Homework Week one

Hi everyone, 

Please post your finished revisions to your portfolio here by midnight on 2/13/14. 



  • Hello! Although I have many illustrations and models, I think that the most decent work I've done so far has been the final submissions for both Dan Luvisi's and Josh Herman's webinars (yes, this is my third SWSCA webinar in a row!). So I wanted to share this with you and know what you think of it.
  • Jorge - this is REALLY cool.  Love the composition, and it is VERY professional, so now, I'm going to be annoying and ask to see something that is 100% YOUR design.  You have the tools and the talent.  Show me what is in your imagination!
  • Here is a link to the pictures of a creature suit that we re-shot with better lighting in 2 settings this week with a lighting kit. One set with a plain background, another set with a textured background. If there wasn't a foot of snow on the ground outside we would have possibly chosen a different "textured" background. There are also 2 pictures from a earlier photoshoot of a earlier version of the suit in its "habitat".

    Any tips on good photo sharing sites to post our homework to, instead of Facebook?A website is in the works.

    Thanks for looking and  we'd love feed back! 

    Rob, Michael, and Nancy
    American Made Monster Studios Inc.
    Kingston, Ny

  • You can attach a file (bottom left of the comment box) and upload your file directly to us for the homework.


  • Cool monster suit, Rob/Michael/Nancy.  I think Flickr is your best general purpose photo sharing site.  You get 1 TB of storage space, and they automatically resize your photos into a number of useful dimensions.
  • I just realized that I posted on the wrong page.  I posted to the portfolio review page.  Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to delete it.  Should I just repost here?
  • Those photos are spectacular!  I love both the studio and the location shots!  In this instance, the one in the water with the lily pads is extremely effective!  Next time, crank up the smoke machine and throw in a little ambiance in!  GREAT WORK AMERICAN MADE MONSTERS!
  • Should the Lilly pad shot be the one that is the portfolio shot? Or should a full body picture acompany it?
  • Studio shot should be the main focus, the lily pad shot should accompany it.  That's my rule of thumb: If you want to show multiple shots of one piece this is what I find acceptable:

    1.) Shots of the sculpture
         a.) if it is a simple head, show shots front 3/4 (never directly at camera)
         b.) if it has something REALLY cool going on (horns, skull detail, etc.) a rear 3/4 photo
         c.) If it is a full body, get some shots of the full body sculpt as well as the head
         d.) If it has really interesting hand detail, a shot of that
    2.) Studio shots of the finished creature
         a.) This is so the paint job is featured, again a few shots of detail areas if the paint job is
    3.) "Location" shots
         a.) One or two shots of the creature on set, in the lighting it was filmed in, to show how it
              was used. (Hence, the fog machine comment)

    Let me explain my philosophy: Look at your portfolio the way you would be telling a story - You introduce your character (subject), and then reveal facts about them, and just when the viewer is getting tired of seeing the same thing over and over again, you hit them with a REALLY cool image of the character and then move on. Does that make sense? 

    A blunt way to say this would be: Kill your children.  I know you all fall in love with the stuff you create, but only show multiple shots if we are LEARNING SOMETHING NEW about it. 

    However, this does NOT mean...I repeat....does NOT mean that I don't want to see multiple photos as your instructor.  I do.  It helps me see what you are doing and yes, I'll make suggestions about what shots to use.  My above comments are about your portfolio. 

    I've illustrated below - You saw the Brontosaurus in the studio - I'd put a shot like this in to show its versatility:

  • So I put a bunch of craziness on the other board and realized it was the wrong place.  Keeping it simple, here's my site:  www.shellypinder.com.  I've revamped a bunch of stuff and have a friend helping me on the header (which will be changed very soon).  I'm off to work on a music video now, so I'll see y'all on Saturday! :)
  • I have updated my portfolio on my website and currently put it under portfolio2. I focused more on my own original designs and concepts. I am also working on my resume.

    I have also taken what you said into account and took some new shots with some ideas i had.

    The first few i was testing out the lighting and trying to incorporate my pieces into a background. Then the last pictures i thought about targeting a different audience and create an interesting composition with doing a blank kit to get model builders interested in a blank canvas ready to go. Then also doing a collectors showcase photo to spark some interest in collectors.
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  • Something else i wanted to share is some of the ideas i have been working on to expand my work into more ideas and products. 

    Here are my creatures that were originally done as kits used to recreate t-shirt designs which i just started this year and the molds i have re-used to also make my line of monster balls, which are a lower price point soft foam ball - mad ball inspired, which i started last year and have done well for me at shows.

    Something else i tested out for my new pics above was using a different backdrop. I wanted to find something that would give me something more than just a flat black backdrop and thought about using a fabric print i had. All i have is a Luis Royo print from a while back but searching online i found some interesting landscapes that i could incorporate into my photos and would work for smaller scale pieces.
    The last photo is a setup for the picture i took in front of the fabric print.

