16 January 2014

More Newly Cropped and Sharpened Images. . .

A group of Austrian engineer officers, in various versions of their uniform, argues about the possibility of bridging a nearby rushing river.

After supper and the Young Master's bedtime yesterday evening, I withdrew to Zum Stollenkeller with a fresh mug of black coffee, and fooled around for an hour with editing several photographs of figures (mostly by Minden along with a few select RSM95 castings painted during the last couple of years) and Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.

While my own view is that you shouldn't mess too much with the original image files, which risks making them look nothing like the actual painted figures themselves, Photoshop Elements is wonderful for cropping the pictures of your miniatures, sharpening them, plus fixing minor color and lighting problems without too much trouble.  

Ideally, however, it's still best to take the best photos you can to begin with, which will reduce the amount of editing and fiddling necessary.  By the way, there is a wonderful section in Henry Hyde's recent book The Wargaming Compendium (2013) -- If you have not already done so, find, splurge a bit, and purchase this book.  You will not regret it. -- all about how to take much better digital photographs of our collections.  Henry's explanation of this somewhat daunting subject is a great deal clearer, more to the point, and more useful than much of what you'll find online when you do Google searches for information about 25-30mm miniature photography.

Anyway, here are several of the photographs that I manipulated a little bit last night before shutting off the computer and retiring to bed for a few hours of reading.  All were taken with rather bad lighting, well before it occurred to me last month that I needed a lightbox for this kind of thing.  But, with some version of Photoshop Elements or another and just a few simple clicks, it's possible not only to crop and enlarge existing pictures, but you can also salvage otherwise poor photographs and improve the quality of what shows up on your blog or website immeasurably.  

My next task is to figure out how to use the blasted timed shutter feature on my cameras, to reduce and avoid the inevitable slight shake when pressing the shutter button with my finger.  But these darn user manuals might as well be written in some version of Ancient Greek because rarely can I make heads or tails of them!

-- Stokes

A couple of Austrian officers  exchange words, while a nearby Croat shelters behind a broken down cannon and picks off an unseen enemy.  I used Photoshop Elements to reduce the amount of shadow that was present in the original, unaltered photograph, which brought the mounted officer in the background into much better focus.  The groundwork also became much more visible. 

A swarm of RSM95 and Minden Croats emerge from the edge of an enchanted wood one bright, sunny morning in July of 2012.

Two small Croat vignettes, entitled "Take That You Cretin!" (left) and "Brother, Can You Spare a Kreuzer?"(right).

"I say!  Do you chaps know where I can find a good pair of riding boots by John Lobb?"  The Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II (in crimson velvet) and Hives interrupt a couple of Prussian officers, who are trying to determine which way is up on their map.

An alternate shot of the same Croat swarm shown above.

The lone Eureka figure in the bunch, Grenadier Schultz [Thanks for the reminder, Stefan!] guards an anonymous crate.  Unbenownst to him,  it is actually a portable escritoire produced by The Bombay Company and available at the better department and home furnishing stores in Riga, Memel, Koenigsberg, Danzig, and Berlin.

"But you see, the thing about heavy cavalry is. . . "  Von Seydlitz explains the differences between parade ground drill and actual use on the battlefield to ol' Frederick II.

 Here's an oldie but a goodie from before I began using oils in a big way.  It's the Leib (Grand Duchess Sonja's Own) Grenadiers, completed in March-June of 2007, using  mostly Games Workshop acrylics although the flesh, metallic mitre cap bits, musket barrels, and bayonets were done with oils.  This particular photo was taken in January of '08, but I've cropped it, sharpened the image, fixed the colors, and corrected the colorcast to produce this edited version of the original picture.  Not too bad.  I only wish I had done these figures in oils.

 Last but not least, here is the Regimental Sergeant Major, the fabled Oberfeldwebel Lebrecht Klatschen, a test figure painted in February of 2007 that was given the same Photoshop Elements treatment as the whole unit above just to see what might happen. 


Stepehen Sommerfield's book The Saxon Army of the Austrian War of Succession and the Seven Years War (2011), another late Christmas gift courtesy of good ol' Mom, finally arrived in the mail earlier this afternoon.  A well-formatted, nicely illustrated, and information packed 192 pages.  Well worth the wait, and I am eager to curl up in bed with it after a bit of painting this evening following the usual evening and bedtime routine with the Young Master.  

By the way, he has really taken to his castle that Santa Claus/Father Christmas brought him last month.  In fact, yours truly was even conned into ordering him some additional Safari LTD knights, a tube of Safari dragons, as well as a tube that contains a king, queen, prince, princess, a warlock, and a witch.  As I told him when we opened the packages before suppertime yesterday evening, "A boy can never have too many knights, dragons, and other characters for his castle."  

You can find these Safari LTD figures on Amazon.com.  The company also produces small ranges of ACW  and Amercian Revolutionary figures.  Perfect for the boys in our lives, or those boys still residing within many of us.  Check 'em out!  These wonderful medium-hard plastic figures are all nominally 1/32 scale, or something akin to 54mm figures, are realistic looking, and inexpensive.  A good way, perhaps, to introduce a son, nephew, grandson, or the young son of adult friends to military history and wargaming. 

In any case, we had a blast last knight, er, um, night before bedtime playing on the floor in his bedroom with what the Young Master now refers to as Hasenpfeffer Castle and the Barony of Hasenpfeffer.  The Barony is ruled over by one Black Johannes, a dark gray IKEA stuffed mouse, who is about 5" in length and sits permanently in one of the castle's corner towers and watches over our play. . .  making notes on his clipboard and puffing silently on his meerschaum pipe.   If Black Johannes ever actually speaks to me, I'll be more than a little worried.  However, I'm reasonably sure that such an occurrence would hardly phase the Young Master.


Peter Douglas said...


You've been knocking them out of the park on your recent posts, both with the figures and the photos.

It's taking a load of resistance not to order in a schwack (excuse the technical term) of those Old School SYW figures.

Well done sire,

Stryker said...

They look truely superb!

Are you planning on rebasing your regular troops in the same style?

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Thank you, Peter! Go on. . . Make up an order! You know you want and need some Minden, Fife&Drum, or RSM95 figures.

Best Regards,


Old School ACW said...

Hi Stokes,

I adore your treatment of the whites on those officers coats. So lush.

I managed to miss thos eCroats. they look outstanding. As for the Leib Grenadiers... I always liked them very much, oils or no. So, if you cannot abide them, I will remove them from your sight forthwith.



Peter Douglas said...

You are an evil man.


Old School ACW said...

A PS to your own, Stokes. I too receives Summerfield's (Oh, I keep wanting to call him "Sommerfeld", I do) book today and am likewise anticipating a fine time browsing away.


Paul Robinson said...

Great pieces of work there Stokes.
Never let anyone constrain a childs imagination - it can be, and usually is, a wonderful thing.

Springinsfeld said...

Excellent work, I still like the pre-oil look as well. As for Black Johannes, his name still strikes terror in the hearts of the children of Trompenburg ("Get into bed now, or Black Johannes will come for you.").

Scheck said...

Fantastic work - your output of painted figures is stunning! Bravo!


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