Steph Hodge

Trick of the Light

Beginners Guide to Photography and Light

A photo could last forever so we want to make the best one possible.  Perhaps this New Year you can start taking better quality photographs.  It is important to know some technical details to make a perfect composition and reading the light.  

This is a quick jump start to understanding photography and some tips on how to make a good photo great. 

Everyone seems to have a camera on-hand at all times. You have a cell phone in your pocket that you can adjust settings to in the camera itself. Perhaps you have a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, also more widely known as a DSLR, and these cameras offer even more settings and options when shooting. The first thing you need to do is grab a camera!

Knowing and seeing the light patterns will help to capture the moment at hand. Photography is all about the light and having a good image would suggest the image is neither too dark nor too bright.

If it is light outside you can simply use window light to capture your gaming images.  More often than not I am gaming at night when it is dark outside and I would require additional light from a flash. This image is using window light and you can see by the soft shadows the light produces. 

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Using a flash properly will help make your photos pop with color and vibrancy. If using a DSLR, there should be an option to mount a flash to the top. If you have a detachable flash that is great! Whenever using a flash you never want to point the flash directly at the subject matter. The light source should bounce off the walls or ceiling onto the subject. If this is not an option you can also diffuse the light.  For the flash on a DSLR that automatically pops up, you can use a white ping pong ball. Simply cut it in half and that can cover the flash pretty well. If you are using your cell phone, you can use some masking tape to help diffuse the harsh light.

Looking at an image, you want to distinguish a ‘true white’ and a ‘true black’. If you can do this than you will have a good contrast so the colors don’t look muted or muddy. Having appropriate contest will help your image stand out from the rest.The best tool for doing this is a histogram. You can find a histogram on a DSLR camera, or in a photo editing application for your computer, or phone app. If you have access to a histogram you want to have the perfect range of colors from the blackest black to the whitest white.

In the 3 images below, you can view the histogram on the top right hand side of the image. When the levels are more towards the left it means it is under exposed, when they are evenly placed with a left and right most level then it is an accurate exposure, and when it is mostly towards the right hand side then it is over-exposed.

Example of underexposure:

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Example of over exposure:

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Example of Proper exposure:

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By taking the proper time to evaluate your images, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the results. 

We love to see everyone playing Renegade Games so be sure to tag us on Twitter @playrenegade and on Instagram @renegade_game_studios 

Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit more about photography! We hope you found this useful.

Games and Baking - Serving Pie with your Pie Town!

Planning a holiday get-together?  Today we’ll show you a fool-proof way to bake a delicious pie for the gaming crowd. 

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While it bakes, treat yourself to a game of Pie Town!

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If you’re in a hurry for your pie or already feeling like this looks like way too much work, skip straight to step 4 and see how Sara Erickson enjoys her pie!
 
You’ll need:

  • One pie pan (you can purchase a premade pie crust in a metal pan at the store if you don’t own a pie pan)
  • Premade pie crusts
  • An egg
  • A can or two of pie filling.  Look on the back of the can for directions about how many cans to use for one pie.  Two cans of apple or one can of cherry filled my pie up nicely
  • A can opener
  • A ruler, pizza cutter or cookie cutters

 
 
1) Follow the heating and cooking directions on the back of the can and turn on your oven.  I preheated the oven to 425 degrees F.
 
2) Carefully unroll one of your pie crusts and mold it gently into the pie pan.  There should be some extra crust hanging over the sides.
 
3) Crack that egg open and let just the egg white ooze into a bowl.  You won’t need the yolk.  Brush the crust with the egg white.  I don’t own a brush for this so I just wiped it on with a paper towel
 
4) Here’s the exciting part: use your can opener to open your can of pie filling and dump all that yumminess right into the pan.   Or, follow Sara Erickson’s advice and forget about the pie crust altogether.  Skip straight to this step and eat the pie filling straight out of the can!  Pie making complete!
 

