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Photography: Kirigiri Kyouko

Photobucket trolling =( Gotta wait till 1st March for pics to be restored, monthly bandwidth reached.

Konnichiwa minna-san~ It’s me again, and my articles on my figure photography works. If you have read my past couple of posts you’d already know what to expect here. There’s nothing special actually, regarding today’s topic – Kirigiri Kyouko. Pretty much a very similar method was used to take her photos, as I did with many of my other figures. Hence, probably the important part about my articles isn’t really the How-To’s when it comes to photography techniques, but how I get ideas for backgrounds of my figures.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/DSC_2414RC_zpsd4278f46.jpg

This article is based on this photo of Kirigiri Kyouko:
PICTURE #1162764


As far as Phat’s Kirigiri Kyouko is concerned, she’s an average figure. Well, above average I suppose. While I read quality-control related complaints about her in her thread, mine had none. But the table and the chair definitely felt cheap and flimsy, and scarily fragile. At 10,000yen RRP, which is below average in today’s standards (heck, great figures are hitting 14,000-18,000yen range easily), you can’t really complain much – especially when you can find her at 7000-8500yen price range in some sites. I did watch Danganronpa and loved her, so when I saw Phat making her I knew I needed one – and I actually predicted that this will probably be the only decent Kyouko scale figure out there, so I mustn’t miss it – regardless of how the final product will be. At least it’s not Griffon, right?

Ideas & Concepts

Naturally, I had to rewatch a bit of the series to refresh my memories. The artwork and setting (background) of the series is very simple, to the extent I would say it’s plain and lacking details (I’ve seen worse, like Madoka). Of course, I ain’t judging a series by the quality of its animation alone, but when it comes to getting ideas on how I design the backdrop for a figure, it’s important. And then in Danganronpa you have all kinds of venues from the gym and assembly hall to the cafeteria, bedroom, library, Principal’s office, etc., albeit all of them are within school compounds.

I would have liked the principal’s office as the background, but a warm white lighting and that green/red curtains in the back spells disaster if you put Kyouko into a setup like that. The colors will not go well together. And then I had to remind myself that not every one of my figures need to have their photos taken with a background designed after an exact scene in the series.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/scene01_zpsb2f41f2e.jpg

The best method is to combine bits of various scenes into one single setup, while adding elements that pays homage to the series she originated from. When you look at Kyouko’s nickname, Super Detective of some kind who is always thinking on solving that murder case, the best way to represent her character in a photo is to make her seem mysterious. Creating that ideal environment and aura in the photo that describes her character indirectly is what I am looking for. In fact it’s one of the main factors I take into consideration when I plan the photos for almost every single one of my photos. If a figure is in a very fancy dress, or a cheerful personality (and also depending on the color palette), the figure shall go with a bright or warm setup, or even outdoors; and then there will be cases when a figure should go with dark scenes, or cold colors because it’s the most appropriate. You don’t really have to play the game/LN or watch the anime the character originated from – you will be able to tell what kind of character the figure represents judging from the face expression, pose, theme, and the color palette; you might not be 100% correct but you can guess a lot correctly.

I simply couldn’t make myself to defy the personality traits of an anime character represented by the figure and give it a background that doesn’t really match the personality of the character (even though the final photo is a decent one). Like this one below here. I shot it just outside my campus’ library during a cloudy evening.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/scene02_zps9a381f64.jpg

To be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to say the photo above is a good photo, although many of my friends say otherwise. The location I selected, the angle I chose, it’s a good one. But when look beyond what a photo comprises of visually – the composition, the lighting, the focus, the subject(s), the background, etc. - the fact that Kyouko comes from Danganronpa, where everyone is locked up in a campus with no escape routes, indoors, and made to kill each other, this photo suddenly looks out of place, or doesn’t make sense in some way. “There is no way such a character with such a background can be placed outdoors. It simply looks out of place.” That’s what I told myself. It’s just the way I view figures and their photos, my very own kind of perspective, and I might have limited my potential by being this ‘narrow minded’, but at the same time it’s because of seeing things from this kind of perspective I created my own brand of figure photography. Kyouko is one example of a figure I will almost never shoot her photos outdoors if I want to shoot a batch of proper photos, unless I just want to take photos of any figures casually as a practice, i.e. not a serious shooting session.

