Sunday 28 October 2018

Wolf Moon - Where are all the Female Werewolves?

Wolf Moon
A long time ago, when I was way to young to watch horror movies, I used to watch them anyway, with my grandfather. I was completely mesmerized by Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolf Man, the 1941 original of course, not the 2010 remake.

Over the years, I have seen my fair share of werewolf movies, good and not so good: An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Howling (1981), The Company of Wolves (1984), Teen Wolf (), Wolf (Jack Nicholson, 1994), Dog soldiers (2002), and a couple of others.

Two observations:
  • Werewolves were more popular in the 80's than they are now. Yes, there are modern werewold movies, like the Wolfman (2010) remake of the original Lon Chaney, Jr. movie, but they are nowhere near as popular as they used to be.
  • There is a distinct lack of female werewolves, both in old and newer movies. There are exceptions like Ginger Snaps (2000, and supposed to be good, I haven't seen it), but overall, werewolves tend to be male.
 It struck me that if I want to do werewolf pictures, redressing the gender imbalance would be a good thing.
Wolf Moon - High Contrast B&W
So far, I am just experimenting with a werewolf 3D model, dramatic lighting setups, and postprocessing styles.

The next step is to create a storyboard, or two, and to try to get models interested.

Would you be interested in facing a werewolf a moon-lit night?

Storyboarding - the key to better collaboration between model and photographer

Cat and Mouse
For the past couple of years I have been storyboarding my photo sessions, usually with simple, and rather ugly, pencil sketches.

Some time ago, I decided to step up the quality of the storyboards a bit. There are two reasons for this:
  • I can set up and test the 3D parts of my pictures before the photo session. That makes it easier for me to see whether a picture will look as good on screen, or printed, as it looks inside my head. If it does not, I can scrap the picture before I do a shoot with a model. That saves both the model and me a lot of time and effort.
  • When I discuss a shoot with a model, I can show something that is fairly close to what the final picture will look like. That way, it is easier for a model to decide whether she/he is interested or not. It is also easier to discuss how to set up the shoot, what props will be needed, and what the model will have to do to prepare for the shoot. This also saves time overall, and improves the final result.
What I do now, is that I shoot my backgrounds first, then render and composit 3D elements, and use a 3D model as a stand-in for human models. After compositing, I also do the final painting process.

This gets me as close as I can to a final result without doing the actual photo session with a live model.
Cat People
Cat People is a good example. A model can see  what the final result will look like, the position she will sit in, and the overall mood of the picture. Of course, if the model I work with have suggestions for variations and improvements, I am happy to discuss them, and try them out.

I use the picture to figure out how to light the model during the photo shoot, camera angles, whether to change anything in the 3D render, possible variations... There is a lot of stuff that can change from when I created this storyboard to the final picture. What the storyboard provides, is a great starting point.

Taking the Jaguar out for a Spin

Rite of Passage

That's it, for now. Next time, a few words about werewolves.