illuustrations X lifewithjson: Capturing Mugen

Now that the Mugen kit is on, it’s time for Ricky to get working on finishing the final version of the video he’s been wanting to make! It’s been an anxious little break from the few sessions we did for the teaser because he’s been wanting to get out and do video and I’ve been wanting the parts to arrive faster.

Yesterday, we hit up a few parts of downtown again and started it up again. I must say that it feels like looking at and shooting a brand new car with the Mugen kit. I feel like it’s not so naked and “stock” looking LOL. Sometimes all you need is a little change to be able to find new ways of shooting it again – and I think Ricky feels the same.

Again, just a few BTS shots while Ricky runs around and captures video… I try to help with suggestions but I don’t know shit about moving a camera around – I just know how to take stills so that’s all you’ll get from me LOL. I can barely get good video of my exhaust note…

We decided to stroll through China town and see what was up and nothing was definitely up. It’s a ghost town there and parking was all ours. This spot above is usually never available, yet there we were…

As you can see behind the car, there’s not a soul around… It’s funny because Ricky was wanting some cars to pass by for a few specific shots, but no cars ever rolled through. When you want cars, there are none and when you want to be left alone, everyone just comes and gets in the way haha

Doing some more wandering, we found a really dope spot that was out of the way of any traffic and the security guard there was super chill. We just waved our cameras and he said “no problem”. The complexes around us were all residential units so we were super careful not to make a lot of noise or get in the way.

I know it’s a fox, but I’m gonna call him Hachiko just cause.

I wish we could’ve gotten closer to this for some shots…

We got there just in time for a bit of golden hour in the background. The foliage in the distance was nice and yellow still.

Ricky doing his thing once again…

After that, we decided to take a drive around to see if we could find any other spots. This was a funny shot because as I stood in the bushes, a cop van drove by. I don’t think they saw me but it’s enough to make the butt pucker a little… LOL

Right now, around 930ish, we get this really dope light that creates a blue/orange tint downtown. I know I talk a lot about those colours, but man it’s just too good not to capture them… Just gives such an awesome feel.

Street shots at night with street lamps is my vibe now.

Didn’t take out the blues here…

Found a dope alleyway as well – also with a chill security guard hahaha. I mean, if no one has come through in the last several hours, might as well just let us shoot for 5 minutes amirite?


Going out for more footage tonight so I’ll probably have another set soon!

Impromptu Mugen Showcase

It was a cold day after installing the lip kit but I was also itching to get some pictures… Just some quick ones because I was feeling a little lazy and I couldn’t find a good spot to take some nice photos, so some half-assed ones will have to do for now.

Also I apologize in advance for all the quirky edits… Still playing around LOL

Loving how it all flows so well with the grill garnish.

From the side, the rear looks lacking… I’m still undecided with the Mugen rear cause it’s just so damn busy… I’ll wait a bit to see if anymore options come out.

The front just looks sooooo good now.

I would say this rivals the front end of the FRS for me… I really loved the look of the Arise kit and the JDM headlight swap on it, but the Type R just looks super aggressive now.

Same road, different colour grade LOL

As you can see, I drove around to a bunch of random places but just couldn’t settle on a good spot.

Then just one last one when I got home. I’m super satisfied with how this all came together. I know there are a ton of Mugen FK8’s out there, but just seeing my own come out like this makes me so stoked.

DIY: Mugen FK8 Lip Kit Install

I’ve been waiting a pretty long time for this day to come and it’s pretty freaking glorious. I spend a lot of my time – maybe even an unhealthy amount of time – thinking about how I should put the Type R together and I often go through so many parts in my head imagining and picturing what it would look like over and over again. Does anyone else do the same? lol

My dilemma is really trying to build it in the best way possible while retaining functionality and the “daily driver” aspect of it – particularly because of the need to haul the family and groceries or whatever else I need. It’s hard sometimes because there are some days that I want to slam it and put more aggressive wheels on it but then I wouldn’t be able to drive it as much as I want to lol. I’m sure a lot of other FK8 owners can agree that there aren’t many options out there either – so trying to build one that has your own flair and style is also equally challenging.

