing us a
nice background if you remove that background entirely what you’re left
with is just black background because the the characters are lit so brightly
we’re exposing for the characters and not the background and there’s nothing
in the background there’s no lights over there so it’s going to be dark so that’s
an option as well that’s how we did our Boba Fett shot just have nothing in
the background exposed only for your minifigures in the light only your
minifigures make sure that no light spilled onto the background and you’ll
have a nice black background for this one though I think I’m actually
preferring this this red color I’ll take both and decide later I think so far
we’re managing to get some pretty cool shots and we’re not gonna need to use
any Photoshop at all so far so I’m pretty happy with that I’m going to
again just fine-tune this shot take my picture and move on again to some new
characters so for the next shot I wanted to do
something from the prequel movies and we’ve got General Grievous facing off
against obi-wan Kenobi the way that I want to do this is again not using any
photoshop and this is going to be tricky because we’re introducing lightsabers
here I don’t want to have to go into Photoshop and brighten up those
lightsabers so that they look like they’re glowing which is going to take
as you can see here a much more elaborate lighting setup let me walk you
through what we’ve got I want to get a much closer view of our protagonists
here or antagonist as it were and the the face on Grievous is quite nicely
detailed so I wanted to get really close to that next I wanted to light his
lightsaber so I’ve got a green lighting arm coming down on this side which is
not only lighting the tip of the lightsaber they’re making it nice and
bright but also providing that green glow on to Grievous’s body from the
lightsaber itself I’ve still got my key light over here which is diffused and
that’s giving us the white light on the other side of Grievous’s face the other
thing that I have is a second white lighting arm s coming in here with the
green lighting arm on its own shining on the lightsaber it’s not quite bright
enough at least it sort of matches the brightness of his face and of course the lightsaber should be much much brighter so I’ve got two lighting arms
focus solely on the tip of that lightsaber making it nice and bright
I then still have my background with my red lighting arm coming in slightly
repositioned so that it transitions from Red down in the right hand side of the
screen up to the top left where it’s dark so four lighting arms going at once
to create one mash up of lights on General Grievous here and we’re going to
do a similar thing with obi-wan Kenobi with his blue lightsaber and I’m going
to put blue in the background of his portrait and that blue and red combo is
something you see quite a lot in the movies they use it to denote the good
guys from the bad guys you’ll see it in a lot of the scenes where things are
turning bad things will go from nice light blues and suddenly become darker
and redder when the bad things are happening where the baddies are on the
screen so I wanted to recreate that and I’m going to do so by changing some of
these lighting arms around swapping the red for blue the green for blue as well
because everyone has a blue lightsaber here and then I’m going to maybe chop
these two scenes into one another so something particularly tricky with
obi-wan and his lightsaber here is that these lightsaber pieces they’re actually
completely transparent so they have the color to them but you can actually
see through them which means lighting them is really tricky you can’t you
can’t shine a light on them because the light passes straight through and it
still looks dark so what I’ve done here is actually light the background so that
the light shines through from the background on to our lightsaber now I’m
not totally happy with it because it still has a strange black outline to it
but I think this is as good as we’re going to get with the lightsaber itself
I’m pretty happy with the shot overall though we’ve got still got that nice
blue glow from the lightsaber on his face as opposed to the green from
Grievous’s lightsaber and then we’ve got the blue in the background as well I
think together these two shots are going to make a really cool little scene so we’re back to shooting baddies again
I’ve got Darth Maul out now and I wanted to try a different technique to get the
lightsabers looking right and so the last ones were okay but not quite
perfect this one I want to try the same technique that we use to light the
streetlamps in the last Lego shoot that I did and that’s using lasers to
light the translucent bricks that are the the blade of the lightsaber and
the light bulbs in the streetlamps I did have a go at that and it works pretty
well but for the same problem that those lightsabers are completely translucent
there’s not a lot of things inside there for the light to refract around on
