12 superb toy images with no AI

There may be a whole lot of AI artwork on the market and lots of superb digital creators, however we wished to pay homage to create artwork in-camera. (Even when a little bit of Photoshop is concerned). What can be a greater manner than utilizing toys to take action? Being small and wonderous, you possibly can create total universes with toys and inform superb tales.

This is the reason a couple of weeks in the past, we began our Toy pictures contest with Zhiyun, our sponsor, and two superb judges: Anna Bitanga, a.ok.a 4 Bricks Tall, and Jason Yang, a.ok.a @workmoreorless. We had over 420 entries so the competitors was fierce, however right here we’re with a closing determination.

Lego class winners

For the profitable LEGO photograph, I used to be searching for pictures that present good selections about digicam gear and settings, attention-grabbing lighting, robust compositions, and unique ideas.

LEGO minifigures and fashions might be powerful topics to shoot as a result of the fabric is a really shiny plastic and the surfaces are planar or cylindrical, making reflections and glare an enormous downside. Controlling these distractions with cautious digicam angles, mild placement, and/or CPL filters is paramount.

LEGO toys are largely bricks and plates so getting the traces straight might be fairly tough too. LEGO minifigures are iconic and have a variety of expressions to select from, but additionally very restricted in articulation so posing can be an enormous problem.

There have been a whole lot of images that met all 4 standards and the challenges particular to LEGO pictures, so it was powerful to decide on the first-place winner amongst these.

First place: Ryo Tomita

The primary place goes to this improbable photograph of a warehouse employee fumbling with a loaded forklift.

Nice, enjoyable idea and I really like the dynamism on this scene: the falling crates, the toppling forklift, and the barely-holding-on operator. That most likely took a bunch of putty, wires, and articulating arms to rearrange.

Ryo constructed up the scene to maintain us engaged together with his photograph: nice use of foreground parts, shapes, and heights from entrance to again.

The hotter topic in opposition to the cooler tones of the warehouse works very properly to isolate the topic. I additionally recognize the onerous mild– it’s not used a lot by LEGO photographers as a result of it’s tougher to regulate reflections with, however that’s additionally what makes Ryo’s photograph stand out among the many relaxation. The highlighting across the edges of the topic additionally makes the topic pop.

This photograph ticks all the factors packing containers for me plus it exhibits the light-hearted humor of LEGO.

Second place: Arek Truszkowski

Arek’s photograph is a superb instance of embracing shadow in toy pictures with out going darkish in idea. There’s a whole lot of texture right here from the greebling (LEGO jargon for detailing) within the partitions all the way down to the tiny particles of mist suspended within the mild.

The topic is posed merely however purposefully in the direction of the sunshine. I really like how small the photographer selected to border the minifig– once more, bucking a pattern of fill-the-frame usually utilized in LEGO pictures.

Crimson isn’t the colour selection I’d suppose to make however the white/blue astronaut in opposition to it’s arresting. It additionally makes me query if this can be a hopeful or ominous photograph. I don’t know however it made me suppose, which is a feat in our days of the infinite scroll.

Third place: Kenton Anderson

Kenton’s photograph stood out due to the weird digicam angle he used on this photograph of a bit of child flying over the town streets in a tiny crimson aircraft.

Talking of crimson once more, that’s a colour that attracts consideration. Right here, it’s used in opposition to one other crimson object that’s shifting in the other way– a pleasant implied line there.

There are extra robust traces on the street that make my eye transfer diagonally throughout the body and linger a bit longer

Motion class winners

I used to be utterly blown away by not solely the variety of entries for this toy pictures problem but additionally the extent of high quality within the submissions. With 428 submissions from 133 inventive photographers, selecting my prime 3 was a problem! Fortuitously, I used to be capable of focus solely on the Motion Determine class, nonetheless, there have been nonetheless a handful of pictures that integrated each LEGO and Motion Figures.

When critiquing the images, I relied on a couple of standards to assist with the general course of:

Idea: A well-crafted story can encourage and delight. A nonetheless picture, or {photograph} in our case, has the problem of telling a narrative inside a single second in time. Inside that story, I’m drawn to ideas which can be distinctive, emotive, and wealthy with element.

Creativity: Artists who problem themselves are to be admired. Whether or not it’s creating with an genuine model or fixing issues in a intelligent manner, creativity provides depth.

High quality: Producing any sort of artwork requires thoughtfulness, intentionality, and function. When it’s carried out with excellence, the standard is clear. I recognize an artist’s consideration to element and an indication of high-level execution inside their work.

First place: Roger Gonzales

What an absolute TKO for this problem! This idea was sensible in it’s simplicity with a masterful composition. The detrimental area across the topics offers a improbable sense of scale and distinction. The great use of colour together with the intentionality of focus attracts the viewer into the story, making this the highest contender for me. I additionally give Roger bonus factors for implementing each motion figures and LEGO for this submission. Congrats!

Second Place: Danny Koh

I’m all the time impressed by toy photographers that suppose exterior the field. This hilarious mash-up of Marvel’s Captain America utilizing DC’s Superman as a bulletproof protect is extraordinarily inventive! This dynamic composition and cautious use of colour mix to create each motion and readability. Utilizing sensible pictures together with glorious digital compositing, Danny is ready to inform a novel story with each pixels and plastic.

Third place: Jeff Junatas

It’s obvious that there aren’t any strings holding Jeff down in terms of toy pictures! This shot is an ideal instance of how sensible and digital compositing can coexist and make one thing that completely rocks. The lighting units the tone of the story and provides focus and hierarchy for the viewer.

