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The trap in judging a doll from the official picture?

Jul 31, 2010

    1. When I first became fascinated by BJD weeks ago, I clicked through as many doll maker sites as I could find to see all the dolls each company offers. In the end there were only a very few that I felt a strong immediate attraction to, such as the Unoa Lusis and Soom Saiph. I must be a really picky person, hmmm.

      I did realize that the official faceup might not do a doll justice, but the sculpt should still be a dominating factor. I could recognize a Lusis under almost any kind of faceup and she would be every bit as attractive.

      However, yesterday as I was browsing a Chinese BJD forum, I saw this very dreamy looking doll with slightly parting lips and she immediately went on my short wishlist! A friend identified her as the Volks Michele. I found the official picture and he was like totally a different doll and not attractive at all! I was flabbergasted by how great a difference the faceup made!

      That set me thinking that I might miss lots of dolls I could really like if I only judge the dolls through the official pictures. But to look for alternate pictures of each single doll would be appallingly time-consuming. How would you deal with this problem?
    2. That's kinda what the owner pictures in the BJD Database is for. You can see what different owners are doing with the same sculpt. That being said, I have a Junior Ai Marco from Custom House and I did not know he was an opened mouth sculpt until I saw owner pics. It took a long time for it to grow on me since I wasn't expecting it when I ordered him. I do love him now though.

      I also deal with the problem by trying to ignore the faceup that the company has since I do my own. I look at eye, nose, and mouth shape and try to ignore the rest.
    3. I think the best way to find out the potential for sculpts is to be an avid browser of the DoA gallery- there are a ton of dolls that I've fallen in love with because of what other people have done with them, while the company photos really left me feeling pretty "meh" about the sculpt.
    4. My first doll was bought entirely from company pictures that made him look a lot different than he was in reality, so I'm really paranoid about this. Now whenever I think I might want a doll, I do a search in the galleries and look at as many different pictures of the sculpt as I can. Owner pictures are a lifesaver.
    5. Owner pictures are no good at all if you want a new sculpt or a doll from a new company, though. No one would ever gamble on the new darlings if they had to see ten owner pictures first - I never would have got my beloved Jin if I'd waited for owner pictures.

      All you can do is try to see "through" a picture that is either too flattering or hideously not and look at the things that really matter - eye and mouth shape, chins, cheeks, noses, and so on...
    6. Volks is kind of notorious for having default photos that range from simplistic and sometimes boring, to just plain bad. I actively disliked Michele for years, before I found out what potential the sculpt had. In fact, I now own two of them. :sweat

      The best thing is just to look at as many owner photos as possible, really. If you familiarize yourself with the ways that people can customize dolls from a certain company, it helps you see more potential in the worst default pics even when there are no owner pics yet to be had.
    7. OMG, I so envy you! I saw a Michele on Yahoo Japan today asking for over $1700 :S
    8. I had a similar feeling after I had been in the Hobby for a few months. I saw the most amazing doll ever on Flikr and I was like "ZOMG WHO IS THAT?" Turns out it was a Volks Liz. I couldn't believe my eyes because I had already written off all their dolls because the images on the site were so bla. I then started doing some proper research on Flikr and found that many Volks Dolls were amazing.

      My first doll was a Mini Fee because in contrast their photos were beautiful and luckily, not in the least bit misleading. I would urge anyone and everyone to look at as many owner photos as they can before they give up on a mold or buy a mold.

      I wish you the very best of luck getting Michele. He is very very beautiful.
    9. Pretty much what autumnrain said. When I ordered my Wallis, I was a bit worried because there was NO owner pictures of her anywhere, but right now, I'm feeling ok... It's going to be exciting, having a completely new doll and portraying her in my completely own way. Sometimes I guess you have to take a chance :)

      But I was thinking the same a lot when I was looking at Resinsoul's dolls. Some of them looked amazing with their face-ups, some not so much... So I guess it can go both way, user pictures can also make you less interested in a doll :)
    10. Me too! I totally wrote off all Volks dolls until I saw that owner picture of Michele yesterday, my jaw just dropped in shock!

      Thank you for your kind wish, I hope I can find a Michele for myself in the future too. If only I could buy the head by itself *wistfully*, like most of the owners whose pictures of Michele I saw, I also feel that Michele is meant to be a girl.
    11. ^ I had the same issue when I ordered a Dikadoll.