At the end of the day, the important thing to me is that high quality parts go on the car and go on with enough thought to make it worth it. There are so many Type R’s on the road and so many that unfortunately have been just “ruined”. It’s just disappointing to see a good car become so easily bastardized – it’s not a “Type R” problem either – but when you own a specific chassis and see other examples of it being just fucked up, it hurts the soul a little bit. It’s not the time or place for me to rant about it so I’ll just stop before I get ahead of myself…

Anyway, after seeing what Varis and Spoon had to finally offer – I decided to stay on track with Mugen. When the kit came out, I loved it but really wanted to wait it out a bit to see what other big names were going to offer and I was personally disappointed. Varis looked good at the sculpting stage but after completion, it was not much different than stock. Spoon also didn’t deviate much from the stock look and I guess I can’t blame them, the FK8 “out-of-the-box” is already aggressive as it is, so to change it and have it look good would be challenging – I don’t even know what I’d do to it LOL.

The almighty Mugen logo and box…

Of course Princess Elsa/Aria had to come check out what it was – asking if it was hers. You wish, kid.

Side skirts painted CW by Mugen

Front lip painted CW by Mugen

JDM instructions

JDM 3M primer for the adhesive…

As soon as I received it, I drove it right over to Tommy at Tint tech to 3M it.

He did a fantastic job – can’t even tell there’s wrap on it.

The front lip was super easy to install. Remove the bottom screw on each side of the front lip in the wheel well.

Remove the two OEM clips underneath.

I popped the lip on just to see if everything fit nicely… I had no doubt that it wouldn’t…

Secured with some tape just to hold everything in place

The install requires you to drill an extra hole into the stock sideskirt to bolt the top piece in. Mark it…

Drill the hole and insert the fastener into place – good to go.

Once all ready, pull up a piece of the 3M adhesive backing and put all the screws and clips in. Once you’re happy, pull the backing off and press 🙂


That Mugen emblem on the front is icing on the cake…

Love it.

I know there are some of you that were unsure of the OEM red grill garnish when I first put it on but my end vision was to have the Mugen lip tie it all together, and that it did!

I will say that although I didn’t doubt Mugen, I am blown away by the fit and finish of the front lip. It fits like OEM and there are absolutely no gaps and holes line up perfectly. This would be my first time dealing with Mugen body parts and I am a believer.

Front lip complete! But we’re not done yet…

The front lip actually came first and the sideskirts came a few days later… I was beginning to think they lost the sideskirts in transit, but thank God they didn’t. Waiting for parts to be delivered has got to be one of the most stressful things LOL

Stamp of authenticity on the sideskirts…

Again, laid out and ready for a mockup

Easy peasy.

Fitment again is perfect. Literally perfect lol – I don’t think I can emphasize this enough.

I ended up finishing the passenger side and forgot to take pictures because it was a little more involved than the front lip. More pics on the driver side below…

So the sideskirts were slightly more complicated because the instructions say to remove the whole sideskirt off the car. The reason is because you have to drill 4 additional holes on the underside of the skirt to attach clips to it.

Removing the sideskirts are a whole other process and while it “may” have been easier, I decided to just lift the car up and drill while it was in the air.

First time the wheels have been off lol…

You have to take the wheel off to drill an additional hole for the backside of the sideskirt.

Here’a s hot of the hole you have to drill to attached the Mugen sideskirt

I know it doesn’t line up here but it’s because the sideskirt was not fully bolted on yet and is just hanging loose. Don’t worry 🙂

Once you drill the four holes underneath, you need to drill one more top hole on the back of the sideskirt like I mentioned to put an additional screw in. You can see the newer black screw on top. Look at how perfect this thing fits… Again – emphasizing “perfect” lol

Tight fitment.

And voila!

Looks awesome!

Here’s a shot of it all together in the garage… Full pics coming soon. The Mugen kit definitely helps break up all the black from the white and visually lowers the car a little more. Super satisfied with the look.

And of course, as soon as it was all done – I prepped the lip kit and then coated with CQuartz. Literally one of the best things I’ve done to the car.

