Monday, August 23, 2010

Serialization of Akatsuki interviews continues

The second part of Akatsuki interviews has been uploaded to our Youtube account!

The filming took little longer compared to the first part. This time we had some action going on, which took numerous takes, some fooling and few snaps. We had some problems with outsiders, dogs and people in this case. We had to wait few times them to stop blabbing and barking under our window. We even made an little song about them in the brink of a moment. It went something like “It’s almost impossible to film when there are people talking loudly”-etc. We also had some problems with lighting also known as the sun. Because it was a cloudy day, not continuous shine all the time, the shots look rather dark. Some takes were not usable, so there are some small errors with few lines.

We filmed some extra material labeled “Sasori and Deidara moments” to be put out during this year in small portions. This for the celebration of our Sasori and Deidara cosplays, which we have worn out four years and for our blog, which we have wrote soon for a year.

Oh yeah, we didn't suffer any casualties, even if at one point we were coming down the stairs pretty fast.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sasori and Deidara gets interviewed again!

My eyes are heavy from all the make-up I require to make a decent Deidara. It might be that some of the weight is caused by crashing Movie Maker and the fact that I wasn't at my best today because of yesterday. But still, even if I was bit tired we had a productive day. We managed to shoot some material from Sasori and Deidara. Thus the second part of our Akatsuki interviews will be out tomorrow! We would have loved to finish and upload it today, but all-nighter didn't sound appealing for either of us.

We took few pictures so I can at least share something. Until tomorrow then!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Really, I'm just being precautious

So...I think I need to open my Do not-post a bit from the "topical" part. Few weeks ago we kind of chose pair of characters to be done after Snowtroopers and before fabric sparing costumes. And I kind of had seen earlier some perfect materials on our local fabric stores. I obviously purchased them. Have I mentioned that I love autumn? It always inspires me and I feel more energetic and creative than in any other time of the year. So what could be better way to spend chilly evenings than to draw patterns, dye fabrics or sew?

I have stated many times to Yoki that we first finish the Snowtroopers and concentrate the Jedi duo after them, but now I find myself breaking that promise. Actually I think that I have nagged about the previous trying to imbed the thought in my own head, because I know my nature.

Uh, I almost feel bad, but then I glimpse at what I have done and feel a bit proud. Luminara is looking good already at this state of progress. And I’m also being precautious! The current items I have been working on are not complex, but time consuming. When they are ready I can’t take my time with the leather details, which need great amount of attention and planning. I also promised to help Yoki with her outfit. So doesn’t it sound pretty reasonable that I share the workload?

This is how five and a half meter of cotton and sixteen meters of cotton lace look like. The top is on its way, it required little over a meter of tricot. And there will be a hoop skirt also, I haven acquired it yet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do not- From common to more topical

Do not think you can get away from reading instructions from body paints, spray paints, glues or pretty much anything. The time you read them doesn’t compare to the time you need to use to correct your mistakes after messing up.

Do not leave the make-up testing for the morning of the convention. Especially is you haven’t read the instructions.

Do not assume that you have the right sides of the fabrics facing each other before you start sewing them together. Check it and presumably double check it.

Do not wear one size too small shoes for a convention a) if you haven’t broke them in b) known to have great amount of will power to bear pain.

Do not assume that you have settings right on your camera before you start filming or taking pictures. Always check before long takes that you are actually filming. If lacking before, you might find questionable material when you are starting the editing process. You might also suffer from mental breakdown when you realize that all real material is nowhere. Be prepared for the previous or double-double check your settings.

Do not buy fabrics without references just because you think you have an excellent memory for prints, textures and colors.

Do not sew when you are upset or angry.

Do not do anything related to cosplay when you are upset or angry.

Do not start sewing a long seam or hem before you have made sure you have enough lower thread. Universal truth is that it will run out and you don’t realize it.

Do not spray paint foam of any type without a test out. Particularly if you have worked hours to get the foam perfectly cut and sanded.

Do not assume that your great innovation works without some tweaking.

Do not think that the time you have reserved for the preparations of putting on a costume is enough. Add at least an hour to it.

Do not start watching or reading interesting series before you have finished the costumes you are currently working on. New acquaintances don’t feel sorry for mesmerizing you.

Do not buy before hand anything for future projects just because you found perfect materials and pretend that you can just stick them in your closet and avoid the urge to start working with them.

