Before the break, worked with my incredibly smart and capable wife to come up with a plan to get everything done before the NY show in March. One thing that came out of our discussion was that it was high time to do something that I'd be thinking about for a while, and make a digital record of all the existing elements.
This was a good time to do it, as I'd just made a full set the week before, so I had everyone made, but without nails. This meant they could all lie flat under the downshooting setup with have at school. So that's what I did. As usual, I wish I had more time, so that I could have gotten really great images of every piece. As it is, I got a record of everything at a more-or-less consistent scale, which is basically what I neeeded.
Here's a shot of the raw images.
And here's a shot of the ruler I used, so I could make the digital images the right size in the real world.
From there, I was able to grab each piece individually and (and this is the important part), start composing them digitally. No more making thousands of pieces and arranging them by hand. Now I can figure out the compositions, and then work backward to figure out how many pieces I need to make. So much better.
I'm still working on this one, but here's the progression of a 3 x 3 image I'm working on. This one might be "Tell Me Again How This Is My Fault".
So far this is working great, and it looks like it's going to make life much easier. The only down side is that the process lends itself to endless tweaking, which will no doubt be made irrelevant on contact with reality.