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Norn
2nd Dec 2017, 11:06 AM
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/3/8/6/3/2/7/MTS_Norn-1734080-attuned1.jpg

So, my thoughts about your drafts for the contest. I assume that you werenít finished with them so that much of what I write will be obsolete. But maybe some if it still helps. First of all, I would love to see your great Play House in action! Also the motif is gorgeous. What month would you use it for? This isn't very obvious to me.

The advantage of a "model shot" is clearly that the calendar pics will be tiny, so all those details are lost anyway. I took the liberty to edit the screenshot you showed me - cropping it visually and showing where the focus should be. It feels to me as if everything else draws more attention than the little dancer!

http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/3/8/6/3/2/7/MTS_Norn-1734081-attuned1a.jpg

Which leads me to my first and most important point:

Focus
Itís all about angle of picture, position of the sim and the background and distance. I donít have any real advice here as I usually use the trial and error method. Play around with these things. But if you squint your eyes your main character should be what is still visible. You might not need to show all of her, or maybe you could place her more centrally. Maybe you could reduce the number of sims in the background group - the idea will be clear with showing only two of the kids and the teacher, for example.

Light
Generally
try to avoid light from above
indoor shots in rooms without windows (or taken at night) allow full control of illumination.
use the buydebug lights, preferably the wall lights.
make use of the light intensity options! It usually is better to tone it down for most lights.
make use of the light colour options! If you really want to spend time on this try to figure out good custom natural light colours (for indoor lighting). The white of the game is too white and the flame to yellow. Once you changed the colour you cannot go back to the initial colour of the debug lights which is somewhere between white and a more yellow-ish tone. In this case delete the light and place a new one.
In your picture the background group is illuminated from above which only highlights their hair but leaves their faces etc. in the shadows. Still they have more light than the main character. Mind, the final pic will be much smaller and (at least look) a lot darker, so make your screenshot light and bright.

I played around with light, positions and all this and put some pictures on my tumblr as not to clutter up this thread. If you want to, have a look here (http://norntesties.tumblr.com/private/168108468537/tumblr_p0bxsj8unV1vrfdna). The changes are sometimes subtle, but maybe it gives you ideas to try for yourself. I also show an example setup for usage of buydebug lights.

Norn
2nd Dec 2017, 11:38 AM
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/3/8/6/3/2/7/MTS_Norn-1734094-attuned2.jpg

For your second picture, I think the right pose is the most important thing here. Is there one leaning on a rake or something? Or when they rake the fall leaves? Agaiin, you could put him more into focus. Outdoor shots are much more difficult concerning lighting, so I would try to make use of the Time Change mod by cmomoney here: http://www.modthesims.info/download.php?t=481816 and try to find a time of the day with best lighting*. Even if it means to rotate the whole lot (or the props). Which month would this be for? Could the background be more decorated for this (plants, leaves, ...?)

*I actually use it a lot, it requires Seasons though.

attuned
2nd Dec 2017, 10:02 PM
Hey Norn (and Crowkeeper too, if youíre here)

Thanks for All of the feedback. I didnít do anything with the lighting yet, it is vanilla EA. I was trying to get the composition first. Your lighting tips are great when I get to that.

I may abandon the ballet girl. Everything you said echoes what I was feeling. The background ladies are cute, but pull focus from the main dancer. This might work for another year, but not this yearís theme. I will save this idea for the future.

The farmer is not in a pose, again vanilla EA. I threw him together quickly to explore one sim and background. He would definitely need a good pose if he is promoted to round two. I was thinking of him for July. I want to avoid September or October since they already have great entries.

Spladís entries are lovely just because she keeps the background simple and has the sim in clear focus. I am not sure how she does that. A camera mod? Maybe not focusing on the whole sim if standing? Still more to play with. I realize I am more competitive than I thought. Once I abandoned hope of winning and focused on the experience, the calendar contest became fun again. So, in other words, more to come.:)

attuned
4th Dec 2017, 6:32 AM
Two completely new selections.
Ice skater for January. She is not lit yet. I think it might be better if she were slightly off center.
Violin recital for May.
Let me know what you think- thanks!

Crowkeeper
4th Dec 2017, 2:11 PM
I love the ice skater! and yes it would definitely look better Is she wasnt standing right in the middle of the picture. I think it would be best to more or less follow the "golden ratio" principle:
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/2/0/2/2/9/5/0/MTS_Crowkeeper-1734372-picture.png

Is the location final? I think it would be prettier If the lake had a more "round" shape and there was more deco. Maybe it could be a night shot actually?
with only the skater illuminated?

