Doing something to challenge the typical routine every once in a while can be a great way to encourage or even reignite your creativity, and one of my favourite ways is to do a "30 Day Challenge" like the one one currently being run by virtual photography community page, GamerGram.
For anyone who may not have come across one before, the idea is to submit photo mode captures to different daily themes each day for 30 days. Shots can be old or new and from any game, but to up the stakes a little, I've decided to take it on using 100% brand new shots taken with a game and photo mode that I have never used before.
The game I chose is Arkane Studios' great looking and time-bending assassination shooter "DEATHLOOP", not least because the photo mode that was added in the game's recent update puts freedom and creativity right up front. An appealing art style and flexibility to capture a wide range of shots seems like the perfect way to tackle the challenge, so stay tuned to this post to see how I get on...
- DEATHLOOP // ARKANE STUDIOS -
1 // Black & White:
A perfect opening theme for a game that oozes style. For this shot, I found some useful downlighters to stand under and took immediate advantage of the character posing and outfit options.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 1 // BLACK & WHITE -
2 // Portrait:
I should probably have looked at the Day 2 theme before doing my previous shot, but I guess there is always room for more portraits. To change things up a bit, I went with Julianna as my stylish model this time and found some help from a huge nearby spot lamp.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 2 // PORTRAIT -
3 // Fauna:
Not the easiest given the near-total absence of any living animals in "DEATHLOOP", so this one needed a looser interpretation. Cue one of the large wolf-styled photo booths outside Alexis' party in Updaam and the 3D filter for a bit of extra fun.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 3 // FAUNA -
4 // Sunrise, Sunset:
Taken right at the start of another of the game's potentially endless loops, this location is just a few steps up the cliff from the beach for a cleaner composition. The rest was just a matter of playing with the various image editing options to find an interesting colour, oh and note the matching gun skin to finish that off.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 4 // SUNRISE -
5 // Silhouette:
For this theme I was expecting to default to placing Colt / Julianna in front of a large and powerful light source, but then I spotted this opportunity while infiltrating Harriet's ritual. Hanging onto the hook of a crane and about to meet an untimely demise, this faceless victim will be back making masks tomorrow...maybe.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 5 // SILHOUETTE -
6 // Landscape:
One great thing about having a particularly generous range of camera movement is being able to pull right back for expansive shots of the surroundings. With lots of interesting spots to discover, why stop at just one?
- DEATHLOOP DAY 6 // LANDSCAPE -
7 // Emotions:
I really wanted to play off the two main characters against each other here and although you can't place both in one scene, I did think of another way. With the camera fixed facing a 2-tone wall, I simply used the character options to place and pose Coly & Julianna on opposite sides in separate shots and then composited the two. Hopefully with a look of a real interaction.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 7 // EMOTIONS -
8 // Transportation:
The game may not feature any usable vehicles, but there are a number of them dotted around the place. My favourites are these trucks and I wanted to use a full collection of shots to show off their extremely cool retro-futuristic look.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 8 // TRANSPORTATION -
9 // Architecture:
With a lot of architectural styles to choose from in "DEATHLOOP", I actually wanted to go with an obvious choice here. This tower stands out from all angles, but it was a square-on view from the base that I liked the most, plus just enough perspective to give the impression of height.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 9 // ARCHITECTURE -
10 // Framed:
As soon as I walked into this darkened room I knew what I wanted for this theme. The framed window dominated the shot while Julianna is (sub)framed within it almost in silhouette. Light from the window and the resulting shadows add a little foreground interest.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 10 // FRAMED -
11 // Seasons:
With just one looping day to work with, you might not expect much seasonal variation, but fortunately it just so happens to snow in the afternoon. Being careful to stay out of sight, it was fun to see these two Goons putting the finishing touches to their snowman.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 11 // SEASONS -
12 // Street:
No doubt anyone who has done a loop or two will recognise this street, looking its absolute best at night time. With a selection of different angles, I hope this set manages to capture the feeling of the location.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 12 // STREET -
13 // Symmetry:
Another case of heading out in the hope of finding inspiration, these two giant O's were an opportunity I just had to explore with a low exposure setting and bright camera flash helping them to stand out from the dark surroundings. Don't miss Colt posing in there for an added element of symmetry too.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 13 // SYMMETRY -
14 // Layers:
Musical instruments are there to be played with, and the multi-layered keys of this harpsichord were a perfect fit for this theme. One abstract composition later and some suitably vibrate colour saturation, it was job done.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 14 // LAYERS -
15 // Juxtaposition:
Positioning a character and a goon face-to-face like this is relatively easy with the character placement options, so this shot was mostly a matter of finding an interesting goon and leading them to a cool background. The gold & silver colours are also deliberately used to play off against each other.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 15 // JUXTAPOSITION -
16 // Bird's Eye View:
The "DEATHLOOP" camera is great for this with it's huge range and (almost) vertical tilt angle, but to make things more interesting, I thought it would be fun to align four shots to make up one larger image. PS - the shifting perspective on buildings is a nightmare when doing this!
