The book has been in heavy production for some time now. I am working to meet a self-imposed deadline, which will be tough to accomplish.
One of the more difficult aspects of production is processing the thousands upon thousands of images. I’ve been stressing about the clipping paths (to silhouette the figures) for a long time.
Way back in May of this year, I got a nice Email from Dean Verge, who goes by the name Vrad on the Mego Museum Message Boards. Dean started contributing images for the book, as he is one of the lucky few who owns an example of the rare “Canvas Shorts” Batman outfit.
Then, on June 17, 2006, Dean casually Emailed me. “Just a thought, if you need any help cleaning up pix in Photoshop or whatnot, let me know and I’ll give you a hand if you need it.”
Given my concern about the sheer quantity of image processing before me, I was very interested. But being the anal task-master that I am, I pressed Dean. Hard. “Do you know how to create quality clipping paths?” I asked. “I shoot in RAW format, so you must have Photoshop CS2 to open the files,” I demeaned (like a total prick). Actually, Dean didn’t have CS2 at the time, but his offer was genuine. He even sent me a sample clipping path, which was wonderful.
I considered the offer for some time, and ultimately declined. Several generous and talented Mego heads had offered to help, and I passed graciously but uniformly.
On July 18, 2006, Dean Emailed me to say he’d acquired a copy of Photoshop CS2, and that he was still game. I finally acquiesced to an offer I just couldn’t refuse. Dean had proven himself to be a meticulous craftsman, and something told me I could trust him.
On July 27 2006, I Emailed Dean and told him I really wanted his assistance. In the Email, I expressed my concern over the hard work he would do for absolutely no compensation. I knew exactly how much work I would be throwing at him, and for what? I was convinced that he’d scream “Uncle!” shortly after commencing work, and I wouldn’t blame him a bit.
After firing off the Email, I decided I already knew Dean would say “let’s do it,” so I prepared a Zip archive of eight “revolution” (360 degree turns) shots of a Mego Thing. I named the archive “dean_thing360.zip” and awaited his response.
Dean replied exactly how I’d hoped, saying “Now shut up and shoot me over some pix. My wife loves Thing so shoot me a pic of him if you can. What you should do is put however many 360 shots together in a folder named: ‘Thing 360′ or something and load it on your FTP and I’ll drag the folder onto my computer and do one full set of pix.”
The coincidence was not lost on me. Right then and there, it was clear that this was meant to be. That night, I called Dean around 11pm, not realizing he lives in the furthest Eastern reaches of Canada; it was 3:00 in the morning for him. Oops. Way to make a good first impression, imp.
Shockingly, Dean was up (I think his cat had run away, and he was on the hunt) so we talked.
I thought the “Thing” thing was weird, but during our conversation, Dean mentioned having done drawings for CoolJapaneseToys.com a few years earlier. Dean is an accomplished illustrator and graphic designer (note the ass-kickin’ Robin Hood drawing at right, that he recently drew).
Dean finished his thought, and I asked, “You know that I co-founded CoolJapaneseToys.com, right?” I struggled to reconcile why he’d mentioned it, but assumed he already knew about my involvement. It turns out Micronauts was his subject of choice in those drawings. He hadn’t known about my involvement. We talked about it and it simultaneously dawned on us that we had already worked together, years before. “Duuuude,” I whispered. “When you submitted drawings to Cool Japanese Toys, you sent those pictures to me.”
Dean laughed and said, “Well, I guess this is just meant to be.”
Indeed. Welcome aboard, Dean. Thank you for all of the hard work you have done, and continue to do.