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Who’s That ARtographer? – POKEDOGZELDA

Welcome to our series of Who’s that ARtographer! The next guest on the list is POKEDOGZELDA, our photographer hailing from Tampa Bay, FL!

What’s an ARtographer you might think? An ARtographer is an encompassing term coined by the community to define anyone who uses Pokémon GO’s AR functionalities, ranging from unedited GO Snapshots to Photoshopped AR images.

The reason I am introducing this series is to get to know these ARtographers better, not only who they are but also to get a better understanding of their shooting and editing techniques.

-POKEDOGZELDA-

POKEDOGZELDA
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ARTOGRAPHER

EQUIPMENT:Galaxy s9 / GoPro Hero 7 A
FAVORITE TECHNIQUE:Pokedog/Pokepet
MOST USED EDITING APP:Hitfilm Express / Photoshop / Snapseed App for Android

GETTING TO KNOW ME

Ash Ketzchup: Who’s behind the ARtographer? Please tell us something more about yourself.

POKEDOGZELDA: Zelda is a 7-year old pitbull mix. I’m her human, Scott. I am a musician, photographer, gamer, dog lover, and Pokemon-lover. We’re from Tampa, FL. I got into playing Pokemon GO because it was something fun to do while walking Zelda around the neighborhood. Up until the point I reached Level 40 in 2018, I would only open my Pokemon GO app if Zelda was with me. All the walking (before Adventure Sync), along for all catches and hatches, and the dog everyone wanted to pet at raids. By the time we reached Level 40 together, I was known around town as the guy who always brings his dog to Raids.

People didn’t even really know my name but everyone knew Zelda. I was posting AR pics of Zelda on our local Discord and getting a lot of good responses. Since I realized that Zelda made everyone around her happy, I had this idea to start a Youtube Channel and an Instagram Page about her. At the time I was only using a very cheap phone to record video and taking AR photos (before AR+ was available on Android Phones). Our pics and vids were cute, but it really starting catching on about 6 months later when I upgraded my phone and started taking really convincing shots of Zelda interacting with Pokémon.

Equipment

Ash Ketzchup: ARtographers love talking about their equipment. What are your most valuable assets?

POKEDOGZELDA: Galaxy s9 / GoPro Hero 7. A 12 x 12 ft Green Screen that I hang up in the yard to do Chroma-Key videos. Suptig LED GO Pro light for shooting at night, and sturdy Joby tripod and countless adapters to hold either the phone or Go Pro or both or multiple phones when needed. A Pocket-Juice portable battery charger. A bag of grain-free dog biscuits and some boiled chicken. I bet I’m the only one to list those last 2 things but they are actually quite critical to the process!

TECHNIQUES

Ash Ketzchup: What are your favorite shooting techniques?

POKEDOGZELDA: Pokedog/Pokepet is its own genre where you put live animals in an AR shot. Every single photo we post is a Pokedog shot. Zelda’s younger sister Daisy is getting pretty good at them as well.

We love all the styles and we even have a few of our own! For our unique style, I try to come up with the cutest and/or funniest scenarios that could happen between a Pokemon and a dog and tell a story with the picture. With enough chicken and treats, I can make Zelda look at a Pokemon, kiss a Pokemon, give a high five to a Pokemon, take a ride on a flying Pokemon, chase a Pokemon, run from a Pokemon, etc. I mostly shoot Pokemon in Buddy Mode as the animations are cuter and I can make Pokemon look or move in directions a little better than GO Snapshot mode.

Here’s the trick for working with a live animal: Any time I am shooting, I always record the screen in 60fps. Zelda and Pokemon only need to do their pose for a split second. I look at the screen-recorded footage frame by frame and find the absolute best frame of what I want Zelda (and Pokemon) to do and the screen shot that frame. We like doing themes popular for dog’s social media and applying them to Pokemon GO such as “Tongue Out Tuesday”. Sometimes I do videos exercising with Pokemon and we call it Pokemon Workout Out Wednesdays. With the help of Wildcatmom81, we coined a technique of making a comic strip post that we call pkmnARfunnies.

I also like to edit pictures of Zelda wearing Pikachu’s many different hats as they are released in Pokemon GO. Cuteness overload!   

We don’t just do still photos, I’d say my absolute favorite thing, and arguably fan-favorite thing  is making GO Snap videos. Using the techniques I mentioned, just with animations instead of still frames.  

We are highly influenced by innovative ARtographers like Hex Manfesto and Ash Ketzchup. One of my favorite challenges is to do a “doggo” version of all the popular styles.  I like “blackimon” especially for shinies and when I want the colors of the Pokemon and Zelda to really pop!  I like Growlithe Girl’s Nofilter Friday as it is fun to do something simple and still cute or funny (Most of our shots are highly edited otherwise). Minimon is pretty much a necessary technique if I need to edit multiple Pokemon into one photo.  The first Pokemon  is always truly taken in AR+ with Zelda.  Afterwards, I study the angles of the picture, and then place a Pokemon in my house and snap a photo of a Pokémon in the position needed, then I put my finger over the lens and snap. Then I erase the black background and add it to the photo. I use the same technique for green screen videos, just with the screen instead of my finger. I also edit a silhouette of the Pokemon to place beneath it to try to create a convincing shadow.

