Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mega64 Video

(img source: komica)

The above image is pretty much my impression on one of the funny videos from Mega64. The team from this well-known gaming blog/forum occasionally film themselves dressing up (and acting as) video game character in public places. Usually making people annoyed and sometimes getting themselves arrested. Other than just this group of (silly) gaming fans sometimes you might even see famous guests such as Hideo Kojima in their videos. From the couple of videos I saw it seems like San Diego is one of their favorite cities to film their video. ^^;;

While dressing up in costume and disturbing people in public is not what "cosplay" is about (no, not at all), you might still find some of their video funny if you are a gaming/costuming fan. I personally found these video a little disturbing because this is exactly the type of things that give ACG* fans a bad reputation. Oh well, maybe it's just me XDD
*Anime, Comic, Game

RE4 merchant is not quite a good career in San Diego (especially near Costco XD)

If you just want a laugh and/or just wanna see how crazy gaming fans can get I'd recommend checking out some of their videos. You can find some of their videos on their YouTube channel: here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Photographer - the Sartorialist

(image source: http://morningcup.wordpress.com)

Couple names always come up when we talk about fashion photography - Nigel Barker, Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, etc... The wonderful works from these world famous fashion photographers defined the look of fashion photographs in our time. Teaming up with world-class models, makeup artists and fashion designers they portrayed an extremely glamorous world of fashion that is more a fantasy than reality. Their extremely creative take of fashion photography also gives some of us an impression that fashion photographs have to be "loud" in order to be noticed by the general public.

Truth is, fashion doesn't have to mean loud. Scott Schuman, aka. the Sartorialist, takes a totally different approach in fashion photography. Instead of following the big trend of creating an unreachable fashion fantasy he decided to shoot most of his fashion work on the street with "real people" he saw everyday. As a photographer who really know fashion, he knows what is "IN" and he captures what is really attractive to the viewers. His back-to-basic approach put *fashion and style* as the main focus of his image which is sometimes not the case in today's fashion photography.

The Sartorialist Book (image source: http://www.selectism.com)

Being listed as one of Time magazine's top 100 design influencers, Schuman is now a frequent contributor of GQ Magazine. This year he published a book with some of his favorite images. His signature street-style photo made this book a really great reference of today's fashion. If you are a fan of fashion I'm sure you'll find the images in this book very inspiring. ^___^)

The Sartorialist official site - http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 14, 2009

Underwater Photography

I was discussing with my buddy Muze and Tony the other day about underwater photography. Muze was studying the possibility of bringing cosplay photography underwater and all of us suggested a favorite underwater photographer. Here are the 3 awesome photographers we were looking at that day:

Elena Kalis - elenakalisphoto.com/

(image source: www.preik.no)

Alix Malka - alixmalka.com

(image source: look.thecubie.com)

Zena Holloway - zenaholloway.com/zena.html

(image source: musaranias.files.wordpress.com)

They are really great photographers! I really enjoy seeing how they each handle underwater photography with their own unique execution/vision. Loving their works BIG TIME!!

Can't wait to try out underwater photography some day ^__^)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

18+ Anime Convention?

This poster pretty much summed up yoai-con... not really XD (image source: komica)

If you are not too familiar with the cosplay circle you might be surprised to learn that there are actually 18+ anime conventions out there. Yaoi-Con which takes place in San Mateo, CA on the October 30 - November 1, 2009 is one of these conventions. The theme of this unique convention is "yaoi"*. It is an anime convention for "fans with an interest in yaoi-related anime, manga, and other aspects of Asian culture." (wikipedia)

*Yaoi(やおい) is a popular term for female-oriented fictional media that focus on homoerotic or homoromantic male relationships, usually created by female authors (wikipedia)

Due to the adult nature of this convention, the registration process of Yaoi-Con is a little different from your usual anime conventions. Other than the regular online form and payment, pre-registration requires an extra mailing of a photocopy of your proof of age. At-con registration/badge pickup also requires a mandatory picture ID check. You will be given a bracelet upon getting your badge and you are supposed to wear this bracelet throughout the entire 3-days convention. In case you lost your bracelet you'll have to pay a rate of $60 to have it replaced.

A Ulquiorra cosplayer from Yaoi-Con 2007. Highlighted is the bracelet.

Although the theme of this con might not be something you are interested in, however, IMO this is one of the best conventions in CA for photographing cosplayers. The location is extremely photography-friendly. With some pretty nice indoor and outdoor locations to work with (if you are not planning to get away from the con-center). It is also a great chance to see costumes from series that are totally unheard of (assuming you are not a Yaoi-fan). Overall it is a totally different experience from attending bigger cons such as Anime Expo and SDCC.

For more information about this convention check out the official website: here
Location of the con: Marriott San Mateo-San Francisco Airport

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Who is Ayanami Rei?

Ayanami Rei Cosplay
Ayanami Rei, cosplayed by Anh (click for large image)

Across the whole anime universe(?) there are two characters that give me huge headache when it comes to photoshoot concept. They are Ayanami Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Goku from Dragon Ball. They are two very popular, almost mainstream, anime characters that everybody know even if they are not particularly into anime, comic or game. I've seen them so many times over the years that seeing them anywhere hardly trigger my creativity anymore.

I used to be a fan of Evangelion and I am planning to do an Evangelion shoot later this year/early next year so I really have to know the characters. So I read the manga, re-watched the 26-episodes TV series, the first movie "Death-and-Rebith", the classic "The End of Evangelion" and the new movie Evangelion 1.0 movie "You are (Not) Alone". Now I think I have a nice idea about most of the character but still... I have a hard time coming up with a concept for Rei.

I think the main difficulty is she is sooo well known that there is no ONE Rei. Every person have a different perception on this character. If you google for images of this character you'll notice throughout the years people had portrayed her as sad, happy, sexy, mean, friendly... etc. There is no one image of Rei that everybody agree upon.

Despite all those perceptions from others, I think Rei is a little creepy, to say the least. She is this very pale, emotionless girl almost always being seen wearing all these heavy bandages and yet we have never seen scars or even hints of wounds on her... really I mean, does it even make sense...?

It's almost as if she's not a human being.

Thanks to my friend Anh for being the awesome undoing-bandages-Rei! ^__^)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Say you hate Photoshop

A cosplay image before-and-after retouching. (image source: komica)

I was looking at some amazing before-and-after shots of celebrities on this funzblog article and it reminded me we have the thing in the cosplay circle too.

Digital photography makes PP (post-processing) of photos so much easier. Photographers no longer need a fancy darkroom to edit their image. Most photographers these days PP their own images after shooting. The degree of processing ranges from minor exposure/color adjustment to major retouching of the model's skin/bodyshape/face etc.

Although most of the time the photographer did the processing. However, if a job wasn't well done most often the cosplayers get the blames. Cosplayers certainly don't want a reputation of "over-shopping" their faces. That's why so often you will see people arguing violently on cosplay.com and other forums about PP and cosplay photo.

Photo retouched by master photo retoucher Amy Dresser (image source: photoshopblog.net)

Do realized that post-processing is a necessary part of the creative process. Telling your photographer to not process your images will greatly limit the creative potential of the shoot. However, if you do have concerns on the degree of processing the photographer might apply to your photo by all mean you should
discuss with your photographer about it.

Another thing you can do is to talk to your photog to see is it possible to get a copy of the unedited images along with the edited photographs. Be sure to talk to your photographer before editing any of the unedited images as there might be a particular look/style they want in all of their photo and you might ruin their reputation if you didn't do a great job on the editing.

That's about it, happy photoshopping (or not) XD!