Rocketboy and Gears: In Train-ing!

The McKee Photography Studio Christmas Card

Yes, Rocketboy and Gears, those lovable scamps, are back in our 19th McKee Photo Studio Holiday Card.

It’s really hard for me to believe that we have been creating these cards with my kids for 19 years. But, Hunter is now 19, so I guess we have!

We put together a little behind the scenes view of the fun and mayhem that goes into producing one of these images.

I hope you enjoy it and we at the studio are looking forward to a rockin’ 2019!

Be sure to check out more behind the scenes and Christmas Cards from past adventures.

Rocketboy and Gears in In Train-ing!
Rocketboy and Gears in In Train-ing!
In side the McKee Photo Studio Card
Back of McKee Photo Studio Card

“Dude!” Rocketboy exclaimed. “Did you happen to notice the train?”

“Yeah. Kind of hard to miss,” Gears exclaimed.

“I didn’t know you could drive a motorcycle. It looks like fun.”

“Well, do you want to trade spots now?”

The wind from the speed of the engine was pushing the fog around, making it hard for Gears to see where they were going. He kept the chuffing sound of the engine on his left and watched for pot holes.

“Do you see it yet?”

“You are not going to make another Yeti joke, are you?” Rocketboy sighed loudly.

“No, of course not. We already did that one.* Besides, there it is — on the other side of the tracks!”

“Gun it, Gears! You drive. I’ll catch!”

The big old motor bike roared to life as it hit the embankment and Rocketboy felt himself floating weightless out of his seat.

*See The Coal Case File, an RB Adventure #15.
. . . .

Card #19 - Behind the Scenes

Rocketboy and Gears FAQ

How did this get started?

When Gears, er… Hunter, was born, we wanted to create a traditional christmas card to send to family and friends. But, I was not a fan, creatively speaking, of the standard generic family portrait. So, my wife and I collaborated to create something a little more interesting. It kind of snowballed…

Rocketboy and Gears relaxing on set
Liv and Shay pull the strings for the tie and hat, while Hunter holds on for dear life!
Reviewing the shot on the laptop

How long does it take?

This year, we started concepting for the McKee Photo Studio Card back in mid-August. I knew I had some 3d assets from other projects that I wanted to play with. And, the thought of adding the boys to a high energy jump in front of a train was really exciting!

The 3d set took a couple of days of tweaking and texturing before we started to get the old Hardy Boys/Age of Adventure feel.

The shoot portion of the production lasted about 3 hours, after discussing props and costumes the week before.

Final retouching was about 5 hours.

How do you make your sets?

Since 90% of the image is digitally created in Blender, the rest is about lighting and getting the pose right. We lined things up in the camera with a test render, using CaptureOne‘s Overlay feature.

After that, we worked on position and expression.

Blender 3d Christmas 2018
Maddie going for the angle!
Post shoot lunch!

19 years, eh?

Yep. Hard to believe. And, the boys are starting to draft their friends to help out!

So, I owe a huge shout out to Maddie for shooting and editing the behind the scenes video for me. And, to Liv for her on set help!

Thank you and Happy Holidays to all!

Check out the entire series!

Get in touch

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season!

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