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5) Now, you could roll out your second crust, plop it straight onto the top of your pie, cut a few slits in it, and call it good.  Or…you can be adventurous and use your mad cutting skills to impress your friends with your basket weaving technique.  Roll out that second crust and grab a ruler and a pizza cutter.  Use your tools to cut the crust into ½ inch wide strips. 
 

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6) Place the strips across the pie as shown all in one direction with about ½ inch between them.  Fold back half the strips and then place another strip perpendicular to the first ones. 
 
7) Fold the strips back over the new strip of dough. Continue folding back half the strips, placing a new strip across, and weaving the top of your crust.
 

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8) Before too long, ta-da!  Your basket weave is complete!  Now, cut the excess dough off the ends of the strips.
 

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9) Roll the edges up, squeezing the dough as you roll to make a nice tight seal around the edges of your pie. 

10) Finally, use an index finger from one hand and your thumb and index finger on the other hand to create a beautiful finished edge for the crust.   

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 11) Brush the top of your pie with more egg white, and pop it in the oven for 45-50 minutes.   Open up Pie Town and play while the air fills with the aroma of home baked pie. 
 
12) Peek in the oven after 20 minutes or so.  If the edges of the crust look like they’re going to burn, you can cover just the very edges of the crust with aluminum foil.  Let it continue baking until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.   Take your amazing homemade pie out and let it cool for a bit before enjoying!  
 
Tip:  For an even simpler but still impressive crust, just cut holes in the top crust using cookie cutters before you place the crust on top of the pie!
Using a spoon instead of your index finger when crimpling the edges gives a nice consistent finish.

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Using a spoon instead of your index finger when crimpling the edges gives a nice consistent finish.

Serve with a side of Pie Town.  Enjoy!

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PAX Unplugged - Nov 17-19, 2017

This past weekend Renegade Games Studios attended a new convention called Pax Unplugged, in Philadelphia, PA! 

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PAX host several events thought the year and is primarily a video game convention, but they expanded to have its own tabletop edition. As a board game publisher, we were super excited for this opportunity to join a new convention and invite new and veteran gamers to play our titles!

Renegade Game Studios was proud to debut Pie Town, Kepler-3042, Planet Defenders, Shipwrights and Explorers of the North Sea this convention. Their scheduled releases to be mid December 2017! Check your local retailer for preorders today!

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Wednesday night we had a scheduled event at Family Fun Hobbies in NJ, which is about an hour outside of Philly. This was great we had a bunch of tables going with gamers learning and playing Renegade games!

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We were teaching the new Pie Town! Set to hit stores December 13, 2017, this is a dice worker-placement game. You never roll the dice but you are using them to collect apples and other specialty ingredients to try and make the best pies! You have a secret pie that others are trying to deduce to steal your recipe. As you take actions you are leveling your strength and will get better actions as the game progresses.

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We had an amazing time and met some great fans! It was fun to see them again during the convention as well!

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Thursday was the official set up for our booth. Since our booth was ginormous we actually had to wait for the union laborers to set it up. While we waited for them we got to play some games with the demo team!

We had a few different tables going on but with a focused learning game of Kepler-3042. This is one of our new titles and wanted to make sure we had appropriate candidates to demo this during the con.

In Kepler-3042 you are choosing an action each turn to help gather resources, improve your technologies, explore the Galaxy to discover new planets and maybe colonize them if you traveled far enough. With your own personal pool of resources you have to manage the supplies wisely throughout the game.

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Explorers of the North Sea was another one being played. This is the 3rd game in the North Sea Trilogy. The first is Shipwrights of the North Sea followed by Raiders of the North Sea.

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In Explorers each Viking team is branching out into the sea to try and find colonies and search the lands to collect livestock and build outposts. With several ways of collecting victory points you can focus on a particular avenue and go for it. You will be placing a tile down each turn expanding the board and creating a unique map of water passageways and different islands.

Before heading to dinner Matt from the Demo team had an amazing surprise for us. With Pie Town being a new release, he found it appropriate to share small Pies with everyone on the team!! Amazingly generous and delicious! We had to grab a photo of those amazing pies!

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Back at the hotel there was a quick game of Topiary being played! This game set to release Q1 By Renegade Game Studios!

