We kick off this weeks look at Eastern Pop Culture within the Toy Photography community by way of a special feature from Daniel Evan @decadroid8 as he takes us through an exclusive shoot based on Japanese icon Ultraman.

Eastern Week Exclusive Photoshoot
Daniel Evan

It’s an honour for me to be invited by the Exclu Collective to participate in Exclu’s Eastern influence and anime week. I think the most suitable eastern figures are based on the Japanese Tokusatsu  tv series (any Japanese live-action film or television drama that features considerable use of special effects). There are a lot of Tokusatsu series that were aired on television, such as Masked Rider, Ultraman, Metal Heroes, Super Sentai, Godzilla, etc. Some of them were aired in my country when I was a child, and I think the most memorable shows are the Masked Rider and Ultraman series.
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There are lot of Kamen Rider toy photos these days, but few of  Ultraman. So, for the Exclu’s Eastern week, I’m trying to make the Ultraman related toy photos.

After rewatching the Ultraman series, I have an idea to recreate a scene where an Ultraman appeared at sunset to battle a monster. But, because my figure is just a statue, I can’t make battle scenes! So, to make these shots I needed to make the background first. I’m using Soft-box for the reference. The background was made with an unused shoe box were I cut the box’s centre area rectangular and I placed a sheet of paper on the cut out.

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Then, I placed a led lamp behind the background, so the light can fill the paper properly (just like a softbox). So in the tv series, Ultraman is a giant man, but my figures are just about 11cm in overall so I need to make the figures looks like a giant on this photo. So I placed some rocks around the figure, it will make hill or mountain like scenery and the Ultraman figure will look like a giant. There were some difficulties on making these photos such as the lightning were too bright, the figure became a silhouette, flares everywhere. After some shots I finally found the right setting for the camera and I keep photographing them with the same setting.

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I’m pretty satisfied with the unedited photo. But I thought that wasn’t enough, so after I took that, I processed it on Adobe Photoshop and made the figure darker because if it’s a sunset photo then the object must be darker than the sunset’s light (silhouette-like). After I made the figure darker with lighting adjustments, I thought it would be more suitable if I lit up the eyes and the colour just like on the television series.

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And, because when I took the photo with the background with plain white light, I added my old sunset landscape photograph and pasted it behind the Ultraman figure. Then I added some flares around the figures to make it more realistic because if we capture an object and behind it there were sun there will be some flares around the object. So, that’s how I made these Ultraman shots. It will be greater if there were some buildings around it, but unfortunately I don’t have it yet.

Buildings or no buildings we love this series and it really goes to show how a few simple objects can be combined to create a really inspiring and powerful series of images where the character of the subject really shines through. A fantastic way to start Eastern week here at Exclu so a huge thank you to Daniel for working on such a great shoot!

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