So, back to the point where I mentioned “combine bits of various scenes into 1 single setup and pay homage to the series she came from”, here’s what I picked:

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/scene03_zps36c668f6.jpg

This intro/title scene here that begins with each episode, I took note of the wood texture (1) behind monokuma, and then there’s the library (2), the assembly hall (3) which Kyouko’s base is designed after, (4) the fact where most windows and routes of escape are sealed and secured with large bolts and screws…

and the unique trademark of this series , where people bleed pinkish violet blood because red is too mainstream.

View spoilerHide spoilerhttp://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/scene04_zps714c87a4.jpg

Building The Props

So, with all those points taken, time to get down to work. The rear wall and the floor are new parts, while everything else in the background are reused from parts I used in my older figure shoots.

The wall here is pretty much a Styrofoam board with 2 window gaps cut out, and having strips of compact foam nailed to it while being stacked on each other on one end, so that the “wood” planks slant inwards on one end.
After that it’s all detailing and painting.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/20141201_183059_zps58f5fc47.jpg

1. Compact foam is smooth on the surface.
2. Pen knife is used to scar and scratch the surface and corners of the compact foam parallel to the length of each ‘plank’.
3. Single thin layer of medium brown sprayed.
4. Handbrush darker shade of brown irregularly over the previous medium brown primary layer, with undiluted acrylic paint.

And you get what looks like a worn out wood texture – I used the same method in constructing the door and window of Asuka’s diorama (which I didn’t post any article about it).

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/DIYwall_zpsf9b739ad.jpg

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/20141201_230617_zpsaa87af56.jpg

The windows are also made from compact foam glued and/or nailed together and painted white – which will give good contrast to the dark scene by being brighter in color.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/20141201_215429_zps34db40ed.jpg

And white makes it easier for me to “pay homage” to the original series Kyouko came from – by splashing some pink blood on it. Well, the giant wooden bolts are there for the same reason. When the background is white, a bright color like pink-violet will be able to stand out even better. I simply mixed water colors, loaded them into a syringe and fired it against the window so that there is a splash effect.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/20141205_190343_zps21ca3516.jpg

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/20141205_191516_zpsd78b4285.jpg

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/20141205_195304_zps84ff4e37.jpg

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/DSC_2423R_zps1c8fdfd2.jpg

The floor simply involves tracing Kyouko’s base on a Styrofoam board and compact foam as well, and then that circle with a flat side cut out so that Kyouko’s base will fit in exactly. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s always finding ways to get rid of a figure’s base because they are an eyesore in photos. If I can’t get rid of it, I will either hide it, or blend it with my diorama (like the case for Kyouko here).

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/kyoukofloor_zpsb9b8e3f2.jpg

So, Kyouko’s base was pushed into the circle I cut open. I had the floor spray painted in a shade as close as possible to Kyouko’s base in color, and the carved lines (with a pen knife) will be continous from Kyouko’s base, i.e. to blend her base into my setup.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/20141201_202433_zps2859abee.jpg

The rest – the school tables you see in the dark background, were first made and used back in my shot of Yatogami Tohka from Date a Live. I simply wanted to create a messy-look in the background, and complimenting Kyouko’s pose where she is already leaning on one such table.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/DSC_2424R_zpsdc481e21.jpg

PICTURE #1080022
http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/EXkurogane1408680044.jpeg

The book shelf and the contents were first used in Konjiki no Yami’s photo (well, the library point I mentioned in the Ideas section above is why I threw in a book shelf here).

