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TSCC: Custom Action Figures - Packaging

I love doing package design. Maybe because I'm a total sucker for good packaging myself. Since I had these cool Sarah Connor Chronicles action figures sitting here looking all bored, I decided to design them one. Unfortunately I was rather limited in my graphics choices because I wanted to do this project in full print quality (in case I want to construct it later). The only images I had that were high enough resolution were the publicity stills released by FOX way back before season 1 started. Using those I was able to make the card 6"x9" like I wanted. I could probably make packages for John and Cameron too, but that would be it until I can get my hands on more high-res pics. For now, though, there's just a Sarah package. And through the magic of PhotoShop, I was able to sort of "glue" her onto the card to simulate a finished product:

If you post this photo anywhere, please credit me and link back to this post.


( 15 comments — Add a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)
Dude! That's frickin' sweet. Looks like genuine action figure packaging.
Aug. 10th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks TN. This is the kind of stuff I do IRL, so combining those skills with my years of action figure handling and my love of the show, I had to make packaging!
Aug. 10th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
Of course, this makes me wonder what's on the back of the box. Sarah's vital statistics, a list of accessories and kung fu grips and pictures of other figures in the set?
Aug. 11th, 2008 02:26 am (UTC)
Funny you should ask. I'm contemplating the back this evening. I think I'm also going to forge ahead with packages for all 7 of the figures.
Aug. 11th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
Aug. 10th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
Excellent stuff, I can't wait to see the rest of the figures in their original packaging, they could be worth "millions." Love the little details, series 1, number 1, and of course, the choking hazard warning! The Hi-res of the standing Cameron would be a good picture for Cameron's package, if you don't have it I can send a link.
Aug. 10th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
I'm sure have that picture - I think I have almost all of the hi-res pics they released. My original plan was to make this package be the basic package for everyone and then have an action shot (screencap) to the left of the figure (overlapping the big Sarah picture) for each character's package. But the quality of the screencaps looked really bad next to the hi-res photos of the package so I backed away from that plan for now.

Also, it was such a pain to put the action figure of Sarah on there (I had to do a lot of manipulating of the photo to make the action figure look like it was sealed on there) that I didn't feel like doing the others right away. Next time I'm bored I'll probably do the others - maybe after the DVD comes out and I can get better quality screen caps.
Aug. 10th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
You continue to be made of win, Roxy.

Just more awesome with every post by my approximation. Even kudos from the staff writers?

That, my friend, is utter jealousy you don't see on my face (due to my chosen medium of communication).
Aug. 10th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
I wasn't even aware of any acknowledgement from the writers, so I immediately had to go find it. I did all this for my own fun and to share with the fans, but I was also really hoping TSCC people would see the figures. That's too cool!

Aug. 10th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
It is highly cool, hence my jealousy. :)

It really is awesome what you did.
Aug. 10th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
I can't argue with the packaging. Now, I kinda want them to make official figures with this backing.
Aug. 11th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
I doubt they actually will make figures. Not many TV shows do. Actually, I'll brightside that - if they never produce action figures for TSCC then I'll have the only set ever made (and the exclusive package design) :D

If everyone is going to be at Comic-Con again next year, I'll have to package these up and go and try get the cast to sign them. That would make them truly awesome.
Jun. 5th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
Awesome work!
Hey its danofsteel from twitter...u told me to msg u on here...so how do u do this stuff in the programs?


Jun. 5th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Awesome work!
HI Dan

There was no way I could explain the process in 140 characters on Twitter. I would've been twittering sentences all night ;)

The package design is a lot simpler than it probably looks. I had some high resolution images of the show's logo and the picture of Sarah and the endo skull (all isolated on transparent backgrounds). So that's half the battle right there.

I built the whole thing in PhotoShop, but I did make a couple of bits in Illustrator and paste them in: The hook shape for the top of the card, the warning icon next to the age warning at the bottom left and the fake logo below the action figure. All of those could have been made in PS, but I hate PS's vector tools. Since I know Illustrator like the back of my hand, it was quicker for me to make those parts that way. If you're not familiar with vector, that's the stuff you make with the pen tool or the shapes tool in PhotoShop (and it's what Illustrator is all about).

Okay, onto the PhotoShop work. Not sure how detailed you want me to be, but if you're anything like me, you want to know as much as possible...

Step 1 - Black background.
I used the rounded corner rectangle tool to make the basic shape of the card. I don't recall what corner radius I used, but it was probably like 10 or 12.