and then make it look like the lightsabers are glowing the way that a
lightsaber should so I took a couple of shots like that but then I realized that
with this with this spray and the laser I can actually use the laser beam itself
to form the blade of the lightsaber so what I’ve done is I’ve turned out all of
the lights I’ve turned down my my main key light down to just I think one or
two percent there so that it’s really really dim and I’ve positioned my laser
which you can find it yet you can see there that we’ve got a laser it’s
pointed exactly down the end of the the lightsaber which I’ve taken taken the
blade out of Darth Maul’s lightsaber there and just positioning him so that
the blade of the lightsaber is in the same position as this laser is actually
pointing then I’m going to do a really long exposure using my my spray I’m
going to just spray so you can see the laser beam in the darkness and shoot for
maybe one or two second exposure that’s going to pick out that red laser beam
and just get enough light from that one or two percent from the key light two
light our image I think is gonna look really cool so I’m gonna take that
shot and I’ll show you in just a sec because I can’t show you on the camera
right now it’s too dark so for my last shot today
I wanted to do something a little bit different move away from the heroes and
villains and just on to the generic guys the stormtroopers and an
imperial officer as well so I’ve got three little guys here a couple of
different types of stormtrooper probably not very realistic you don’t really find
multiple types hanging around together but these are the models that I’ve got
so this is what I’m going to work with I’ve got a couple of these guys and an
imperial officer marching towards the camera and I wanted them to be shooting
their lasers their blaster rifles towards the camera as well so to do that
I’ve moved my lighting from the mini tripod and mounted it on the camera hot
shoes just using the basic hot shoe adapter that comes with the kit and what
that’s going to do is allow me to shoot two lasers so I’ve got two laser
lighting arms here one of which is a prototype which is why it looks a little
bit different but they are shooting right into the ends of their blaster
rifles I’ve also still got my little key light
down here which is still just on just a few percent because I’m going to do
another long exposure to capture those those lasers as I oh and there you go
there’s an example of why you don’t blast this stuff straight at your at
your models but you can actually see that the lasers are showing up really
really well when we when we use our aerosol and that’s going to make it look
really really cool as those lasers come towards the camera I’m gonna take this
shot and I’ll show you it in just a sec this stuff is really cool
I’ve really enjoyed using it for shooting these lasers and getting really
atmospheric shots as similar to how you see in the movies getting a little bit
of haze there in the background of our shots and even the foreground as well
just to make it a little bit more cinematic you do need to make sure that
you wipe everything down after you’ve used this stuff though because there is
a lot of residue left over on the models on the shooting surface even on the lens
of your camera it just takes a little wipe to get rid of it but if you don’t
notice that it’s there it might ruin some images for you later on even my
glasses are a little bit hazed up do make sure to open a window when you’re
using this stuff as well because if you’re if you have fire alarms smoke
detectors in your home everything does get a little bit hazy a little bit smoky
this room I’m not sure if you can tell on this camera but it is a little bit
smokier here than when I started I’m going to put two links down in the description
to to check out this stuff like I said it’s really cheap it’s made for
photographers and even if you’re not doing miniatures and toy photography
like I am it’s really cool to check out for portraitures and weddings and things
like that I’m really happy with the shots that I got today I was inspired by
all of the Star Wars hype that’s going on at the minute but I’m quite pleased
with the shots that I got of my old mini figures here maybe I’ll get some from
the new the new trilogy at some point and try those out but for now I’m pretty
exhausted on the nerd stuff hopefully has not been too tedious for the non
nerds at home and you still got some really interesting photography
techniques tips ideas and inspiration from this video if you’d like more of
all of that stuff make sure to subscribe and hit the bell button I’d like to know
what you think to today’s shoot down in the comments because I do plan on doing
a lot more toy photography Lego photography and shooting some more of
the stuff that I’ve got up on my shelves at some point so if you really liked
today’s video and like to see some more let me know
for now though guys thank you very much for watching and may the force be with
you

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