Here is the second feature on Chinese company Ringdoll. In this part, the company reveals the work behind the scenes to create a concept, develop an idea, sculpt, finish and then present the finished work in a memorable way. The company also goes into detail about one of their recent releases, Senkai.
PART 2. Ringdoll Design
In this section, I would like to introduce how we design and complete a basic work, and how our team divides the work.
Ringdoll is divided into the design department, marketing department and warehouse department. The first step is to set up the project. We collect market feedback, as well as design inspiration, for our concept. Here you should also know that our work is generally launched as a series, such as Alice99 in Wonderland series, or The Warring State Five Kui series. Generally we will make a long-term layout, and establish the overall world view and character included, and then launch the series for subsequent development.
After the project concept, the designer begins to draw character figure sets. Then we see the launch of the works, which are generally selected from more than a dozen draft designs. And THEN we begin to create our prototype, carving facial, body or needed accessories. The clothing department will start making the first edition of clothing.
Judge of Hell white cast parts:
To create a doll from the concept to the official launch, we will develop dozens character designs, five or six clothing variations and various prototype modifications, as well as two or three makeup designs.
For example for 2016 Christmas, we launched the Red King. Our design concept was proposed in June 2016, the production and remodeling period took 6 months, eventually reaching the launch effort on time. Now we have just launched the White King, the original concept was proposed in early 2017 and the completed design, sculpting and manufacturing of the doll took more than 6 months.
To continue to develop the design for a long time, at the cost of both time and money, puts a lot of pressure on a BJD company. But Ringdoll insists, in addition to adhering to a design and style of our own, that we keep in mind our responsibility to our customers. We all know that labor cost is more expensive than the material loss, but Ringdoll’s products, barely include the labor cost.
Here are some examples of Ringdoll’s adherence to our vision. the wigs created for K and the Red King, and the nail beading on Camilla’s garment.
The production of K’s wig became a problem. In fact, in the the marketplace few BJD companies make their own doll hair, because the labor cost is too high. But Ringdoll is still doing so. Because of wig labor costs, K eventually was a limited production of 50. The fifty dolls during the production time were completed manually by our main designers.
Carmilla manual nail beading:
Putting aside the manual nail beading for her clothes, Camilla’s clothing was made from an Indian silk sewing production process which was very difficult, The manual nail beading of the of collar part was also extremely complicated. The designer’s manual nail samples were designed and modified for nearly two months; this increased the time and cost of production. In fact there was no clothing team willing to take on such complex production work. So in the last part of the production, nearly 100 sets of Camilla’s clothing had the manual nail beading part made by a members of our team of designers. They spent days completing them by collectively ” burning the midnight oil”. This may be a painful memory for the designers! (laughs).
PART 3. The idea and design process of Senkai
On July 15, 2017 we launched Ringdoll Senkai. He is the first of Ringdoll’s The Warring State Five Kui series. This series is inspired by Japanese style, to which we added Ringdoll’s unique elements.
The overall development of Senkai was more than 4 months, from the initial design to the end of the shoot. We had repeatedly outdone our initial expectations, and soared on a high heart.
So we would like to talk about the whole process of designing and creating Senkai.
Senkai design concept and shooting story:
Senkai is from from The Warring State in our series The Warring State Five Kui, which will include Senkai plus Gyo Kai, Chi Kai, Un Kai and Nin Kai. The design is integrated with the Japanese style, but is not a complete copy, on the basis of Ringdoll’s unique design concept.
Senkai’s design was revised many times. In order to design the shoulder armor, mask, breastplate and other parts, our main designer Shan Huang came to the United States Metropolitan Museum of Art to draw and investigate. The overall palette was to be in colors purple and green. The colors we wanted were difficult, so we underwent an effort to find color purity for our materials.
The main designer Shan Huang carved Senkai’s head himself, one with a unique small delicate mouth for the head.
Senkai color character setting
With Senkai, another bright spot was the design of the weapon. Senkai’s weapon is called a kito. Before starting, the design team researched a lot Japanese sword records, but how to make its design both beautiful and practical became a major difficulty. During the period of The Warring State, a katana was more gorgeous, so we chose to use an ornamental guard for the hilt.
With the development of Senkai, we also developed a new skin color of wheat, and a new hand type and clog feet, which also received positive feedback. About the clog feet, you can see the actual product has some design changes from the official clog illustration. Because the designer found the sample illustration was not in detail, we embellished with thicker soles and printing on the sides. The actual effect was more delicate. The clothing pattern on the original version of burning flower and smoke, was followed by digital printing on the cloth.
After the completion of the production samples, we finally started on photos. The shoot was long and difficult.
We designed two scenes, that referenced a lot of Japanese TV drama scenes in the The Warring State period, and we tried to add Ukiyo-e style, and include maple leaves, a Japanese style door (ふすま) and paper umbrellas as the background decorative elements, supplemented by snow and a blower as the main shooting scene. After shooting for more than ten hours, the main designer Shan Huang who has ultra high requirements finally passed off the final compositions.
(Ringdoll SenKai shooting Highlights video!)
We had been thinking over and over again, choose the Lotus platform scene!
We had a professional team of carpenters pre-measuring, selecting materials, cutting, combining and then they were assembled by team members. Finally we finished the final completed building. About the scene in the doll’s photos, the proportion of the scene is very important. The scenery of a 70cm doll is much bigger than the popular 1/6 scene, and smaller than a live scene, so in the proportion of the set we also spent a lot of effort to build to scale. The scene was extremely time consuming and costly, but in order to show the best side of Senkai, we thought these costs were well worth the effort.
Senkai official picture 1-7
The final second version was Senkai’s official scene. The Ringdoll team finally through their efforts showed the most beautiful side of Senkai ito you, in hope that you love him.
Experience: When the people faced turbulent days, five Kui come to earth. The Five Kui choose the destiny of the people attached to the earth, to change their fate. Senkai can become the king of the world as he is one of the Five Kui.
Senkai, originally the son of a Feudal Lord, who was master of Ligu city, was a calm, brilliant and handsome man. His mother was a concubine. The Feudal Lord was a man of weak character, controlled by his wife. His wife supported her own son as heir, so his wife falsely accused Senkai of planning a rebellion. The Lord misunderstood the truth and exiled him into the wilderness.
That era was full of troubled times and constant wars. The world was also filled with hundreds of rampant ghosts. Exile was dangerous. When alone and dying in the wilderness, the man who would become Senkai met a green ghost and a red ghost. The two ghosts wanted to swallow him.
The Senkai Star descended to him when he wished to defeat the ghosts and revealed a desire for life. That is how he became Senkai. He effortlessly defeated the green ghost and red ghost who had forced him into a desperate situation, and made them his slaves. After Senkai was exiled, The Feudal Lord discovered the truth, he planned to punish his wife, but his wife was informed in advance of the news, so she poisoned The Feudal Lord. With the power of his ghosts, Senkai came back to Ligu city and eventually killed the Feudal Lord’s wife and retrieved his position.
That war was extremely tragic. Later someone described that day: he is like the gods backlit line, behind the blood on the land bloom, mournful as the red lotus.
Senkai became famous after the war; people were full of awe whenever his name was mentioned.
Chaos is still continuing, to settle down in the world, Senkai assessed the situation and final decided to settle in Owari Province.