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Topiary is a super fast tile placement game where you are placing Meeples on rows and columns to see beautiful Topiaries. You get points depending on what you can see and the heights of the bushes. We all had a great time!

Friday was the first official day of the convention. We were there bright eyed and bushy tailed waiting for the excitement. This was our amazing demo team!!

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We had several scheduled events this convention! Our first event of the con was a Clank! Tournament. Some players were new to Clank! while some had played before. The winners of each game got to play again in a finals and the winner received a PAX medal!

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Another awesome event was the industry panel. Scott Gaeta [President, Renegade Game Studios], Justin Ziran [President, WizKids], Mike Webb [VP Customer Service, Alliance Game Distributors], Travis Severance [Owner, Millennium Games], Tom Vasel [Owner, The Dice Tower], Richard Ankney [Game Trade Media] was the MC. 

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During the hour there were a lot of current board game insights and anticipated projections for the future being discussed. Hearing for the retailer, distributor, publishers, and media is eye opening and thoughtful.  They discussed topics including creating and maintaining demand at retail stores, designing games for the current market, and the responsibilities of professionals in the industry .  Everyone had a say in their opinion on Kickstarters and how that it is its own entity. Kickstarter is a tool that can help bring to life new and interesting ideas, but can be a challenge for hobby retailers.

It finalized with an overall consensus that the board game industry is at its all time high and still shows to be a growing market. More and more gamers every year which means more and more games are being produced. The top quality we are getting in our boxes today are setting the standard for what a board game should be and what is expected. Who knows when, but there will be a plateau, but as we are seeing it, we are at the best of times!

Saturday was another day full of events to attend and the one day that the con completely sold out. The booth was busy and the people were happy. We had a few Guest designers show their games at our booth. We had Nate Bivins the designer of Sundae Split, David Wilkinson, Designer of Castles of Caladale, and Christopher Chung the designer of  Lanterns: The Harvest Festival!

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Late at night was a Fuse Tournament! This was a best score out of 3 games. Our new Marketing Coordinator, Steph Hodge had never played FUSE so she jumped in with one of the teams. She had a great time playing this intense real time game! The winning team was amazing and defused all the bombs first each round. They all had a great time and the victorious team was caught on camera with these huge smiles and their luxurious Pax Medals for winning the tournament!

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Sunday was the final day of the convention and more family focused. Mandi Board Game Pin-up Girl of the Dice Tower hosted a special Renegade event, Family Games 2.0, catering to this family centric crowd!

Mandi teaching Dragon's Hoard

Mandi teaching Dragon's Hoard

This was a super awesome time for families to come together and learn some our our titles. Mandi still had her voice after demoing for the 2 days prior, but was an amazing teacher and mentor for everyone.

This was a 2 hour event and she taught Sundae Split, Lotus, and Dragons Hoard! Once the event was over, the families got to keep the games they just learned and we snapped a group photo! It is so rewarding to see such joy from kids and parents when playing and enjoying our games!

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We had one final event we hosted and taught Flip Ships! This game was also a huge success and there are always so many smiles and laughs when playing this dexterity game.

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Over the weekend we had an on-going social media contest. Pax attendees were asked to post a photo of them at the Renegade booth to Instagram @renegade_game_studios and Twitter @playrenegade. I announced 2 winners which were random picks and they each won a copy of Pie Town!! It was a great contest and we were happy to find homes for more pie!

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The hall closed at 6pm and we had demo tables still going up until the final moments. It is safe to say we had a wonderful time showing off the games and meeting so many amazing people. We found there were a lot of new gamers and they were eager to see what kinds of games we had. Over the weekend we saw several of the same faces coming back more and more to try each of the different demos we had set up. All in all, we had a great time and look forward to seeing how this con can grow in time and we hope to be back for the next one in 2018!

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We hope you enjoyed this recap from PAX Unplugged. From everyone on the Renegade Team, we appreciate your continued enthusiasm for our titles look forward to seeing you at an event in 2018! 

If you wish to see more photography from the event please go here!