Hand Shadows of the Colossus

Shoot the Barrel

A recent survey revealed that almost 80% of gamers consider hand shadows to be more important than renewable energy and would like to see shadowgraphy given more coverage by the gaming media. To show we are listening and that we care, here is an article titled ‘Hand Shadows of the Colossus’, which combines hand shadows and PlayStation 2 classic Shadow of the Colossus.

Valus (Colossi #01)


While the physical form of Valus is great for beginners to tackle as it’s a simple enough hand shadow to pull off, his club weapon can present a significant challenge. However, carefully positioning a piece of broccoli between your outermost phalanges can help create a strikingly accurate hand shadow (like the one in the picture above) of this awe-inspiring creature.

Quadratus (Colossi #02)


This is another basic configuration for veteran shadowologists. In silhouette this four-legged giant is indistinct from other quadrupeds except for one defining feature – its protruding horn. Here we’ve used a false eyelash positioned just below the joint connecting the middle and proximal phalanx sections of the index finger to create the desired horn shape. We used a pink eyelash but you can use any colour as colour is irrelevant when hand shadowing because shadows are always black.

Gaius (Colossi #03)


Here we kick it up a notch with some advanced light obstruction techniques. As you can see we’ve used some everyday household items – known in shadowing as ‘dark props’ – to produce the most authentic shape possible. Closed cup mushrooms make great feet for this particular colossi – simply remove the stalks and stick your index and middle fingers into the holes. To create the severely swollen little digit we soaked it overnight in vinegar and then wrapped an elastic band around the base of the finger for 48 hours. It’s quite painful but is really the only way to produce a satisfactory shadow of Gaius’ big weapon.

Phaedra (Colossi #04)


Although this colossus is equine in appearance, we’ve taken a radically different approach to the one commonly employed by contemporary shadowers when horse shadowing for today’s audiences. Rather than opting for the conventional ‘fist and flat palm’ hand placement, we’ve used a ‘foot and finger’ combination first popularised by French entertainers in the early 19th Century. Although we take foot hygiene very seriously, we have deliberately left the toenails unclipped in order to produce the most authentic shadow possible.

Avion (Colossi #05)


An absolute classic, ‘The Bird’ is one of the easiest hand shadows to create, yet is still a guaranteed crowd pleaser despite its simplicity. We’ve used the more risky ‘palms in’ display for the picture, although playing it safe with ‘palms out’ will still produce great results and the untrained eye won’t be able to spot the difference. Careful placement of the light source is how the shadow is given the illusion of an almost perfectly vertical wing line. Don’t be afraid to play around with your light source – the results you can achieve can be quite surprising and also exciting.

Hydrus (Colossi #07)


While wearing an elegant, satin elbow glove to create the perfect long and slender shadow might be considered unsporting amongst some of the staunchly traditionalist hand shadow fraternities, the use of garmental fashion sheathings by progressive shadowists has seen the practice become increasingly popular in the last decade. We like to think we’ve struck a nice balance between old and new styles in this particular shadowing by off-setting the use of the glove with an exquisitely dislocated little finger.

Celosia (Colossi #11)


In an interview with Love Ishi magazine (Japan’s best-selling stone, rock and mineral publication), Shadow of the Colossus developer Fumito Ueda revealed the design of this colossus was originally inspired by an artist friend who always wore a wig on his right hand, so it’s little surprise that putting a wig on our own hand produced such a fantastic doppelganger shadow.