Okay, I'm practically famous for ranting about figure scales. It's an age old argument where the public are usually wrong but don't know it (controversial huh?). This is not a rant about that though I'll probably get back to it one of these days...
This is about photography. In particular, the photographing of miniatures for advertising purposes. There's a bit of a trend out there and it's not really an ideal one. One of the difficulties of sculpting minis is the 'conventions of scale'. This is to say that on a 28mm figure we don't accurately recreate the proportions of a real human. At 28mm the ankles would be too thin, eyes would be impossible to see and weapons would generally be ludicrously small and thin. The reality looks wrong and causes problems with casting. So, we exaggerate. Minis have big heads and hands and the facial features are blown up. Depending on the sculptor this is done to a greater or lesser extent. Some figures have a very chunky look, for example many of the historical producers work like this. The sculptor Tom Meier is known for the other end of the extreme with figures that seem at a glance to be total reality whereas they are still exaggerated, just to a much lesser extent. I understand Tom's general ethos is to get as close to reality as is practical.
Now this is all very well but with the advent of cheaper and cheaper high quality digital cameras we are often showing photographs of the figures many times larger than the figure is in reality. It was a recent figure of Tom's that brought this very much to my attention.
You can see Tom's blog here
and the figure is on the blog entry for 15th January 2011.
This a true 25mm figure sculpted to fit with an older range and when we saw the pictures it's head was too large. Obviously so. Except it really wasn't. Tom explained that the figure in reality looked fine. The problem lay in the very over-sized picture of the sculpt. But this happens so much these days; figures being shown so much larger than they actually are and it amplifies the scale conventions and makes them look wrong.
This phenomena has had a curious effect on sculptors. I know I'm moving ever more in this worrisome direction and can see a lot of others doing so either consciously or subconsciously. We're sculpting to look good in the photo more than we are sculpting to look good in reality. This is not a good road to go down.
I've seen it many times. Beautiful high res shots of an immaculately sculpted figure that looks amazing and when you get it... well... yes it's still amazing but it's so skinny and tiny and without physical presence. These are often the 'fear figures' I have spoken of before. We get them and the level of detail and reality is sometimes too much.
I think we need to try and reel ourselves in on the size of the photos we show so that minis can give a better representation of themselves as to their size. Not suggesting actual size as computer monitors lack the pixels per inch count to look good at that size. But you can see them pretty well at twice their height, we don't really need to go to four times or more. It's fun to see those closeups at times but it should probably not be the first way you see a figure.
So be reasonable with your pic sizes.
Feel free to argue with me at your convenience...