Do not presume that you can just draw some patterns ready for the project mentioned.

Do not imagine that you could actually avoid working on the components for your future costumes, which sit in front of you ready and prepared.

Do not underestimate the power of the inspiring time of the year, boredom or the sudden burst of creativity. Mind of a cosplayer doesn't always settle for planning and imaging.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lack of ladies - solved

Hiron stated in the post 'something feminine' that we were looking for female characters with the right attitude and clothing. Mission impossible made a turn towards success as she found a game called Heavenly Sword. Yes, two great ladies with a fascinating and sad story. And of course showy and "not too minimalistic" clothing is also part of their fittings. I'm not sure am I allowed to make announcement like this, anyway we were quite sure that Nariko and Kai were going to be our plan for summer 2011.

Then something happened. Was it the geekiness or our linked minds, even Hiron's obsession towards tents or the fact that we've been watching too much Star Wars recently, I'm not sure. The result however, was that our next project, after finishing snowtroopers of course, is to make these beautiful ladies.

Copyright Lucasarts.

Jedi master Luminara Unduli and her (former) padawan Barriss Offee. Nothing beats the Jedi. I had thought the possibility of making Luminara's Clone wars version, not too long ago and suddenly Hiron comes to me and says: "Luminara and Barriss." It needn't much persuasion, only the picture of the jedi master's huge 'tent' with nice little details and leather decorations, when I shouted: "You'll be the master, you'll be the master!" This will be the first time ever when Hiron gets to be a character in a higher position than the one I'm cosplaying. She has already raided through our hometown's fabric stores three times during her search for perfect and accurate materials. My presence made Hiron's stress level to rice because I was constantly in the way blocking her path, even though I tried not to be.

-yoki out

Friday, August 13, 2010

Live-action or animated?

Next year we will cosplay like never before. We will cosplay from movies faces exposed. This far all our costumes have either been made based on drawn characters or masked ones from films. Because of our up-coming project (which is almost too alluring, distracting us from what we should be doing) I have pondered the differences between these two sources and why it seems to be easier to cosplay from comics and animations.

When it comes to movie cosplays or costume imitations the quality and attributions of materials matters more for me. The textures and types of textiles can be identified with eyesight. Also how the fabric has been handled or constructed is easy to notice. For example, it’s not hard to spot from live image is the design on the fabric printed or woven. When making costumes based on animated model there are some margins to work in. Interpretation is more important than observation. The tools to use can be costume history, intuition or plainly the selection of the nearest fabric store. Imagination serves as a big factor, because the source is all made up also. But with movies, everything is real. The materials exist somewhere, even if you don't have the access to them.

That's why being as accurate as possible with the references plays bigger role with movie costumes. When construction is based on animation you can bend the rules a little according to your own taste. Because the materials can hardly be exactly the same as in the movies, the importance of details, cut lines, designs and close-enough textures are for me the main points to follow.

With movie costumes, finding references is not a problem. You don’t only have to rely on promotional pictures or the movies themselves to collect them, thanks to movie costume exhibitions. There is nothing in the animation sources which could be compared to them. I thought about original art or cover art as options, but in them the artist usually uses his freedom of expression and doesn’t necessary follow the “real” character design. Of course there are character sheets with detailed information but in the end, they are only paper or pixels. The reality is way more informative, even if in pictures.

Movie costumes don’t usually change. They stay the same, so you don’t get lost with different alternations. I bet every cosplayer knows the difference with elaborate manga and simplified anime designs. The costumes may get dirty or torn but the constructive side doesn’t alter. This way you are not made to choose between one or the other or combining the two, which for some seems to be rather big sin on cosplayers books. With only one true model, you really can’t go wrong or then again, you really can go wrong. Somehow I see movie costuming much stricter, which is why we also have been avoiding it, but not because of the materialistic side of it, but with the physical.

The main point is to look like the character, but with movie cosplays you are faced with another similarity aspect. With animation people interpret the features of the character always little different. Especially with Japanese production, where the amount of facial features is stripped to minimum. In movies, it’s not only about the characters appearance, but also the actors. Real human faces are naturally more easy and obvious to read. I don’t know am I viewing this too seriously, but I can’t see myself trying to portray a person, who I don’t resemble a bit gender-, posture- or facial-wise. We have been avoiding this issue with masks, which has worked really well.