#jayhoangeditchallenge Compilation

I guess somehow the RAW edit challenge took on the form of a hashtag LOL! Fine by me, I suppose – I didn’t really think of naming it haha.

Also, it’s not really a challenge – it’s just something to help fellow photographers/photoshoppers/lightroomers have something to do with all the free time we seem to have lately. Admittedly, I saw a few people on social media doing an edit challenge and I thought it was a great idea. The results that came from it were everything from amazing to unique and I thought it would be a great idea to hop on that bandwagon.

I think sometimes as a “creator” or “artist” or whatever you choose to call a photographer/yourself, you sometimes get stuck in this hole and it’s really hard to get out. Another way of looking at it is “writers block” – same idea. You shoot so often and edit hundreds, or even thousands of pictures and it all starts to blend together and it just feels like you’re going through the motions instead of being inspired or creative. That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling these last few weeks which is what inspired me to get out and change my angles and edit differently when shooting my own car. I have no obligation for the pictures to turn out perfect or to satisfy someone else. If I mess it up, then no big deal – it was just a shot of my own car anyway and I know to do better next time.

This is why I thought hopping on this bandwagon would be a great idea. I had a few recent shots that I personally loved and saw a lot of potential in and by sharing it with you guys, it opens up literally hundreds of doors and possibilities to how they can be edited. Everyone edits differently and has a different eye for how a picture can look. (Notice I said “can” and not “should”). One of the things I tried providing in the 8 pictures this time around was dim lighting with ambient lighting. This simple combination results in a ton of possibilities to play around with as opposed to a picture that is perfectly lit with no environmental cues. For those of you that participated and sent me the pictures – thank you for taking the time to edit! It was super cool to see different perspectives on the pictures. Some that I looked at and thought “yeah, I’d edit it like that too!” and others “I never thought to edit this way!”. All in all, a good way of seeing everyone’s take on the same picture and how they apply their style.

There were so many edits – lots reposted on Instagram and I tried to reach out to everyone of you to send me the full-res images – so thanks to everyone that did. I’ll just start each picture with the original, unedited image that I took and I’ll post all the edits of that same picture and credit them. In no particular order – just added them in the order they uploaded! There is also no “winner” so I hope no one is expecting to be the best 🙂

The original above.

Spencer Hogg and his edit. A nice darker version with a little lens/light flare added in. Keeping with the yellow/purple tones.

Mike McConnell’s edit. A nice slide over to the warmer side of things, emphasizing on lots of the ambient lighting here.

Lanny’s edit. Quite the opposite and on the cooler side with more shadows and darks. Both work nicely because of all the lighting around and give different feels for sure.

Joshua McKenzie’s edit. A very strong and bold edit with lots of contrast and clarity. Dark lines and lots of presence – almost reminds me of a real Lexus ad.

Hoang Pham’s edit. Another dark and cool look with a dreamier state and feel and lots of emphasis on the front lights. Heavy vignetting here brings attention right to the car.

Elijah’s edit. Incorporating the feel of movement and “in your face” colours.

Moving onto the edit of Jimmy’s BMW Wagon. Here’s the original. Some nice foliage and foreground to play around with. Whenever grass is involved, there’s always a lot of possibilities with changing what type of season it is lol!

Hoang Pham’s edit. Again from Hoang is a very dreamy and soft looking picture with a very moody fuschia tone applied.

Joshua Mckenzie’s edit. Same thing here with Josh and his strong lines, contrast and clarity. Lots of presence in his edits with vivid colour.

Kevin Vuong’s edit. Warm and soft. Almost inviting to come towards the car.

Lanny’s edit. Emphasizing on the greens to help pop the car out. Some vignetting to further center the car and really darkening those clouds to help the white pop.

Mike McConnell’s edit. Maintaining the original colours and providing lots of contrast and clarity here. Lots of emphasis on the body lines and making it stand out.

Moving onto this shot. This one in particular was probably the most challenging IMO – even for myself but I thought I’d throw it in there anyway. There weren’t many that attempted this – and maybe because it was a bad shot or there wasn’t much to play with, but those that did might have found it difficult because of the lighting and the colours.