      But I find looking a non-face up photos help greatly. Something that annoys me about many companies is lack of non-face up photos. I love looking at head scuplts and seeing potential. Most companies that provide them will only do full frontal and a 3/4 view....but I find profile shots just as important.
    12. I think there's actually a trap in both. Official pictures don't always show the full potential of a doll, but then there's also plenty of owner pics that don't do dolls justice either. I own a lot of sculpts that not many people own, so owner pics can sometimes be either non existant, or rather questionable. Sometimes I have just had to have faith that what I saw in the sculpt was what it was going to be like when I received the doll. I have 30 dolls and haven't sold one so I'm on a pretty good streak right now. XD
      autumnrain said it well when they said you need to look at the actual structure of the sculpt sometimes to see it's potential, and take a chance!
    13. I had that problem a lot too. For instance, I personally think Volks' promo pictures do the dolls absolutely no justice, but when you see them in owner pictures they're quite nice. Same with Angel of Dream dolls.
      The best thing to do, when you find a mold you like or are simply curious about, is to find as many owner pics as you can. I will endlessly search the galleries, databases, picture requests, and box openings to see more of a certain mold. When all else fails, request pictures of it in the Picture Requests forum.
      It really helps... It also helps to make mockups. Trace the basic features of a face by putting a piece of paper up to the computer screen, and draw the face with different hairstyles or color it in differently. Or, if you have access to a photo editing software, edit pictures of wigs and eyes onto pictures of dolls... Although I usually only go that far if it's a mold I'm interested in putting on my wishlist.
      Anyways, it's not a good idea to judge a mold on one picture, because something as simple as an eye color change or change in lighting or angle can make it look completely different.
    14. My first two I had ordered around the same time and hadn't done any searching and liked the company pictures, I'd also paid extra for the face-ups. Lesley's faceup was different than the company pictures because they updated their faceups, but he wasn't quite what I was expecting, the pictures looked as if his eyes were wider than they really are and though he's grown on me at first I was disappointed.

      AOD Ni Ni, I found beautiful at first .. and then the happy buzz of owning her passed and I realized I didn't like the face up, and on top of that the eyes were so disproportionate. I've given her a new face up and she became nameless until I can think of something to suit her now nymph-like look.

      My third, I did do some searches for owner pictures, but not many have DF Nuada and I just bought him anyhow. Though to be honest I haven't seen anyone with Impldoll Bosco, so I wouldn't have had the enjoyment of seeing owner pictures there either. :lol: I suppose I've been lucky so far. I mean I loved DF's face up for Nuada, and I wasn't sure if I'd like the sculpt, I took a chance though and love it. i tried to do a similar faceup though, it suits him so well.
    15. Well 8V Idk, I've never been 'tricked' by company photos. To me, everything is crystal clear. 8V So I can't fully empathize with being 'fooled' as it were. It's good to take absolutely everything [except maybe all your food!] with a pinch of salt.

      I always think of what could be, not what is there in front of me. If I lived the latter way, I'd never be able to improve anything would I? What's the point of having a doll that's strictly what you see?

      Have some imagination :}
    16. My Zaoll Muse was like that.
      I saw a beautiful custom Zaoll Muse boy in the gallery, when I saw it on Dollmore with the company face-up I didn't believe it was the same doll! If I had seen the company pictures first, I never would have bought one.

      It definitely goes the other way thought. Companies can make there dolls look amazing in photos, only for you to get it home and realize one eye is bigger than the other...
    17. I understand what you mean.

      When I first got into this hobby, i browsed "Every" doll company and distributors site to look at dolls.
      In the end I fell in love here on DOA....... with Moderator Zagzagael's signature picture.
      The doll in her signature i did not even recognise, so I pm'd her asking what mold the doll was.
      It turned out to be a Dollshe Saint.............A doll I had ignored about 20 times on the luts site because I hated the face up.
      I ended up buying it without the face up, giving it a face up I loved, And not I love him dearly.

      So yeah company pictures can be verry misleading, its so worth looking up the doll here on doa just to see what others do with the doll.
    18. Is it just me or... do people obsess a little too much on this point and ruin it for themselves?! If you see a sculpt that grabs you, obviously there is some connection, and every doll has a lot of potential if time and love is put into it. I think people should worry less about it being 'perfect' when it comes out of the box, and more about making the sculpt theirs, and loving it for what it is... even if the eyes aren't perfectly symmetrical :XD:
    19. I felt the same way with the Minifee Miyu. I didn't even look twice at it when I saw it first on the Fairyland website, but when I saw owner pics, I realized its potential. Now it's the doll I want the most. :)
    20. I look at both company pics and owner pics -- it's worth taking the time to do both, and it can be a fun part of the doll planning process. By looking at a lot of different pictures, you get a better idea of how a doll is going to look with different looks, at different angles, in different lighting etc. I wouldn't say one owner pic is better than looking at one company pic or vise versa. The trick is to look at multiple pics taken by different people.

      The database threads here on DoA are a great resource for this as well as the picture request forum. Unless the doll you're looking for is very rare, it's not hard to look up owner pics. BTW, this isn't something I do for every doll -- it's something I do for dolls I'm considering buying. Sure there's always the possibility of a great doll that I'm missing out on and don't realize it, but there are so many dolls out there that a lot are going to have to fall by the wayside anyway (or I'm going to have to win the lottery, lol).