Bokéhmon: When the background is blurred and your subject is in focus. To achieve this in the app, after you spawn your Pokémon where you like it, place your hand or another object right in front of the lens and let it focus on that. Quickly remove the object and snap your Pokémon.

EDITING

Ash Ketzchup: What are your favorite editing apps?

POKEDOGZELDA: Hitfilm Express. A free video editing program I use on Windows 10. I drop the screen recorded footage into this program and zoom in and pick the best frames. It also lets me do most basic editing functions like brightness & contrast, sharpening, saturation and hue.

Photoshop, mostly to remove backgrounds.

Snapseed App for Android. Once I export my image from Hitfilm, I do the final edits in Snapseed. I like to mostly make bright, happy pictures that will give you a warm feeling. I normally boost the contrast, saturation. In many cases I adjust the temperature of the photo down. Its so sunny and hot in Florida and its overtly noticeable when I don’t do this! Sometimes I need to put to use a different frame of Zelda and Pokémon, and in that case, I cut the 2 pictures in half, usually through the grass or water, and paste them together. I use the “Heal” tool in Snapseed if I need to blend 2 photos together.

YOUR SCRAPBOOK

Ash Ketzchup: What’s your preferred platform to post GO Snapshots? Why?

POKEDOGZELDA: Instagram! People just love dogs on Instagram and we’ve managed to build a following. In addition to daily AR posts, I enjoy showing Zelda (and her 2 siblings: Yoshi and Daisy) in our day to day lives and our progress in Pokémon GO. I used to do weekly YouTube videos, but it is a lot of work. I found myself spending too much time editing video when I could be out playing Pokémon GO and spending time with the dogs. Now I save the Youtube for important things every once in a while. I still record myself and Zelda playing Pokémon GO every day, but it’s way quicker to just upload that stuff to Insta stories daily and get more views anyway.

Ash Ketzchup: Which photo are you most proud of?

POKEDOGZELDAThis one, because it represents another project.  I also like to make music.  I grew up listening to Weird Al Yankovic so I love making parody songs. I have applied this Pokémon GO by making AR Music videos.  This is a scene of “Grind til I Can’t No More” a Parody of “Old Town Road. I recorded the song, then recorded myself and Zelda basically acting out the song through GO Snap videos. Watch it and our other hilarious songs here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1DVwA_E3us  

https://www.youtube.com/pokedogzelda

THE FUTURE

Ash Ketchup: Where do you see AR photography going in the next three years? Which feature are you willing to see implemented in the foreseeable future?

POKEDOGZELDA: Well, I basically taught myself how to use photoshop in order to do things like add multiple Pokémon in shot, and placing Pokémon behind objects. Now those things can be done in game! It would be interesting to see what else they will add but I really don’t know. I’d like to see them make recording go snap videos as part of the game. The results can be quite hilarious. If they did that I think pet Pokémon GO would be huge on TikTok. Also I hope they add something for scaling the size of Pokémon. Even Instagram Pokémon filters such as @lperezsanders has this technology so I know it can be done. Sometimes the Pokémon just appear too huge! I also hope they bring back the GO Snapshot Challenge Contest.

Who let the dogs out?

POKEDOGZELDA is an ARtographer I definitely recommend following on social media. If you are new to his work, be sure to check out his Instagram and Twitter for some great AR photography.

This ARtographer’s expertise is taking photos together with a living animal (believe me, which is a very hard thing to do) and sharing hapiness in each and every post. Scott is one of the early members of the AR family I remember following, and never regret it since then. Give this doggo some love!

ARtoghraphers Terms to Know section header by G2G Media

Throughout this biography, you may have noticed some highlighted “photographic terms“. We have made sure to take a moment to share their meanings with you here for those who are interested!

  • Bokéhmon: When the background is blurred and your subject is in focus.
  • Rule of Thirds: In photography, the rule of thirds is a type of composition in which an image is divided evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and the subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself. (SLR Lounge)
  • Snapseed: An Android and iOS app used for editing photographs.
  • HDR Scape: The HDR Scape filter opens up the shadows while it simultaneously pulls out detail in the highlights, giving the overall effect of a dream-like, evenly-exposed image full of texture and life. (Snapseed Help)
  • Curves: An image editing tool (available in Snapseed and other photo editing apps) to enhance color and tones to make your photos pop! (Medium.com)
  • Levels: Adjustments that can be made in different editing tools to give precise control over brightness and tones.
  • Tune Image: A tool in Snapseed that allows you to adjust White Balance, Saturation, Contrast, Brightness, or try Ambiance to create depth and vibrance. (Snapseed Help)

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Ash Ketzchup

Pokémon GO photographer traveling the world to meet new people!

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