A dark car with a dark surrounding is hard to manage – adjusting white balance on picture like this takes a lot of work to get right without messing up the tones. The original vignetting is also something difficult to work with – you either remove it as best you can or you work with it.

Mike McConnell’s edit. Funny because this was actually a shot I took when I went out shooting with him LOL! Nice white balance here – maintaining the blues and yellows nicely. You can also see he took out much of the original vignetting and that worked well.

Lanny took a different approach and went towards a purple tint and emphasized the vignetting here. Still worked out well.

Hoang ‘s edit – utilizing the darkness and colours already existing and creating a soft and cool photo.

Onto the next with a picture of my old FRS and Jason Tang’s BRZ. I particularly liked this one because of the reflections and the complimentary colours. His BRZ matched the high rises behind him while my FRS matched the shadows in the windows behind it.

Lots of possibilities here…

Tom Piprek’s take on the photo. Small insert on Tom here – I have been following Tom for some time and particularly enjoy his composition and editing and I was happy to see his take on this.

He creates a very unique and antiquated look in his photos that create a lot of calm and presence. Anyone who follows Tom or knows his photos might be able to agree – he’s got a different eye for sure and it’s something worth appreciating.

Vo’s edit. Similar to Tom’s – utilizing the warmer tones and relying on a lot of the natural reflections to work themselves out in the picture to bring it all together.

Travis Roe’s edit. More on the purple tint side and vignetting included. Heavy shadows and lightening up the darks helps to bring my FRS more into the picture with nice reflections. Removing the parking lines also helped remove any little distractions to focus on the cars.

Mike’s edit. Nice highlighting behind the cars and bringing in more brightness. Lots of emphasis on the reflections and teal/aquas in the back.

Kevin Vuong’s edit – warmer but also a lot softer.

Josh’s edit. Strong colours and contrast with focus on shadows and a small light flare to emphasize the sunlight coming from that direction.

Hoang’s edit – softening up and creating a dreamy effect here. Going with a warm tone and vignetting to center the cars.

Elijah’s edit with very strong contrast, clarity, shadows, and saturation.

This one of Arif’s car was a pretty popular edit. Again, lots of potential here with two different light sources and lots of shadows to play with.

Brandon Wong’s edit. Brandon used a lot of the light here to his advantage creating a very warm scene imagining a strong flare coming through the doors.

Hoang’s edit. Utilizing heavy shadows and creating a darker scene with strong emphasis on the two light sources. Kind of reminds me of an Initial D scene.

Mike’s Edit. Bringing in lots of the natural light and applying more of it to the surrounding tires. Nice saturation in the ground to contrast the white/yellow of the car.

Spencer Hogg’s edit. On the warmer side with a bit of purple tint and more use of the door lighting here to create a flare-like effect.

Travis Roe’s edit. An edit that I didn’t think of but works very well. Selective colour editing isn’t rare, but it isn’t in my toolbox and maybe it should be. The darkness in the original photo lends to this working quite well. The yellow and red on the white car creates a really centered photo with a nice mood without making it too fake.

Travis had a second edit of this one with more colour in the photo. A little more on the vintage side with the surrounding colours but still works well in keeping the Civic the center of attention.

Vo’s edit. This gives a very soft and dated feel and I dig it. One thing that’s interesting to note as well is that Vo slightly rotated clockwise and cropped it a bit to his liking. It’s minor but it’s interesting to see how each person decides a photo should look. Just because a photo is composed a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way!

Another one that I thought could provide some fun was this distanced shot with some foreground and a sky that you could virtually do whatever you wanted with it.

Vo’s edit. A very soft and light edit providing simple tones and a milder background.

Travis Roe’s edit. Another example of where some of the picture was cropped to bring more of the car into focus and less surrounding distractions. Great emphasis on the car and wheels and bringing the golden sunset colours into play a bit more.

Ray Tran’s edit. You can see he brought in the colours of both the foreground and background nicely. Lots of detail in the shrubs and saturation in the sunset.

Mike’s edit. Another where cropping was done to bring the car closer. Nice warm tones make it feel like it was actually nice and sunny that evening. (It wasn’t lol).