Step 2 - Endo skull.
I opened the endo skull photo, sized it, cropped it and dragged it onto my working design. From there, I used a big eraser (probably 0 hardness too) to fade out the bottom, then lowered the opacity of the layer way down to 18%. The trouble with that is the red eyes don't stand out and I wanted glowing red eyes!

To remedy that, I duplicated the layer (put the opacity back up to 100% for the duplicate layer) then selected the eye with the circular marquee tool, inverted the selection and deleted, leaving just the eye. I probably feathered the selection by a few pixels before inverting it. It was a little too bright in contrast to the endo skull, so I dropped the opacity of the eye down a bit to 80%.

Step 3 - TSCC logo
I've actually got the logo layered on there in 3 times. The bottom layer is just a blur. I did a Motion Blur and then reduced the that layer to 50% opacity. The logo on top of that one has a black color overlay and a black outer glow ("Darken" blend mode). The top layer of the three is the basic logo. So the end result is the logo with a blackish fade and a faint blur behind it.

Step 4 - Sarah's photo
This was an easy part. I just sized the photo and dragged it in. I messed with brightness, hue, etc, but I couldn't tell you now what exactly I did. I just fiddled until it had the right look for the card.

Step 5 - Red bar
I made the red bar for the character name with the rectangle shape tool (then used the direct selection tool to move an anchor point and give it the angled edge.

Step 6 - Text & info
I typed and positioned the various bits of text and also pasted in the little warning icon and the fake manufacturer logo.

Step 7 - The hook
The hook is just a white shape I made in Illustrator and pasted in. Once positioned, I gave it an inner shadow effect to simulate the cut-out. If I actually wanted the hook cut-out, I probably would have made the original cardback shape (rounded rectangle in Illustrator), then cut-out the hook shape from it and pasted it onto my first layer.

Jun. 5th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Awesome work!
Step 8 - The action figure
If this was just a package design, I would've simply layered on a white rounded corner rectangle (using rounded rectangle shape tool) and left it at that. But since I wanted to simulate the action figure actually being there, I had to do some photo work.

I took the Sarah action figure and her accessories, Funtacked to them a white board and taped a plastic "bubble" over them (I used an action figure protector case for the bubble). After snapping a photo, I did lots of work on it — contrast and stuff. Despite the fact that it was a real photo of an action figure under plastic, it was hard to make it look right (still doesn't quite, but close enough). Then I size the picture and dragged it onto the package design.

To make the bubble look glued on, I needed a translucent flange around it, so I used the rounded rectangle tool to make a white shape that I then lowered to 50% opacity. I also had to clear a section of the bubble (photo) away along the bottom so you could see the flange though it (I probably used the marquee tool and the eraser to do that).

Step 9 - Glare
If this was just a package design, I wouldn't have done this step, but to make this look like an actual photo of an action figure package, I needed to put some glare on the card to simulate light hitting it (and sort of match with the glare on the action figure pic). So on a layer below the bubble, I used a large white brush with probably a 0 hardeness and really low opacity to do a quite wipe across the card (right about at the level of the action figure's legs).

Step 10 - Final adjustments
Looking at the finished product, that's how it's built from the bottom layer to the top layer, but I doubt any of that is in the order I actually did it (I'm never that organized when I work). I did plenty of tinkering once all the elements were there. I might have had to resize the big Sarah photo or move her, the logo and the red bar around until everything fit together well and I found it visually appealing.

And there you have it!

Edited at 2009-06-05 08:34 pm (UTC)
( 15 comments — Add a comment )


roxy burglar
Roxy Bisquaint

Roxy Bisquaint...

Is self-indulgent. Over thinks everything. Tweets too much. Looks really good in these jeans. Wants to eat butterscotch. Makes herself laugh. Obsesses about aging. Does some crunches. Lives with two ghosts. Procrastinates daily. Measures once, cuts twice. Hates Foo Fighters. Drinks lots of coffee (keep it coming). Puts spiders outside. Brings balance to the force. Draws a perfect curve. Enjoys dark chocolate. Bangs on the drums. Always gets in the slow line. Orders from a menu. Hopes to be reincarnated. Speaks fluent Sarah Connor. Cooks tasty crack theory. Loves a good storm. Dances like a dork. Picks some locks. Tips well. Refuses to share the popcorn. Dreams about the future. Ignores the clock. Sings off key. Has a superpower. Shoots the paper bad guys. Needs some eyeliner. Goes to bed at dawn. Can't resist good smut. Quotes movie lines. Eats whipped yogurt. Lets the story tell itself. Maintains a rich fantasy life. Knows all the mysteries of the gods and of the universe.

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