Norn
4th Dec 2017, 2:49 PM
Love both motifs - but the ice skater is exceptional :)

For the little violinist I would love to see a bit more space between him and the piano, so that he would stand in front of the wall next to the piano but not with this dark block in his back. The third picture I like best, detail-wise (and personally I love the little musical notes sims produce when playing! But I also love the sleeping zzzzs.... :) )

attuned
5th Dec 2017, 4:30 AM
Oh Crowkeeper, you are going to make me work for it. Of course you are right about the pond and the landscaping. I will try the night shot- it sounds amazing. I don't know what the "golden ratio" principle is, but your cropping improved the picture about 100%. Thank you.

Norn, I like the music notes too. I think we are in the minority. I will rework the layout. Thank you.

attuned
5th Dec 2017, 4:46 AM
Problem
I used a pose by spladoum for the ice skater. I downloaded it probably 2 years ago. I looked it up today and realized that splad has a winter shot of her dancer. She isn't ice skating, and it is different , but is it different enough? What do you guys think?
http://www.modthesims.info/download.php?t=541099

Crowkeeper
5th Dec 2017, 4:16 PM
I think it will be ok If you give her different clothes. The composition is entirely different
edit: or maybe it could be a man?

Norn
5th Dec 2017, 7:18 PM
It's a pose, every picture using it will look a bit similar to spladoum's picture. Of course it IS a similar setting in that winter landscape (though I really find it strange to ballet dance in the snow...) I had thought about different clothes too, and I think in the end, yours will be a beautiful picture that's a composition of it's own. So, go for it :)

Crowkeeper
6th Dec 2017, 1:25 AM
What do you guys think about this for May?

http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/2/0/2/2/9/5/0/MTS_Crowkeeper-1734658-a_superclose1.jpg

attuned
6th Dec 2017, 7:38 AM
I love it, Crowkeeper. The colors, the movement, and the composition are lovely. The night background makes the girl pop more, but I love the subtlety of the daytime one.

attuned
6th Dec 2017, 7:44 AM
Day and night, male and female versions of snow dancing (it is totally a thing Norn).
Then new violin recital pics. Norn, you were absolutely right about moving the piano.

Crowkeeper
6th Dec 2017, 10:03 AM
I like this one the most. But I think you definitely shouldn't cut of her legs. I think the night lighting makes the sim stand out nicely. I love the "line" you created with the plants. The bare trees behind her look awesome there. But maybe I would remove the other tree and definitely add more of these frozen flowers. Not just one kind but all sorts of them cause they look beautiful.
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/2/0/2/2/9/5/0/MTS_Crowkeeper-1734721-suggestions.jpg

About her clothes:
Maybe she could be wearing some CC clothes? For example this coat by anubis: http://anubis360.blogspot.cz/2012/12/winter-glaze-outerwear-coat-for-teen-to.html I think it has a nice A line skirt shape, which might look good for a dancer? Then you could just give her white stockings to go with it. It would be awesome If they had a snowflake pattern. I also think that she should definitely be wearing some super big white hat. I will try to find some.

Norn
6th Dec 2017, 1:15 PM
I love the new settings for the snow dancer, the muted colours and shy sun of the daylight shots, but yes, the night shots are even more impressive. The man is not as elegant as the woman (they will never be) so I would stick with the lady.

Also yes to more frozen flowers, you built a gorgeous background here. I wouldn't remove the left tree but maybe rotate it a bit? I like that "leaned in" branch, it adds to the dynamics in my opinion. So maybe rotate it a tiny bit to make it not as "leaning in".

Erm... I have to ask. Will she be skating or snow dancing? :) If she is skating, I wouldn't for once crop her feet either.

Also the dancer in the first version was a tiny bit more rotated to the left (showing more of her face). I think I liked that better than this angle. It was again more dynamic. Or maybe it's the slightly higher angle from which the first version of the picture was taken.

I might even like that hair better in the first version, it looked casual, natural, like someone taking a picture in that millisecond where the dancer is just herself and one with nature (by the way, I always look like this when out alone in the snow).

