ones upon a game

I am almost exclusively a solo gamer and look at the gaming scene seen through those eyes. I also literally like alliteration. TWITTER: @onesuponagame

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Best Game Photo of the Year: Polls close in SIX HOURS!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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If I'm doing my math right, it will be midnight in France at 6:00pm EST, which means in a little over six hours from now the polls will close in the The 2018 Picture of the Year contest contest.

The winner is pretty much set, but 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place are locked in a very tight race with a slim two points separating the pack...



My entry using the critters from Everdell is right in the thick of it. Again, vote for mine if you like it, but of course vote for all the photos that you like. But please like mine and vote for it.

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK TICK TOCK..

Thanks!!!
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Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:35 pm
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2018 Boardgame Photo of Year Contest

Kevin L. Kitchens
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The The 2018 Picture of the Year contest is now underway. Amid many wonderful images, I've entered my "prizewinning" (August 2018) shot of "Everdell Road" into the contest.



It features the animeeples from one of 2018's best games Everdell by designer James A. Wilson and publisher Starling Games (II).

Voting in the contest is easy. Just visit the geeklist by January 31 and thumb all the images you like best. You can get directly to my entry HERE as well.

Thanks for your consideration!
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Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:30 pm
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"Everdell Road"

Kevin L. Kitchens
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A tribute to a famous album cover by another group of little critters...

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Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:32 pm
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The Index is a door to finding treasure in the dark...

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Over the past nearly three years, lots of articles, reviews, tips, images, etc. have appears on this blog... I was starting myself to get lost trying to find something!

So to remedy that I've created a new geeklist: Ones Upon A Game: Reviews, Mods, Images and Videos Index to refer to find the potentially helpful diamond in the rough.

I welcome you to subscribe to the list as a whole or just to games that are of interest to you... if such a thing is of interest to you.
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 3:24 pm
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Digitally Painting Miniatures

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Welcome Geek Weekly Readers!

When making my counters for Silent Death: The Next Millennium Deluxe Edition (I Scream! You Scream! We All Scream for Silent Death!) I knew I was going to want ship images on them. While just technically the text would have been enough, this isn't wargaming in the 1980s anymore. I wanted bright, colorful, painted ships to distinguish the ship models.



But how? The artwork in the books is sketchy at best (see what I did there?) and of course copyrighted material. Since the game was 22 years old I didn't know if I'd be able to secure proper permission to use those and quite frankly, I wasn't optimistic at how they'd actually turn out.

So I turned to my other skill as a photographer and decided I'd photograph the actual miniatures from the game and then use tricks for colorizing old photographs to digitally paint the miniatures.

First I set up a green screen of sorts with a green piece of cardstock, poking a hold in the center and then threading one of the game's flight posts through the hole. Using a 70mm fixed length macro lens (photo nerd!) I set the camera on a tripod and focused on each ship from a top-down perspective. The lighting remained the same for each ship as did the focus distance, so the scale of larger ships to smaller ships would also remain the same. I took two shots of each ship (just in case) as well as a set of torpedoes and missiles.


Ship photograph, lifted from green-screen background and converted to greyscale.


Next off to Photoshop (with a quick stop in Lightroom for cropping and a little processing). Since I had green-screened each ship, it was a simple matter to remove the ship from its background and only have the ship image. Next I added a greyscale filter to remove all hint of color and only keep the tones and highlights and shadows. This would allow me to add color without it being tainted by color cast from the lighting.

The first step of adding the main ship color was easy. CTRL-click on the isolated ship layer to select just the ship. Then I added a solid color layer to the image with the color choice I wanted. Since the ship shape was already selected, the layer mask already restricts the color to that area. Finally changing the blend mode from "Normal" to "Overlay" and voila (or "walla" to those who mishear things), the shades of grey becomes shades of the chosen color and all the ship detail comes through.


Adding the main ship color.


Repeating this process for the other targeted areas of the ship is just as easy. Select an area, add a new color layer (though on these successive layers I set to "Color" blend mode vs. "Overlay") and you're now painting. The opacity of each layer remains 100% as the blend mode takes care of rendering the combinations of color. One thing I did different was on the canopy of each ship. For that when I selected the area, I did use that selection on the layer mask of the main ship color to black out (or hide) the body color from the canopy. Whereas the other areas of the ship might be "really" be decals or paint over the base color, the canopy would not have been painted over.

The cool thing is that the lighting from the photo still allows the texture and detail and highlights to come through on the "painted" model.