Motion determine class prize: Zhiyun MOLUS X100

Superb for studio, movie, TV, and particularly location capturing, the 5.7 x 3.7 x 1.4″ MOLUS X100 Bi-Color Pocket COB Monolight from Zhiyun has COB LEDs and boasts a bunch {of professional} options in a really small package deal. The X100 has a large variable colour vary of 2700 to 6500K with excessive CRI/TLCI 95/97 rankings and dims from 0 to 100%. Colour and brightness might be adjusted on the fixture, however it’s also possible to make adjustments wirelessly utilizing Zhiyun’s app. A bonus characteristic is the sunshine’s Music Mode which is a recording perform that allows computerized lighting management together with music rhythm to create a particular environment.

LEGO class prize: Zhiyun MOLUS G60

Superb for studio, movie, TV, and particularly location capturing, the three.8 x 2.6 x 2.6″ MOLUS G60 Bi-Color Pocket COB Monolight from Zhiyun has COB LEDs and boasts a bunch {of professional} options in a really small package deal. The G60 has a large variable colour vary of 2700 to 6500K with excessive CRI/TLCI 96/97 rankings and dims from 0 to 100%. Colour and brightness might be adjusted on the fixture, however it’s also possible to make adjustments wirelessly utilizing Zhiyun’s app

The judges

Jason Yang – Motion class

My identify is Jason Yang, however you could know me as @workmoreorless the place I exploit pictures to discover the great world of toys and collectibles. Exterior of my inventive outlet by means of toy pictures, I work professionally as a designer, animator, and illustrator by means of my inventive companies enterprise, Invisible Element. I’ve had the distinction of working with corporations of all sizes, together with Google, McDonald’s, Hasbro, and ESPN. My 25+ years of trade expertise and data have allowed me to method pictures with a novel perspective.

Over the previous a number of years, I’ve used toy pictures as a medium to understand inventive ideas on a smaller scale. In doing so, my involvement locally continues to develop. The relationships I’ve constructed personally with different artists and professionally with quite a few manufacturers have turn out to be an essential side of my life. The truth is, I’ve partnered with a crew of toy photographers and buddies to create a community-focused collaborative referred to as The Figment Five.

My purpose with Work More Or Less is to encourage, encourage, and educate others easy methods to use toy pictures to discover and notice their very own inventive concepts. Free assets can be found on my web site for these wanting to study and keen to put money into their very own private progress and growth.

Anna Bitanga – LEGO class

I’m Anna Bitanga, higher recognized within the toy pictures neighborhood as Four Bricks Tall. I’ve been a photographer for over 20 years, capturing environmental portraits (of people!) and experimenting with all types of genres like product, editorial, macro, architectural, panorama, and documentary. You’ll discover these influences and experiences in my LEGO toy pictures.

I handle the biggest LEGO toy pictures neighborhood, BrickCentral, which often runs photograph contests, I function its ambassador to The LEGO Group, and I’ve judged the Flickr x LEGO photograph contest. I’ve been featured on Sony Alpha Universe and within the LEGO In Focus e book about LEGO pictures.

I additionally educate and write about toy pictures and philosophy on YouTube and Substack.

Honorable mentions:

Jonas Vargas

I recognize when toy photographers construct scenes with LEGO bricks, and sometimes that simply means a easy building as on this photograph by Jonas.

One big benefit LEGO photographers have is the power to create the atmosphere and props they want in system. Like a painter, this photographer’s scene was made as a composition selection: desaturated tones as a backdrop for the colourful hero, handrails as main traces, sample in detrimental area for curiosity, and so forth. Even the small element of the mouse pointing in the direction of the motion is clearly a selection of eyelines.

A number of artwork data right here mixed with easy however efficient lighting and a touching idea.

Adam Burke

I really like the creativity and general idea of this photograph that options one in every of my favourite animated characters, the Iron Big! By way of delicate and easy posing, Adam provides a real-life really feel as he bodily interacts inside the scene. The lighting and glorious framing make this really feel much less like a photograph and extra like a portray, making Adam a grasp of each mild and magic!

Benedek Lampert

I really like medieval themes and this set particularly is one in every of my all-time favourite LEGO fashions. I’ve shot this open air as properly so I do know what a problem it’s to move (with out breaking!), discover a becoming location, and battle mosquitoes whereas working rapidly in opposition to a shifting solar and breaking your again to get down low.

Not many LEGO photographers try to shoot buildings, a lot much less within the wild, however Benedek does this with aplomb. On prime of that, the tiny lights within the mannequin and environment to carry them out extra actually makes the photograph come alive!

Tung Pham

This can be a tea occasion I’d like to be invited to! Tung shows an unimaginable talent of drawing within the viewer by means of lovely lighting, composition, and storytelling. The pure mild inside the body has an nearly magical aesthetic that compliments the figures inside the scene. Each factor within the shot feels intentional and exhibits a excessive degree of competency.

Sergi Paredes

And eventually, generally a easy minifigure with only a few brick parts could make for an efficient photograph like this one by Sergio.

It’s tempting to all the time shoot with the topic’s face seen, so it’s a welcome break from the standard to see one utterly turned away. Whereas I’m not a selected fan of utilizing IP in images (though LEGO is one big IP itself), it’s tougher to acknowledge Disney’s Coco character Miguel when posed like this, due to this fact it helps me purchase in.

Stunning colours, robust main traces, a lot of texture, and a few small particulars actually helped this photograph stand out.

Pradono Kusumo

It’s great when an artist creates artwork that offers you perception into their character. With this fantastically meta photograph of a toy taking an image of toys, Pradono does precisely that by bringing a pleasant and humorous idea to life. I recognize using varied scales and characters together with the layered storytelling – did you discover Darth Vader within the background?