As for the little musician, I don't think he needs to show his feet :) You can probably zoom in more like in these two pictures from your first version (under the cut), also if you could capture either of his facial expressions from there?
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/7/2/6/8/2/5/7/MTS_attuned-1734341-vio3.jpg

http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/7/2/6/8/2/5/7/MTS_attuned-1734339-vio1.jpg
The rest would be now making the background less bright so that he can shine even more and maybe find him something to wear that looks more like fabric and less like plastic. What makes this entry specific for May?

Leaning back and waiting for the fashion parade now :)

Crowkeeper, I love your pictures and have a hard time to decide which one I like better!

Crowkeeper
6th Dec 2017, 1:55 PM
I agree that the pose And hair looked Better in the first version. But I feel that the branches of the tree take the attention Away from the girl. They look good but as I said they sort of steal the attention. But maybe IT Is just me....

How about moving it a bit out of the picture instead of removing it entirely?
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/2/0/2/2/9/5/0/MTS_Crowkeeper-1734760-snowdancer.jpg



edit: how does thť pose look from above? Found this picture And thought IT would be cool to try in Sims: https://www.ephotozine.com/resize/2017/48/xlrg/277492_1512170996.jpg?RTUdGk5cXyJFBQgJVANtcQlnYF8JERFaGwJRNQh6SlYUAEw1cmsCdg1hAWoxXFNGLSI=

edit2: found the hat:D
http://thed3n.blogspot.cz/2012/11/delicate-snowflake-winter-hat-for.html

edit3: outfit idea:
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/2/0/2/2/9/5/0/MTS_Crowkeeper-1734778-Screenshot-2687.jpg

Norn
6th Dec 2017, 9:28 PM
Thinking about entering, too... now that I had an idea. And a patient Crowkeeper to help me... Which one do you like better?

attuned
6th Dec 2017, 9:37 PM
Thank you both!

Capturing an ice skater in a pose is difficult. When you pose them and move them to the ice, they sink underwater. It is actually really disturbing. The first pond is mine, the second is EA. I thought the night time lighting in that world would be lovely. To pose the sim on the ice, I had to raise the terrain until it was almost visible, and then position the sim on the tiny point of the raised terrain. I couldnít get this to work on the EA pond. I will try again, though that means the dancer will need to be further out on the pond and so further from the trees. I donít know how this will change the composition, but I will try it.

Crowkeeper, which one are you submitting?

Norn, did you decide not to enter the contest?

Norn
6th Dec 2017, 9:48 PM
Well, I had several ideas but none would work as intended. This one I'm quite happy with, just can't decide which one looks better :)

attuned
6th Dec 2017, 9:56 PM
Sorry, I must have been posting and missed your post with the swinging sim. I am the slowest of typists. Also, we are on at the same time- practically a miracle!

I like the second one because she looks more joyful. :)

Norn
6th Dec 2017, 10:00 PM
Indeed! You're really early and I'm going to bed now, so... it was a pleasure, but a short one :)

Thank you!

Crowkeeper
7th Dec 2017, 9:38 AM
Thank you both!

Capturing an ice skater in a pose is difficult. When you pose them and move them to the ice, they sink underwater. It is actually really disturbing. The first pond is mine, the second is EA. I thought the night time lighting in that world would be lovely. To pose the sim on the ice, I had to raise the terrain until it was almost visible, and then position the sim on the tiny point of the raised terrain. I couldnít get this to work on the EA pond. I will try again, though that means the dancer will need to be further out on the pond and so further from the trees. I donít know how this will change the composition, but I will try it.

Crowkeeper, which one are you submitting?

Norn, did you decide not to enter the contest?

Do you have the sim placed on an OMSP? she shouldnt drop beneath the water surface If she is on it. But thť omsp needs to be raised ať least by 1 cm

about my picture:
I can't decide:/ Trying to make a new one now...

this:
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/2/0/2/2/9/5/0/MTS_Crowkeeper-1734901-a_pictureforcalendar2.jpg

Or this?
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/2/0/2/2/9/5/0/MTS_Crowkeeper-1734902-a_pictureforcalendarjpg.jpg

Norn
7th Dec 2017, 7:15 PM
Crowkeeper, I prefer the one with the slightly lower "skyline" :) But both are gorgeous!

So, I fiddled with the makeup and with the clothes and with the flowers and almost everything else. I'm done now (in every sense). :) My entry for July:

attuned
8th Dec 2017, 4:54 AM
Norn, she is glorious!