When all my layers were complete and I liked the scheme of the ship, I then flattened all the visible layers into a single new layer (CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-E). I have a plugin called Topaz Simplify (http://www.topazlabs.com/simplify) and it features an oil painting setting that produces a nice smooth look to images... simplifying their colors as the name suggests. I applied this to the merged image to create a painterly effect. However, it's a little drastic on its own and some of the details get lost in doing so. So the next step is to set the oil painting layer to a 50% opacity. This blends that layer into the photographic layers below to create a visual combination of art and detail that looks quite nice (IMO).


The "painted" photograph (left), the "Oil Painting" filter alone (center) and the final merged version (right).


Finally CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-E again to permanently combine everything into a single layer and the digital miniature painting is complete.





My final paint jobs...


When I'd completed all the ships, I combined those final 12 ship layers into a single Photoshop file to make sure they were all centered and stacked and then exported each image (with a transparent background) to its own PNG (portable network graphics) file and referenced each ship image in the data file spreadsheet used to construct the counters.



Another cool thing about this technique is that you can change the color if you want or make different paint schemes. Simply by changing the color of the solid color layer you can make the ship blue or purple or red, etc...

While this worked great for top-down wargame counters, the same process could be used to "paint" boardgame miniatures from the front and produce standees instead of using the in-game miniatures. Perhaps instead of painting all those stormtroopers in Star Wars: Imperial Assault!!!
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Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:47 pm
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Eclipse 2017... Be Careful!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Allegedly there is a total solar eclipse that will be viewable in a large swath of the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017.

I had planned to take photos (safely) during the event, but after a few test shots today, I just don't think my gear and filters are up to task. So I'll just enjoy it like most people. Besides, it will be the most photographed event in quite some time. And NASA and other science agencies will do a much better job than most of us could.

Just remember to NOT look directly at the sun. Make a pinhole device from a shoebox or look at the dappled light on the ground through leaves. I'm not sure I'd risk "eclipse" glasses picked up at a local store either, but that's just me. And keep your PETS inside as well. They are curious and if they look up to see why it's getting dark, they could very easily suffer the same blindness!

Finally, for those of you "in the know" about the realities of such things, here's some beta footage from Monday's big event. Looks like they might be getting things ready for release not a moment too soon!

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Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:11 pm
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JVMF: TIE Pursuit Print

Kevin L. Kitchens
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For those following along, the JVMF auction is off to a great start. Over 600 items already and $30,000 raised.

Great job gamers!

I've added an 11x14 artpaper print of my photo "TIE Pursuit" to the auction as well (sample above). Using Millennium Falcon and TIE Fighter models from the X-Wing game, this is a single shot superimposed against the star backdrop.

If you're interested in bidding or following along, it can be found here: LINK
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Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:44 pm
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Memory. All Alone in the Moonlight...

Kevin L. Kitchens
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"Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again"


Not a great way to start Friday, the weekend, or Father's Day weekend. Our beloved last cat turned ill and has now crossed the "rainbow bridge". 16.5 years old and a sweetheart. We will miss her. We know more pain but she knows no more.
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Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:08 pm
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International Talk Like a Murdering Thug Day!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Whoever the PR flack is for Pirates sure whitewashed history over the years for them to be so beloved these days. From Jack Sparrow to board games to deep fried batter dipped fish (mmmmmmmmmmmmm...fried fish!) pirates these days are depicted not as the murdering criminals they actually were but as wily little scoundrels with a heart of gold. They're only shown as truly treacherous if there are the aforementioned "good" pirates around to give them their comeuppance.



Which brings us to today... the International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Krispy Kreme (mmmmmmmmmmmm...donuts!) is even giving away free donuts to anyone who talks or dresses like a pirate (http://www.krispykreme.com/pirate).



So in honor of this day of revisionist history, this photo is about as close as I'll get to taking part.


R...Walk the Plank
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Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:35 am
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Board Game Photography: The Pursuit

Kevin L. Kitchens
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My main career is a software developer, but one of the side jobs I have that stemmed from a hobby is that of photographer. I love shooting events and portraits, but also taking photos of objects, especially board game components. So from time to time I'll share some of them here. Hopefully you'll like them as well.

This one comes from the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game core game and the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – Millennium Falcon Expansion Pack and Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – TIE Fighter Expansion Pack expansions. Set this up with a black game table and wrapped black cardstock around all the bases to prevent them from showing as much. Controlled the flash to only light certain areas and simulate some stellar light source in the darkness of space.

Some of you may have seen this before as it was uploaded via my previous account and thus removed when I switched over to this one.



The Pursuit
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:59 pm
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