Rocketboy and Gears: The Missing Case of Candi Kanes

The McKee Photography Studio Christmas Card

We just finished creating our 20th studio Happy Holidays card. My boys, Rocketboy and Gears, decided back in January of 2019 that we needed to do a noir scene this year.

The back story for the book cover went kind of nuts. There was a story line involving a Mr. S Claus’s illegitimate daughter, an addiction to something called icicles and more mayhem than would normally be in old books that the card series is loosely based on.

So, we did have to rein things in a bit…

Anyway, the background was created in Blender and we did a little shopping for some props. The 1962 CD V-715 Radiological Survey Meter in Gears hand was purchased this summer at a flea market. And, Rocketboy’s drill was picked up a few years back.

Never know when you might need props like this!

I hope you enjoy it and we at the studio are looking forward to a rockin’ 2020!

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

Christmas card 2019
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back-of-card
rocketboy and gears 2019
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It was a thoughtful night in the old office.

With the wrap up of the last case, Rocketboy and Gears were tired, but satisfied. They were looking forward to a nice, relaxing December break.

“It sure is quiet,” said Gears distractedly.

He picked up his Victoreen Radiological Survey Meter from the shelf and started daydreaming about the last time they had it out on a case.

Rocketboy carefully finished polishing his Model 549 Electric Drill, while leaning back in his comfy chair.

He set it down on the desk, next to his cheeseburger, and looked over at Gears.

“You know who we haven’t heard from yet this year?” he asked.

“Yeah, I know,” Gears responded. “But, surely he can’t need us every year!”

Just then, the boys heard the floor in the hallway outside their office door creak.

Check out the entire series!

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 hates ties!
Rocketboy hates ties!
Christmas plans 2019
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Christmas text plans 2019
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How long does it take?

It seems to take a whole year to bring it all together!

The original concept for the photo manipulation started back in January of 2019 this time.

I started building the 3d set in Blender back in September and didn’t get to finish it until just last week.

The shoot portion of the production lasted about 2 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 set
Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 6.48.49 PM_web_01
Christmas 2019 1962 CD V-715 Radiological Survey Meter
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Noir background christmas 2019
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20 years, eh?

Yep. Another year in the can and already there is gossip about what to do in 2020.

Heck, I’ll keep making them as long as the Boys want to keep playing!

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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