    Poster revolution - here is the site i found
  • Brian Dunn - Wow!  I really like the direction you've gone here.  Ready?  Lose pic three of the cat creature.  The other two are great and the third is murky.  Choose one of the other two photos, don't use them both (it's tough, I know).  But I LOVE the image!  So weird and creepy!  Sets a really good scene! Personally, I prefer the 5th photo of your demon rather than the 4th.  I love the angle, but if you have any good studio shots of the sculpt, don't be afraid to use those as well. The black light dragon picture is okay - I'd use a longer zoom lens so that the background goes more out of focus and become less distracting.  Love the DEZINE-DENIZEN you've created.  I think you would benefit from buying a square yard of black velvet. When you get the itch to photograph a work in progress, just throw the black velvet behind it (Johnny Ales doesn't like the black - you could just hang some brown craft paper instead) - The goal is to separate the subject from the background. 

    The green creature in the paneled room is VERY cool.  Love the sculpt and the paint.  I'm assuming this is its final resting place?  If it is, punch in closer and lose the overhead lights in the shot.  We want to focus on the subject for portfolios.  But I love the creature.

    Finally, your last group of photos tells me that you're looking to diversify and that is really important.  More than that, you've created your I.P. which I love.  The T-shirt idea is great and it looks cool.  Just know that time is money and you probably can have shirts silk screened for a fraction of what it costs to airbrush every single one.  Between us business people, my  Phantom Harbor 3-D shirts cost me about $4.50 per unit (shirt and screening) + $1 for the chromadepth glasses - I sell them for $20 + tax/shipping. Profit, baby, profit!  You have to value your time Brian, so when you are ready to have shirts made, just bite the bullet and spend the $500 or so.  It is a great asset to have.  Not only can you sell them, but you can give them in trade, or to people who assist you with projects for no pay - it's an awesome "thank you" gift.

    It's one of the best tools around to make people take notice.  Hey, nothing is better than seeing someone in the real world wearing one of your shirts.  Makes you feel all warm inside!

    LOVE the multi-colored Jokers - again, retake this on a piece of black velvet so it looks like a catalog shot!

    Great work Brian!  Really nice job!

  • Hey Shannon.  Our website host has not been very cooperative this week, but we have been updating the site and galleries "behind the scenes" and hopefully will be able to make the new pages live tomorrow.
  • Great!  Thanks Charles!  Can't wait to see new stuff!
    What about the rest of you?  Class day after tomorrow!
    Be there or be square!

  • Apologies for being a few minutes late!  You've seen my site reworking, but for the sake of keeping things together, here it is again: www.jasperjanderson.com

    And here's a new photo.  As I look at it in 2D, I can see the sculpture still needs work, but I'm liking the "Ales method" so far. LINK
    I have a few questions, too, based on rewatching last week's "episode."  

    Regarding the dummy:
    -You said you wanted to see something else I didn't send with the photos...later you said you'd like to see the sculpture, so I'm guessing that's what you were referring to the first time?  There actually wasn't a sculpture used on that one, except for the wound.  To cut down on the budget, I painted up gel-10 directly into the alginate lifecast  mold, and backed it up with soft polyfoam.  The wound was done as a flat mold and applied to the casting.  The innards were just built up.  If there were a sculpture, though, did you mean you'd put it on the portfolio page with the finished piece?
    -You said something about the dummy price point?  Was that going to be a recommendation for rental charges, or were you going to ask what I charged to make it?
    -You said you wanted to talk about hair work?

    Supposing you work at effects shops, when figuring out your expenses/rate for an employer, do you factor in the time between projects somehow?

  • Okay Jasper - You've asked a lot, and I'm going to answer you -

    First of all, the photo you sent is cool! I can see it is rather small and unfinished, but the lighting really adds interest and shows off the forms!  Can't wait to see this one completed.  Take photos of the sculpt and then the finished piece for your portfolio.

    Now -

    About dummies

    I commend you on your resourcefulness.  Going directly into the life cast is risky, especially when dealing with seam issues but it is quick, cut out about $1500 in extra expenses and the proof is in the final piece which is fantastic.

    I don't know what you charged them for making this dummy, but if an established company that I used to be associated with were to do the job, we would have charged @ $6500.  And that price would be based on the fact that there were pre-existing body molds, etc.  I don't know what you charged but the
    price I quoted is fair market price.

    I ask you about the hair work because it was pretty darned good, and adds to the cost of the dummy.  Even if you purchased a low-cost wig and styled it, the hairline should be hand punched and that takes time and time equals money.

    Finally, YOU should OWN this dummy.  Unless they were willing to pay $10,000 to out-right OWN it. You should have it back in your shop available for rent.  Now, this head and wound are VERY specific (which is why I would rather have had a mold of the head so that you could run another one - and if you silicone life cast mold is still in one piece - I'd run another one and paint it all up for your portfolio)

    My point is that I don't think you could rent this dummy without getting in trouble from the production company you made it for initially - that is, without CHANGING it 15% or only shooting it from the back.
    Then, do what you will.

    As for a rental price, this is what I'd do: Cleaning fee (that means cleaning off all of the existing blood and dressing it to be camera ready upon delivery) - $100.  Daily rental $500.  Weekly rental $1500 AND there should be a clause in your rental agreement that production will pay for any damage done to the dummy and you need to take a picture of the dummy all clean and ready to go and email it to production prior to its being picked up.

