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Rants and Raves: Monster Wedding

A Little Photoshop Can Make Your Dreams Come True

After a brief engagement and a little partying at his old stomping grounds of...

Credit: Emmanuel "Jesse Jr." Rodriguez

Above: After a brief engagement and a little partying at his old stomping grounds of Tokyo, Big G and I decide to tie the knot.

So I have to say I have become a big fan of social media. It got me a role in a zombie movie and now it has allowed me to marry Big G... well sort of.

When I created my Facebook profile I included the comment, “I’d love to be a zombie in someone’s movie.” And lo and behold someone contacted me out of the blue and I was able to make my dream come true of being a zombie in a movie (more on this later when the video debuts on the web). I also made very clear on my Facebook page that I adored Godzilla (or Big G) as well as all sorts of monsters ranging from dragons to King Kong. And once again someone contacted me. This time to ask if I might want to be put in a photo being terrorized by King Kong or Godzilla.

“Really?” I replied, “That’s awesome but since I love those guys perhaps I could marry Godzilla rather than fleeing from him in terror?” And the answer was, “Yes. Anything you want.”

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Emmanuel "Jesse Jr." Rodriguez

Emmanuel "Jesse Jr." Rodriguez

The young man making the offer was Emmanuel "Jesse Jr." Rodriguez. He wanted to showcase his talent as a photographer, professional graphic designer, and Photoshop artist by offering up his skills to like minded people. So he was looking for people who liked sci-fi and fantasy, and might embrace an opportunity to have themselves “Photoshopped” into a picture with King King or Godzilla or maybe even a T-Rex.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Emmanuel "Jesse Jr." Rodriguez

Here are the initial sketches Rodriguez sent to show me what the final image should look like and how I should shoot the images of me.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Gabriela Anaya Valdepeña

Here are the photos that Rodriguez would combine to make the final image.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Emmanuel "Jesse Jr." Rodriguez

And the finished picture.

I have to admit I was intrigued. Plus Rodriguez sounded like a kindred spirit, someone who grew up loving monster movies. So I agreed and we created a scenario: I would be marrying Godzilla but then King Kong would come and snatch me away. Rodriguez sent me very elaborate storyboards laying out how I should shoot the images of myself here in San Diego that I would send him. Then he would take those images mask out the background and add Godzilla and King Kong. It's essentially the same process that would be used to create visual effects in films, only in this case it would be for a series of still images.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Emmanuel "Jesse Jr." Rodriguez

Another set of drawings...

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Emmanuel "Jesse Jr." Rodriguez

And the finished picture of King Kong stealing me away from Big G.

So now you can view the results as well as the behind the scenes process. It's a lot of work to take and combine the images and to make it look like things shot in two different studios (heck two different states) are actually part of the same image. That's where the magic comes in.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Emmanuel "Jesse Jr." Rodriguez

So, pondering the possibilities of life with King Kong.

Rodriguez was born in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico in 1978. He has spent nine years working in advertising and marketing departments, and specializing in fashion, commercial and fantasy photography. Rodriguez says he has “specialized in almost all painting and drawing techniques; was a cartoonist and animator specializing in 2D digital animation.” He also worked in music videos and TV commercials.

Rodriguez chalks up his love for monsters and fantasy to his mom, “I’ve been talking about fantasy and special effects photography ever since I was a kid thanks to my mother, a science fiction and adventure movie fan. She got me interested in special effects and filmmaking.” Now with the current state of technology, he can do visual effects in a manner quite similar to what the big effects houses in Hollywood do. Everything has become more affordable and more accessible for the student or independent artist or filmmaker. So it's an exciting time for effects work and people interested in fantasy art.

Rodriguez likes adventure, fantasy, science fiction, and some horror films. He counts among his favorites: “Star Wars” movies; “Jurassic Park,” the “Terminator” franchise; the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy; "King Kong;" Clash of the Titans;” and “Ghostbusters.” He has also been influenced by “the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo.

At the Autonomus University of Juarez City (Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, UACJ) in Mexico, Rodriguez got a Bachelor’s degree and was able to study graphic design, photography, and computer graphics. He hopes to put what he learned to good use in what he calls “a visual arts enterprise serving mainly photography, and high level video needs.”

I had a great time working with him on these photos and now I have wedding photos of me and Big G. How many people can say that?! But then maybe you'd prefer to run with the dinosaurs or pet a dragon.

You can check out more of Rodriguez’ work on MySpace.

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