Behind the Scenes: Yuuki Sword Art Online

Yuuki-3
ISO 400, 20mm, F1.8, 1/1000, Flash Fired HSS

This weekend I did a shoot for Chloe Miriee’s Yuuki Konno cosplay. The results are rather stunning even by my standards. This article will talk about how the effects were achieved which is quite standard throughout the entire photo set.

Yuuki is a character from sword art online, a MMORPG like game in the medieval times. A combat class that uses a sword, with quite a good amount of scene in forest and dungeons. A top notch swordsman with a ill fate at the end. I wanted to give her a more magical game like feeling with dramatic motion and emotions. More pics will be posted at my main site and FB page: ZerartulPeaktures

As said most pictures were shot and edited the same way. Summary of how this shoot was done and processed:

  • 1 Boomed Grided light for rim and highlight
  • 1 Grided light for fill
  • 1 Reflector on Light for simulated sun (optional)
  • 2 assistants for misting
  • 1 assistant for wig throwing
  • Color process with Lightroom
  • Effects process with Photoshop

Light Setup:

Yuuki Light Diag

BTS Yuuki 1
2 Lights used for this shot. Top light highlights the sword and gives more contrast.

In a forest, normally with the canopy cover, you get streams of light coming in but on general its not really bright. I wanted it to look sunny even in a forest, like a canopy with a big opening.

1 B2 head boomed fitted with 60cm x 90cm Gridded Softbox on the top. slightly back of the subject. This creates a nice rim from the head to the shoulders and a burnt out effect on the hair to simulate light from the top. Outdoor shoots are suspected to winds so a light head such as B2 and modifiers from the OCF series are great. Make sure to always weigh down the boom and counter balance it well.

1 B2 head on the floor right side with a 60cm Gridded Octa. This is mainly a fill light for the face placed above the camera level. In the shot above, its above the subjects eye level. The purpose of the grid is to fill only the face with minimum spill to the surroundings.

Additional notes:

Yuuki-2
This shot had a additional B1 at the back for the simulated sun..

1 B1 with reflector are used in some shots such as the one above. This is to simulate the sun. Shots that did not used it were due to good openings in the canopy with strong sunlight streaming in.

The light on the boom and the B1 with reflector both are meant to be back light to simulate flare or highlights generated by a low sun. In this shoot, they are fitted with 3/4 CTO gels to add extra warmth to the light. This was part of the reason why the front fill light must be gridded: it will other wise be reflecting the warm light from the front baffle onto the subject face which will be undesirable.

Effects and Color:

Sometime misting do not go well due to wind
Sometime misting do not go well due to wind

To obtain get the slightly magical effects of sparkles and mistiness, 2 assistants were tasked to spray mist into the air just slightly behind the subject. Mist however were easily affected by wind so the assistants need to constantly move.

Freezing the droplets of mist in the air rather then smeared, a faster shutter of 1/1000 was used. The lights were then fired with HSS. As this was a morning shoot, the flash itself could not freeze the motion of the droplets due to background lighting and a much faster shutter was needed. This is one of the situation where Profoto B1/B2 really works well with HSS.

The sense of motion was obtained by flicking the wig base on the direction of the motion that was to be achieved. The subject will also execute the movement and hold the point where the shot will be done to get a more natural posing.

YuukiBTW-2
Out of camera shot

Post processing was the final step. First with Lightroom, the greens were hued to the yellow for a more autumn look. Colors were corrected to get a soothing slightly dulled down look while exposure contrast was increased for the dramatic feel.

Lastly photoshop, to get the hazy feeling with the effects of brighter sun ray streaming down, a combination of Motion blur, Gaussian blur and masking was used. I wont cover on how to achieve them here as you can find video tutorials of them.

Photos and Final words:

Yuuki-3
ISO 400, 20mm, F1.8, 1/1000, Flash Fired HSS
Yuuki-1
ISO 400, 20mm, F1.8, 1/1000, Flash Fired HSS
Yuuki-2
ISO 200, 50mm, F1.4, 1/500, Flash Fired HSS

As above, this are the outcomes of the shoot.  I hope you enjoy my behind the scene on how the shots are done and do visit my FB page at ZerartulPeaktures to view my latest work or contact me.

Equipment used:

  • Nikon DF
  • Nikon 20mm F1.8
  • Sigma Art 50mm F1.8
  • Profoto B1
  • Profoto B2 with 2 heads
  • Profoto 2′ X 3′ OCF Softbox with Grid
  • Profoto 2′ OCF Octa with Grid
  • Profoto Zoom Reflector
  • Jinbei M1 Mini Boom
  • 2 Water spray with misting nozzle (those for watering plants)

2 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: Yuuki Sword Art Online”

  1. I liked the first part of this anime, the part where Sword Art Online was the right title. The second half isn’t bad per say but I felt it lacked the something the other part did. The fact this’ll get another season annoys me since it ended on a good note.

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