    If you need to change the hair or hair style, I'd add another $200.

    These are MORE than fair prices and the only way you'll get away with being so cheap is because you are starting out.  As you build your library of rental products start increasing your cost INCREMENTALLY. However, if you take care of your stock, store it well, it should be nothing but
    easy money and profit.

    Finally, we'll be talking about expenses and factoring "time in-between" both as an employee and an employer on Saturday.  If I forget to mention it, ask!  We have a lot to cover tomorrow.

  • edited February 2014
    Hi Shannon.  Most of my work this week has been dedicated to getting a better understand of who we are and more importantly what we do at BRS up on our website.  http://bluerealmstudios.com/services/ is now live although there is not a homepage link yet due to it still pending partner review.  My goal as far as the website for the next few weeks is to refine the service categories and allow easy navigation between each one.  We are also currently brainstorming products such as Blue Realm merch and rentable costumes/props to put up in a storefront.
  • I'll say it in one word: OUTSTANDING!

    Charlie - I LOVE this page...It shows, very clearly that you have the skills to take a project from conception to execution skillfully!  WOW!  So impressed.  Makes me want to make a STARSHIP TROOPERS type movie and shoot it in Texas! 

    Congratulations!  Excellent work.

  • edited February 2014

    I think it's about time for another STARSHIP TROOPERS anyway! Brought to you by Shannon Shea, StudioADI, and introducing Blue Realm Studios ;)

  • Don't joke about stuff like that Charlie - What's the expression?  From your mouth to God's ear?

  • I posted my site link above, but haven't seen any response regarding it, so here it is again in case it got mixed up in the rest of the posts.  :)


    I made a ton of changes and am in the process of designing a new header with the help of a friend. 

    I also had a chance to meet with Charlie at his studio today and I definitely see some collaborations in our future.  He had so many fun toys!  :)
  • I took a look and it is improved and certainly to the point!

    I think you could stand a BIT of editing.
    Again, I'd rather see 5 OUTSTANDING things than
    30 pretty good things.  I understand that you get a lot of work
    doing injury makeups and if that is what you want to pursue, then
    make it the absolute focus of your site.  HOWEVER, blood gags are like
    magic tricks - it's better to see them happen then to just see the elephant that
    appeared on stage.  Think VIDEO links.  You can upload videos on youtube and
    make them private - link the video to your page so clients can see the magic trick.

    Also, you have a photo of a makeup you did on Lance Henriksen - THAT should be the icon slide
    for your character makeup sub-menu.  Most industry people have heard of Lance - so use his
    celebrity to up your stock!!!

    Great work!


  • Shelly, did you see the photo of the homemade oven working???
    Again, this is ILLEGAL, but it kind of looks like this:
  • Everybody ready for tomorrow?
    I've had a rough day today so let's all play nice tomorrow, okay?


    See you in the morning (or whatever time it is for you, Peter!)

  • ONE LAST THING - Peter Cooper....you are like the JEWEL OF THE EMERALD ISLE!
    I go to your blogsite and I start looking around and I got confused, then, once I sorted it out, my reaction was HOLY CRAP!  THAT IS COOL!

    So, again, what does Peter Cooper need to learn?  Peter Cooper needs to put a website together that doesn't look like a discussion board and looks more like an artist looking to attract clients.

    Your work is EXCELLENT!  I especially like the digital Gwangi....we must talk Peter Cooper....

    See you tomorrow.

  • Thanks for the feedback and I'll make some of your suggested edits.  I do have video links to some of my work, but I haven't edited them down to just the key points.  Putting a reel together is definitely on my to-do list.

    The oven is cool and I'm going to hold off for now.  We live in a rental and don't need the headache.  I'm hoping to have an actual studio sometime within the next couple of years and I'll revisit the idea then.

    AAaaannd....I got a working webcam, so you guys get to see my shining face tomorrow.  :)
  • YAY!!!!  Shelly, I've been thinking about what it is about your site that confuses me and I've come to this conclusion - It's not the work, it is the way that it is organized.  Okay, let me try to be clear.  For example: the face/body painting section is a strange thing to feature next to casualty makeups and prop bleeding weapons.  I'd almost divide my opening page with large color-coded fields that would lead the visitor to the specific service they are seeking.  So, for example, your header would say something like: Shelly Pinder, your one-stop destination for all of your makeup needs (or some such). Then beneath it you would have: Motion Picture/Television, Fashion and Live Events, Props and Other Services, and one day, soon Generic Prosthetics for Sale.  That way, your clients can go to your site, navigate to the area they are interested in and you can sell to them specifically.  I know it seems like extra work, but I'm trying to streamline what you have so that it is visually pleasing. Just a suggestion. 
  • Yeah, it's been a challenge trying to differentiate between the filmmakers and the consumers (I used to list bridal makeup, but I took it out because I hate doing it).  What it I made two portal options?  "Click here if you're a filmmaker", "Click here if you're a consumer"....something like that?  Let me mull it over a bit and see what I can come up with.  I think I need to just start from scratch as opposed to adjusting what's already there.
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