Hey there everyone, welcome to Halo Spotlight. The place where Halo community creations are put front and centre. In fanart features, we highlight artists and their creations.
In this fanart feature, we’re showing off some amazing examples of toy photography by Red Construx. Red Construx, as the name suggests, uses Mega Construx Halo figures and some photo editing to bring Halo to life.
We asked Red Construx to give us some background on how they got into toy photography, and this is what they had to say:
“I first got into toy photography about seven years ago, and it sort of intersects with when I jumped into Halo. I got Halo Wars for Christmas in 2013, bought a few [then called] Mega Bloks sets in early 2014, and became super fascinated with Halo’s universe: its story, its vehicles… everything about it. I was a big Star Wars nerd in middle school, so Halo was right up my alley. I continued the series with Halo 4 and Reach in 2015 and the original trilogy with the MCC and Halo 5 in 2016.–Red Construx
I’d set up little dioramas on a car table in my room and take pictures of them with a little pocket Canon camera, trying to make every figure’s pose game-accurate and realistic. In 2015, I went to Mega Bloks’ website to see if there was a way to share my hobby, and I found a “Fan Gallery” where people could submit their pics and projects. I spent a while updating my “dashboard” with what I thought were my best pics.
I spent a lot of free time in 2016 making new posts and getting better at using that pocket camera – lots of time was spent manipulating its flash to give my diorama photos different effects, as well as figuring out new angles and perspectives to capture dioramas I’d put together nearly every weekend. In early 2017, I started my Instagram to share my photos after being inspired by some of the community’s biggest pages; I began with posting some of my old pics, then started taking new photos to add to the community.
I was slowly connecting with other Halo fans and the IG toy photography community overall and having fun with it, too. I also jumped into photo editing that year: first with PicsArt on my phone, and then moving to GIMP (introduced to it in a photography class during the fall). I would spend hours learning how to navigate GIMP’s software and testing out different tools, and I became absolutely fascinated with photo editing.
In 2018, I really started the “jump” into what my photos look like now. I got a DLSR camera for Christmas, and that let me experiment with more advanced camera settings. I learned how to capture practical effects (like flying dirt/debris) with high shutter speeds and figured out the basis of my editing style. I’ve been having lots of fun since then, and even though I don’t always have the time or patience for shooting a new photo, editing is something I always look forward to (and is, quite honestly, my favorite part of this hobby).”
A massive thanks to Red Construx for giving us such an in depth breakdown on how they got into Toy Photography. It’s always cool to hear how artists got started on their creative journeys. Don’t worry, we’re showing off the artwork too, so please enjoy 7 pieces by Red Construx below.
Contention (October 2019)
Hijack (March 2020)
Momentum (November 2018)
Morning Outing (September 2020)
Rumble (May 2020)
Sword Dance (February 2021)
Verdure (May 2021)
Along with sending over those 7 incredible pieces of artwork and the above background information, Red Construx also sent over their creative process. Much like the background information, it’s very in depth, so please enjoy it below:
“My creative process is a bit weird for me to explain; I don’t think I’ve ever really opened up to anyone about my “process”, and I haven’t really thought of what “it” is… I just do it. I guess if I were to pick a single word to sum it up, it would be fervent; I sometimes don’t want to admit it, but I’m a really emotion-driven person, and that translates to shooting and editing (especially editing). Once I get going, it’s hard for me to stop because of how much of an escape it is for me.–Red Construx
Taking a photo can take anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour. I usually don’t think of what I want the photo to look like until the day of taking it, and I find that both helpful and a detriment. I used to have a good muscle memory of how I’d line up my shots, but I feel like I’ve lost that over time… nowadays, the process of taking a photo is kind of varied from shot-to-shot, and I don’t really know how else to explain it. For camera settings, I find myself using a shutter speed around 1250 if practical effects are used, and I usually try to go for an f-number of F8 to F11 for my backgrounds.
Editing is much more defined; whenever it is that I decide to start, I pick a slew of songs on Spotify to queue up, and I just go. The music I listen to kind of gauges my energy throughout the editing process, and I spend just as much time focusing on the details of each song (its lyrics, beats, strings, etc., and how they all connect) as I do with the details of my photo.
In general, I’m open-minded to trying out different types of music, but when I’m editing, I usually stick to the same few artists, and I sprinkle in some Halo tracks here and there, too (the OSTs from Halo 4 and Halo 2: Anniversary are mainstays on my playlist). I get so in the zone, and it involves a lot of intense mouse clicking as I add new “strokes” of the software’s tools.
I’ve learned to compartmentalize the editing process into A) each figure and B) the background as a whole. That helps a ton if I’m breaking up an edit into chunks over the course of a week. My usual toolset in GIMP include “Burn”, “Dodge”, “Airbrush”, and “Clone”; increase brightness of the background with Dodge; correcting chipped paint, strands of dust, and other annoyances with Clone; using both Burn and Dodge to darken shadows and colours and enhance sun reflections, and using a combo of Dodge and Airbrush to create a glowing/glinting/brightened effect [for visors, energy swords, Promethean hard light, plasma grenades, and other potential light sources].
Currently (and for much of the past year), I’ve been teaching myself how to use Airbrush for creating light reflections on surrounding surfaces, and I can’t wait for what else I’ll learn how to do in the software.”
This has quite easily been the most extensive Fanart Feature we’ve had on Halo Spotlight yet, so a big thank you to Red Construx for taking the time to give us so much information for the piece.
Do you have a favourite piece out of the ones shown above? If so, you can let us know on our Twitter. Not had a chance to read any other features yet? Head over to the new spotlights section of the site for all the most recent Halo community content.
We also have weekly pieces over on Halo United, so be sure to go and check out their awesome site too. If you missed the last one, you can find it here.
Want to see your Halo content or creation on the site? Check out the post submissions section, which outlines what you’ll need to do to get your piece in front of the spotlight. That’s all for now folks, so I’ll see you all next time.