PICTURE #1057787
http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/EXkurogane1406260363.jpeg

I wanted a cluttered/messy look with a dark scene trying to imply that Kyouko was scavenging around some stuff and/or a crime scene looking for clues. That’s the main idea of the setup, while adding elements original to the Danganronpa series like the pink blood and the large bolts on windows.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/DSC_2422R_zps3195ccff.jpg

Lighting & Composition

Again, it’s one of the usual methods and combinations I use. A limited/blocked and diffused main light with a deflector on the other side, and backlight comes in for the windows. And then I added in the rim light with a hand-held LED unit to highlight specific areas of the figure for creating eye-catching highlights over dark areas like the figure’s head and hair, knee and leg. This rim light works in a way it seems like there is a moonlight leak in the (broken) ceiling and roof. The composition is also of the same exact method I used in Frau Koujiro’s shot. So, that's all for this article. Thank you for reading =)

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/KyoukoLighting_zpsa01c0031.jpg

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/KyoukoLighting2_zps33954f0e.jpg

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y352/EXkuroganeII/KyoukoCompo_zps486fd135.jpg

http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/EXkurogane1417839801.jpeg
    5,757 hits • 10 comments

    10 comments

    0pt
    Old article, but holy shit that's amazing work! I aspire to be as good as you some day xD
    1 year ago
    0pt
    lonesomefolly (2 years ago) #2500063That one jackass who clicked uninteresting... this was such an interesting read even if you don't apply it.

    EXkurogane (2 years ago) #2500097lol, dont mind him/her.
    I had experience with blogging so i know how to compose a decent article. I stopped blogging because i hated dealing with the bugs of my blog which was custom designed, and i dont have that commitment to keep it updated regularly - like at least 1-2 posts each week.
    Whoever that is, he/she went and clicked on the uninteresting button in every one of my past articles, including Frau Koujiro's article (which is undoubtedly my best figure photo if i based on ratings received).


    There is this general troll here which gives every article with a rating system an uninteresting, so whenever I also upload something myself I try to ignore that one uninteresting vote as it doesn't really counts. ;)
    2 years ago
    0pt
    His work with the photos is amazing . Congratulations . very, very good.
    2 years ago
    0pt
    lonesomefolly (2 years ago) #2500063That one jackass who clicked uninteresting... this was such an interesting read even if you don't apply it.

    lol, dont mind him/her.
    I had experience with blogging so i know how to compose a decent article. I stopped blogging because i hated dealing with the bugs of my blog which was custom designed, and i dont have that commitment to keep it updated regularly - like at least 1-2 posts each week.

    Whoever that is, he/she went and clicked on the uninteresting button in every one of my past articles, including Frau Koujiro's article (which is undoubtedly my best figure photo if i based on ratings received).
    2 years ago
    0pt
    That one jackass who clicked uninteresting... this was such an interesting read even if you don't apply it.
    2 years ago
    0pt
    Great job !
    2 years ago
    0pt
    Very informative as usual. Thanks for sharing and congrats on your work.
    2 years ago
    0pt
    DonkeyBlonkey (2 years ago) #2499257Initially, I realized most of your photography follows the rule of thirds which is an excellent tool for positioning in not just photography alone but any art related medium. Upon scrolling down you bring it up and explain the rule of thirds.
    vignette4.wikia...


    Yes, most of them do follow rule of thirds up to a certain extent, but there will be cases when it's not applicable in a practical sense. Figures like Miku, some of them have their twintails swinging wide (Good SMile's like Miku Racing 2011) that it's almost impossible to keep the figure slightly on one side of the photo unless you want the figure to occupy less area of the photo.
    2 years ago
    0pt
    Initially, I realized most of your photography follows the rule of thirds which is an excellent tool for positioning in not just photography alone but any art related medium. Upon scrolling down you bring it up and explain the rule of thirds.

    vignette4.wikia...
    2 years ago
    1pt
    Spectacular… great job
    2 years ago