With the project we were able to solve or dodge all the issues we have with movie costumes. Gladly, or perhaps because the previous points we chose characters with peculiar skin color and striking features. This way the actor’s facial structure and proportion plays much smaller role. Also we finally found a kick ass female duo, so no problems with the sex neither. But still, this new movie costuming project will be a challenge. An enjoyable one. The only problem for me is to suppress the desire to start working! I need a lot of Force to over-come my cravings…

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tutorial- Kind of a felt hat

Picture from acedia's Tracon V files, 2010.

For Joxter's headwear I needed to do a cone hat. For me the obvious material was wool. I don't see artificial materials existing at Moomin Valley. I didn't have the luxury of space nor did I feel like using a day or more for water plays with felting, so I took a bypath. I thought about using readymade felt, but the hat would have required huge sheets. Also I didn't want seams to be visible. Instead of regular felting or felt I chose to use needle felting, which doesn't really require much skill. You can do it while watching TV and it really can't go wrong. And it's not expensive, even if you don't have materials from old projects which you could use.

For Joxter's type of a hat I made a base from fiber fabric or fiber textile, I don't know what the real word is. The material is typically used in upholstery. It's white, almost more like light cardboard than fabric and the fibers are quite visible. If there are creases on it, you can straighten it when the fabric is damp and let it dry. Cardboard or chicken wire could be used as a skeleton, but there should be some defining shape underneath the cover, because it's really limp as its own. I discovered soon that fiber fabric was a great choice, because it can be sown. No glue needed.

For the cover you obviously need wool and a felting needle and some type of a base. When you needle felt it's required. Otherwise it would be almost impossible. Piece of foam plastic is my favorite. Then you need something to felt on. I used sheet cotton I had lying around. It would be wise, if the middle layer and the wool were the same color. Minor errors would not be visible. I needed to do some patching up with my hat, because there where few white spots here and there. I don't really know how to measure the felt. I didn't weight it, but I had two plastic bags, approximately one liter capacity. Small amount were left unused.

And then felting needles of course. They can be found from craft or fabric stores. If you like to pimp them up there are "handles" to put them in, making them more comfortable to use and also safer. For some you can stick multiple needles, so the process speeds up.

And the usual: glues, yarns, regular needles and possibly some band aid. If you would like to coat the inside of the hat, any fabric will do. I had some tricot lying around, so I used that.

First you need to prepare the skeleton for the hat. I had more than enough materials, so I didn't pay too much attention to this phase. You could make patterns from paper, trying out different methods. My pattern was pretty much about circles. First I drew a circle on fiber fabric. The radius was about the preferred height of the hat. Then I started to take slices out until, in cone shape, the circuit was sized to fit in my head.

Then I made another circle. I measured the width of the rim for the outer edge of the circle and added about a centimeter extra for seam allowance. Then I chopped off few blocks from it to make it curve slightly down. It's possible to take a piece off from one place, but I wanted the rim to look wavy and uneven so I took parts out from three different spot.

At this point I also cut the base cotton. You need two similar rim pieces as in your skeleton and one cone piece.

I just need to add, that you can calculate and base the pattern on numbers. That is what Yoki would have done, but not me. I'm experimenter.

Then it's time to assemble the skeleton. I sew the cone part by hand and attach the rim to the cone with zigzag. I also cut the peak of the cone off, because Joxter's hat is little ruffed up, not pointy.

Then it's time to felt. Take the platform, the "base" and wool and start needling. There is no right way to do it, but more you stick the lasting the result is. And be careful, felting needles are sharp even if they don't look like it. They also might break few times, so buy some extras while you are at it.

After felting I put the whole thing together. I started the inside coating. I cut the fabric roughly, but it could be cut while everything else. Just make it little bigger than the cone part. Then I glued it to place.

Next was the inside of the rim. While I waited the glue to dry I felted the upper rim to the cone. At this point I trimmed the fiber fabric rim edges so that there was only felt and cotton sheet on the edges. Then I glued the top part to the skeleton.

I pushed the peak inside of the hat and after it was dry I felted the two layers together on the rim. The structure was rather thick, so I sew around the edge to flatten it. I also made some stiches all over the rim in case of failing glue.

Right side finished.