Over President’s Weekend, Eric Lee, Rendy Lai, Jinggoy Montenejo, and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 2011 Animation on Display (AOD) cosplay convention for the second time in a row (you can see last year’s report here and photos here) and we had a blast. Animation on Display is an annually held two-day cosplay/anime convention in San Francisco with attendance steadily growing every year. Traditionally held before WonderCon, Cherry Blossom Festival, and Fanime, AOD is the first major San Francisco Bay Area cosplay & anime convention for the year and is actually the first for us in a long time as we didn’t do many anime conventions last year because of weddings. This year’s honored guest include Robet Clotworthy (voice of Jim Raynor in StarCraft and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty), James Harper (voice of Emperor Arcturus Mengsk in StarCraft, StarCraft: Brood War, and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty), Niel Kaplan (voice of Tychus Findlay in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty), Ian McConville & Matthew Boyd, Kevin McKeever, Ken Pontac, Christina Vee, and Tommy Yune. There were also a number of panel discussion & performance events such as Making StarCraft 2, Adobe Lightroom for Cosplayer and Cosplay Photographers (presented by Fox Berry and Neo Evans), Choosing Fabric for Cosplay (presented by Bekalou), Advanced Cosplay Photography (presented by Oscar Cwajbaum), Yukie Dong’s Anime Music Live Show!, Masquerade, Swap Meet, and much more. Also this year, they had a dedicated free photo staging area in the Dealer’s hall complete with a muslin and modeling lights to get in some professional looking shots!
Last year for Animation on Display, we scheduled a number of private cosplay photo shoots and for this year, we did something a bit different in that we didn’t schedule any photo shoots, but rather just walked around. We did manage to get in a couple of group photo shoots.
Photobombed Ran into the ever amazing Rachael Masako Ing, cosplaying, with none other than Sharon Peng, aka Heulangel, (whom I’ve been Facebook buddies with for like ever but never had the opportunity to meet in person):
Did this group shoot from the anime series Ouran High School Host Club with Erskine Noel:
Then did another group photo shoot with Sharon Peng’s group:
Did a shoot with Anna and her group:
And finished off with Naxul and Reiko doing a photo shoot from the anime series Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. For this shoot, I had the chance to play with Jinggoy’s Lumodi beauty dish, which was pretty cool. Also these pics show that you can turn a boring hotel wall into something more interesting with a few speedlights.
Lumodi Beauty Dish Initial Thoughts
My first impression of the Lumodi beauty dish was it felt cheap because it was constructed of mainly plastic, but it didn’t take long to realize it was made lightweight on purpose so that it wouldn’t weigh down the head of the Speedlight. This simplifies the design versus the DIY beauty dish that need some sort of mounting bracket meaning one less item to lose. The biggest question is light quality and how well does it work. It works great. Photos 2-6 from the Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt photo shoot were taken using the Lumodi and you can see how it gives a nice punch of evenly spread light. For the individual portrait shots, I had Jinggoy hold the Lumodi just right out of frame to really get that nice soft lighting you see.
As you can see from below, with a couple/few Speedlights and a colored gel, you can turn something boring into something exciting.
You can also view all the photos in our 2011 Animation on Display gallery here. If you are a cosplayer or cosplay photographer, please be sure to visit our other site: CosplayPhotographers.com and also like our Cosplay Photographers Facebook page for continual updates! Also a special thank you for Dominic Nguyen for having us back each year!