- DEATHLOOP DAY 16 // BIRD'S EYE VIEW -
17 // Human Form:
Whether headless mannequins are classified as human matters not, I couldn't resist using them and their scattered body parts as my subject for this theme. For anyone wondering, they can be found in storage upstairs in the Updaam Library.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 17 // HUMAN FORM -
18 // Reflection:
It was a surprise to see how few reflections are used in the game, even when running in the ray tracing mode, so simple box map reflections on the sniper rifle scope were pretty much the best bet. After finding an interesting one, I finished the image by shooting against a two-toned background that compliments Julianna's outfit.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 18 // REFLECTION -
19 // Colour Pop:
With bright and vibrant colours almost everywhere, the challenge here was to match the colour palette across several locations while also including some neutral tones to make the stronger colours stand out.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 19 // COLOUR POP -
20 // Patterns:
There are obviously some talented pattern artists at Arkane Studios going by how many walls are adorned with attractive designs. A couple of those appear here, along with some other ways that patterns can be found in the environment.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 20 // PATTERNS -
21 // Horror:
Not wanting to depict excess violence or gore, this shot tries to capture a more ominous and creepy feel. Using the very flexible image edit options, I was able to turn a brightly lit scene into something much darker and give this mask an intimidating look that hopefully feels like the cover of a psychological horror film.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 21 // HORROR -
22 // Protagonist:
It was always going to be a shot of Colt for this one, but I wanted it to be more than just another portrait. Set against some smashed up TV's for a neutral background, I paired up a vibrant suit with matching guns and then aimed for a composition that emphasised both to depict him as a very stylish shooter.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 22 // PROTAGONIST -
23 // Night Time:
Handily "DEATHLOOP" lets you skip straight to night time and revisit any of the 4 main areas, so going out in the dark was the easy part. Heading over to the giant loop-inducing ring in search of an interesting silhouette, I ended up using this antenna structure as though it was a big metal tree while the camera freedom made it possible to align the moon directly above it.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 23 // NIGHT TIME -
24 // Sepia:
Time to find another spotlight and use it for a fashion-style shoot. The clean lines and detailed textures of this particular outfit worked really well here and, although there is no sepia filter in the photo mode, the highly adjustable colour and contrast options made it fairly straightforward to create that vintage look.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 24 // SEPIA -
25 // Flora:
The idea with this set was to find a few locations where I could contrast some of the potted plants with their man-made surroundings, all while trying to capture a sort of catalogue / brochure style. Just ignore the couple of leaves that have managed to clip through things they shouldn't.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 25 // FLORA -
26 // Motion:
With no motion blur to work with, this shot was a test of how to portray movement in a totally still image. The more dynamic character poses were always going to be useful, and I decided to use this laser puzzle as something that naturally conjures a feeling of agile action.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 26 // MOTION -
27 // Body of Water:
There is a bit of a trick here in that the main object in the shot is obviously not a body of water, but the fact that it is a buoy and that we all know where they are found, means that the water is somehow more prominent and attractive than it would have been on its own.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 27 // BODY OF WATER -
28 // Antagonist:
Although it was tempting to chase down one of the other Visionaries, Julianna always seemed like the right choice as the main and most vocal antagonist. Using another combination of style and menace, the aim was to capture a visual representation of a "femme fatale".
- DEATHLOOP DAY 28 // ANTAGONIST -
29 // Sci-Fi:
One of only a couple of occasions when I shot an image in advance of the daily theme, the inspiration for this came when I saw this AI sat around just waiting for something to happen. Actually covered in gold paint in-game, the ever useful colour filters and saturation let me create the metallic look of a sci-fi robot.
- DEATHLOOP DAY 29 // SCI-FI -
30 // Minimalism:
After a really enjoyable 30 day challenge that led me to take some shots that I am quite proud of, it seemed fitting to end things from behind the microphone. Isolated against a dark backdrop but with just enough to tease the surroundings, the shot ticks off the final theme and leaves only for me to drop the mic and exit stage-left!
- DEATHLOOP DAY 30 // MINIMALISM -
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