Crowkeeper, lovely, ethereal, wow. And OMSP, of course, why do I always do things the hard way? :faceslap:

More pics tomorrow...

attuned
9th Dec 2017, 6:41 AM
Unfortunately Norn, I exited my game before I read your PM about the ice skates. I have 5 new versions of the ice dancer and violin boy and a bonus pic for Norn.;)

Norn
9th Dec 2017, 9:04 AM
Uhm... handsome firefighters are handsome firefighters? :D Not sure how I deserve that extra attention but of course I'm very happy to see that there is someone taking care of security so that your sims can concentrate on performing perfectly :heyhey:

Will edit later after I had a closer look on your pictures. First impression is - almost there, looking great already!

[ETA] Another thought - is there a month associated with firefighter appreciation? Or where there is an event that would require a lot of firefighters? That picture would make a good upload, too :)

Crowkeeper
9th Dec 2017, 10:03 AM
I love this one:
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/7/2/6/8/2/5/7/MTS_attuned-1735321-ICE2.jpg
The lighting, the pose, the setting...its awesome
I think you could post this as is. But the ice skates would make it even better....
or how about some snow?:P
https://78.media.tumblr.com/053f8a384609e1db75df40f0f3160ca8/tumblr_messaging_p0otzu17zY1tso1ss_1280.png

If you wanna avoid the snow getting in the girl's face you could use the fogemitter code for snow and place it on places which wouldnt hide the girl.

Norn
9th Dec 2017, 3:14 PM
Ok... after staring long and hard at your pictures, I have to say, I prefer the position in ICE5... lighting and background and pose are perfect in ICE2 though... So, if you still feel it in you, you could give it another try? And I would love to see the ice skating shoes, too. ICE2 is already very perfect, so if you don't have time/energy anymore I think you could submit this one as is. But maybe... you can still improve it :)

For the little violinist it's the same. Good thing you did with the curtains in the background in V5, but I think pose and light and detail are best in V1. And I actually liked the more formal suit, just not the texture. Sorry if I wasn't clear enough on this. It's a big day for the little boy, right? So a suit would be appropriate.

Crowkeeper
9th Dec 2017, 3:41 PM
Great suggestions Nornie! So how about this?

https://78.media.tumblr.com/6e84b19a1df3a0d26518c69d1abed3e9/tumblr_messaging_p0pa8pTtrz1tso1ss_1280.png

attuned
10th Dec 2017, 5:01 AM
AHhhhh, it's done!!!!!

First, I want to thank both of you for your patience and brilliance. You are amazing, talented women, and I feel blessed to have your help, and friendship. My entries could literally not have existed without you.

I read post #27 by Crowkeeper before I started to work, so did not see post #28 by Norn.. I agree with both of you about the position of 5 and the lighting and composition of 2. In the end, the invisible lights and OMSP were set up for 2, so I used that. I am happy with how it turned out. Go right now and hit the love button, I'll wait.... okay you're back. A few thoughts:

*Crowkeeper, you are much better at snow than EA. The heavy snow was surprisingly wimpy, and the fog emitter snow was not a good color at night.
*Remind me to NEVER try to place a posed sim on ice. Even the OMSP sank into the pond many times. Sometimes I couldn't recover it and I had to get another one out of the buy catalogue.
*I just wasn't feeling the violin boy. Thank you for your help with him. I realized as I was working on him that the back of the stage would look better recolored to match the curtains. I am going to reupload my Play House after making this change. Even the projects that don't work out teach you something.
*My second entry is the firefighter, which I spent a fraction of the time on, but allowed me to make a cheeky remark, so *worth* it.

Norn, I should explain why the firefighter pic was for you. The sim who is the firefighter was also the cowboy farmer from the second post. You said he was a good looking sim, so as a gift I was going to upload his sims file for you. Then when violin boy and OMSP were driving me crazy, I distracted myself by making the farmer into a firefighter, cause- firefighters. I didn't think he would be my second entry, but then I thought any pin-up calendar contest should have a firefighter representing.

Norn, I absolutely love your December entry. Little Lou has replaced Bonehilda as funniest entry. I think she's a lock. Also, your July entry is WOKE. First it features an older sim. Then it says "Ms." July.

Crowkeeper, I looked up the Golden Ratio Principle. I do recognize it, the unifying theory about aesthetically pleasing visual arts, musical harmony, and even math. Thank you for this!

When I realized what the randomizer named my sim, I had to upload him.