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Gundam Photography Real Laser Effects Part One: Intro

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Hey Gunpla lovers,

AllDaLazurs here, otherwise known as Adam K. I’m here to show you a way to make your photos of your Gundam models (and other laser shooting, beam-sword wielding mecha) stand out in a very unique way. Forget about plastic effect parts – how about having your models shooting beams of actual light?

There are some pretty cool and somewhat advanced photography techniques here, but with some practice, you will end up with some pretty awesome photos showing off your models in a totally new way, like this:


Here is my newly completed RG Destiny Gundam. Don’t be fooled; there are no internally placed LEDs here, and while the laser sword effect does make use of an effect part, the wing effects are from nothing more than an easily modified LED flashlight.



This shot is a composite of two images (one for each Gundam), but the sword effects are from an LED light with colored tissue over it.



This effect for the Launcher bazooka is made with a red LED light and a white LED light with cardboard stencils over them to shape the light.

In this series, I’m going to give you the knowledge, as well as show you what materials and what equipment you will need, to make Destiny Gundam wing effects, beam sword effects, and beam gun effects. There will be three more tutorials on how to accomplish the specific effects, so this introductory post will be more theoretical.

As I said before, this is somewhat advanced photography, so a knowledge of shooting with a camera in manual mode is important.

In terms of photography gear, what you will need is a DSLR camera with a lens (or any camera that includes a manual mode), and a tripod. Your setup will look something like this:
The Photography Technique: 
The photography technique being used to make these photos is called light painting photography. Basically, you wave lights in front of your camera to get light streaks in your photo. But to get nice, big, bright streaks like we want, you have to change the settings on your camera. Usually photos are taken in a fraction of a second, anywhere from 1/60th of a second to 1/4,000 of a second, which is way too fast for this. To get the streaks we want, we have to let light into the camera for much longer: for 30 seconds to be exact.

This is called a long exposure. It will allow you to create light effects in your photo for 30 seconds. For many effects, that is plenty of time. For those of you who know how to change settings on your camera, these are the settings I used for all my shots:
P1140193Here, my camera shows a 30 second long photo (see number on bottom left), an ISO (sensor sensitivity) of 100 (top center), and an f-stop of 18 (see bottom center number).

Lights and Other Materials: Here are the lights and other materials you will need to accomplish the effects in the way I am going to show you. There are a million possibilities when it comes to light painting photos, so you can probably get similar or better effects with different lights and materials, but here is what I used:
P1140204On the top left is an automotive work light, and to the right are cardboard stencils I cut out, along with sheets of tissue paper in different colors. These are used to make white light coming from your flashlight any color you want. Below and to the left is a red laser pointer, a pair of rubber bands, and a small white LED flash light.

That is all you will need. To learn how to harness this information and these materials, check out my other posts, where I will walk you through how to make beam gun, beam sword and Destiny wing effects. However, I encourage you to try out light painting and see what effects you can make yourself as well.

Remember, these effects are tricky, so experiment a lot!

A knowledge of photoshop or other editing software will be helpful as well, as you can clean up some of your mistakes, digitally remove stands, or even put in a starry background.
StrikeLauncherSwordwStarssrgbI can’t wait to see what other Gunpla lovers come up with when using these light painting photography techniques, so feel free to share!

Thanks again for reading, and stay tuned for Part 2! I’m Adam K, aka AllDaLazurs.


Gundam Photography Real Laser Effects Navigation
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  1. Thank you very much for taking the time to teach us this awesome technique!

    • No problem. Hope you have fun with it!

  2. An interesting tutorial. I’m tempted to try it out as a well painted kit with these effects and a bit of photoshop could give a pretty decent wallpaper or even a series of photos for various uses. Thanks! I’ll be looking forward for the part two.

    • Yeah, a nice painted kit could look great with this. I figure this technique is all about upping the realism in a different way, so the more realistic your model looks, the better the shot could look.

      • The bazooka (rail gun) effect looks amazing and to tell you the truth, that’s the one that got me curious for more.


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