Attention to detail – creating a sense of a complete world

Attention to detail has never been my strong suit. It always seems to hinder my mad rush forward.

But a world without detail, even a very little world, starts to feel as if it’s floating in space – unanchored to time or place. So, I’m trying to force myself to slow down enough to get detail into scenes.

Here’s the evolution of one scene – the stranger reading the newspaper article that Frank and Rosie were looking at in her last episode.

The starting shot is my “just the facts, Mam” attempt. I take the pink coach from Daisy and Rosie’s living room, put it on top of the wood tiles from Rosie’s room, sit the stranger on the coach, and give her the newspaper:

It doesn’t get any more bare bones than this. it serves its purpose to convey the necessary info, but communicates absolutely nothing else.

So, I decide to at least give it some sense of place. I grab one of my Barbie dining sets, give her a cup of coffee (and, yes, that is real coffee in there), and a cookie from one of my Our Generation sets, and try again.

In my opinion, this is significantly better. I have some sense now of time (looks like it’s over breakfast) and place (probably some cafe). I could have added more detail by photoshopping it into a cafe scene, but I actually think that might have distracted from the important details.

I haven’t started my shoot of Lily and Daisy’s room – that’s on the schedule for today – but I do have their room set up. Here’s a picture of the setup:

I tried to put everything I’d used before in the shots, including Lily’s letters and photos, Daisy’s photo album, and the torn photography. I put Lily’s slippers under the bed, and gave them each something to look at. I gave Lily a cat and, although you can’t see them, I put Daisy’s suitcases from the last episode up on top of the wardrobe.

Lily’s room is still pretty barren – she seems like the kind of person who would have pictures on the wall and little things on the window sill. I may try to get those elements in for the final shot, just to fill out her character. Or I may get impatient and just start snapping photos 🙂

Some of this emphasis on detail comes from reading through graphic novels and noticing how complete some of the worlds are, but much of it comes from the sheer delight I’m finding in setting up the amazing detail of the Our Generation accessories. Here’s just a sample of what that world looks like:

In addition to the big new detail – hello, Aasta doll from Supiadollz – there’s just a ton of elements in here. Aasta has both a pot and a laddle. Amy has a guitar, as well as her notebook and pencils (maybe not visible in the shot :)), and Strawberry has one of those chemistry models and a stuffed elephant. In the background are a cookie jar (with cookies you can take out) and a bottle of soda. And there’s actually stuff in the refrigerator and under the sink (which you also can’t see in this shot). After a few days of setting up this stuff, any shot without details just seems really really empty.

This week I’ll be working on the stranger’s story, and what she can tell to help Daisy and Lily find Camellia.

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Ironing backdrops, or what I’ve done this week

Here’s what my to do list for this week looks like:

* Fix very front of hut for close-ups
* Add some items for inside the hut
* Iron out backdrop
* Rewatch citizen kane
* Work through next Photoshop chapter
* Read next Making Comics chapter

I haven’t gotten to the hut yet – what I want to do is weave some straw-like stuff into the structure to close up everything but the door – and I don’t think I’m going to end up adding elements to the inside – I may just hang some material over the door. I have both of those on schedule for today and tomorrow.

I switched Pyscho for Citizen Kane. I’m mainly looking at transitions and shots to see what I can learn. The overwhelming takeaway from Psycho, other than the wish that I could add sound to my comics, is that I’m not doing nearly enough with lighting. I play with it a bit during Camellia’s scenes, but the rest are pretty flat. That’s probably not something I’m going to fix right away, but it gives me another realm of learning to add to my list.

I talked about the Photoshop select and mask on Monday. The current chapter is text, which is another thing I haven’t added to my stories yet (except through captions). That dovetails nicely with the Making Comics chapter I just read, about the different roles that text and words can play. For some reason, I’ve really tried to stay away from words in the stories, other than to set the scene. I’m realizing that I’m going to need to get over that, and figure out how to merge them more gracefully into the story. That’s another learning for another day.

That leaves ironing the backdrop, which I did yesterday. I have vinyl-ish (and not muslin) backdrops, so I imagined that they’d melt it I put some steam on them. I followed the most protective instructions first, involving laying a damp towel over the top of them and ironing through the towel. But, I couldn’t see what I was doing, so eventually I took the towel off and just ironed directly on the damp backdrop. The first one I tried – the clouds in a blue sky that I use for Camellia’s scenes – weathered the ironing just fine.

Here’s the result:

A before shot

and an after

It’s still a little wrinkly, if you look at the whole thing

But it’s so much better than it was before.

And that’s my week. I still have two more shots to take – of the two women gathering the grasses and then weaving them into the hut – and then I’ll be ready for Friday’s episode.