Lanny’s edit. Bringing the highlights down a little to bring the clouds into view and upping some darks to make the car more visible here.

Joshua’s edit. This one brought lots of cool colours into the photo that make it feel surreal. Lots of detail retained in the sky without blowing anything out here. The magenta/orange look rad together.

Hoang’s edit. Again, very soft and dreamy from Hoang. Almost looks like an apocalypse happened in the distance. Nice orange/yellow hues here.

Another interesting one I wanted to give was one that included two almost contrasting colours. Blue and yellow – also the cool and warm tones you work so hard to get right. Lots of shadows and darks here for you to decide to turn up or down and ambient lighting to play with.

Vo’s edit. He kept with a lot of the main colours and again, gave it an antiquated feel and calmed it down a bit by turning the blues and yellows down.

Travis decided to crop and make it a vertical photo to get rid of distractions on the side. Again, another example of turning the blues and yellows down to work together instead of changing the hues.

Mike’s edit. Here, we have quite the opposite! Turning up the blues and yellows to create a vibrant picture works well too! I find that it’s particularly difficult to make opposing colour’s work together but Mike did it well here.

Joshua’s edit. A very warm and festival-like edit. By bringing in a lot of the accompanying ambient lighting and using those tones throughout the whole picture. Lots of contrast and clarity here help make the car pop.

Hoang’s edit. Here, he seems to take the shadows and builds on it. Creating a dark and moody photo leaving only the hanging lights above as the light source and removing much of the blues to create an even darker scene.

One of my personal favourite shots. Shooting at F1.4 can provide lots of great things with this lighting, especially when you can ensure that your subject is sharp. Same thing as the above photo – lots of shadows and ambient lighting to play around with here – the blues on the left of the photo and the yellows on the right of the photo means more possibilities to mix some tones.

Hoang’s edit. Creating again a dark and moody scene – almost foggy like. Lots of emphasis again on the environmental lighting creating a light haze around them.

Joshua’s edit. Similar to the one above – creating strong warm tones with contrast and clarity. The rear of the car is emphasized even more with the street lamps while the front shadows of the car continue to be strong.

Elijah’s edit. Utilizing the background to create a sense of movement here and creating a cool tone.

Kevin’s edit – taking out a lot of the coolness and replacing with a warm and soft edit. Shadows are left in tact to keep the “night time” feel.

Lanny’s edit. Keeping with the original feel but adding a bit of purple tones to the photo for some slightly different lighting feels. Again, shadows and darks are kept in tact.

Spencer’s edit. Moving to the cooler end of the spectrum and providing a more lonely and isolated feel in this.

Mike’s edit. Mike keeps the vibrance in the photo and pops the white of the car a little more to bring it into view.

Sunny Moon’s edit. Kind of what I mentioned for the original photo – playing with mixing colours here worked out well. A cooler and bluer photo at the front with a warmer/red tone in the rear.

Finally, Vo’s edit. On the warm side with toned down yellows/oranges providing a calm-feeling photo.

I think overall – there was a ton of good edits. I think if you happened to scroll through them all, you started to notice a trend across the people that edited more than 1. You could start to easily pinpoint people by looking at their photograph before seeing their name because of their style. I think that’s important – it’s a good way of illustrating that everyone has their style and it really defines you as a photographer.

I think if this has provided anything, it’s that there’s no right or wrong way to edit a photo because everyone has a different view on what a photo should look like. In this case, my composition is one thing and perhaps people didn’t feel like editing photos that they didn’t find interesting – whether it was the subject, the overall placement or even the colours. There are a few people that leaned towards the more natural side of editing a photo – trying to preserve as much as they can, while others preferred a more dramatic and stronger photo – either using hue changes or strong contrast and shadows or other effects.

I just wanted to thank everyone that participated and whether you sent me your pics or not and just reposted on Instagram – they looked great! It was refreshing to see a different take on my own photos and I would encourage anyone else who might have a RAW photo that they would like edited by others to do the same! It’s a nice way of engaging others that want to be challenged to something other than their own work. I think this is something I’ll do a little more often if it ends up taking off!

Let me know your thoughts!