Creature Costuming [Part 1]: Design & Planning

Uploaded by CanineHybrid on 14.09.2011

>> TOM: This panel will give you a better idea of how to build Groudon over there.
We're gonna go over some basics like construction, the methods, the materials, and other various things.
I'm Tom, I've been making models and props for various years.
In fact, I entered a model into the mecha competition this year and I won first place.
And this is Riley, I think you saw her at the cosplay contest.
>> RILEY: Probably. I'm also known as CanineHybrid. I've been building costumes since 2007
and I'm really well known for my Pokémon creations primarily.
I work at Jo~Ann Fabrics so I have a lot of experience working with these kind of materials and tools.
And I really wanted to present a costume panel like this at a convention because
I think that cosplay is a lot more than just dressing up as a human, or person-thing.
A lot of times there's a lot of creatures and various monsters that can be found
in all sorts of things that this convention is about.
And I want to make that sort of- graspable by everyone.
>> TOM: You could to the Tauntaun from Star Wars, or you could do League Of Legend cosplays
You could do - we have an example right there from... I'm drawing a blank
>> RILEY: Avatar! >> TOM: Avatar! I knew the name, just...
it's Sunday, and less sleep I'm sure you all know about that.
>> RILEY: Monster Energy!
We got Final Fantasy characters, Pokémon of course, Digimon. It comes from everywhere.
So, one thing we wanted to ask for this panel is that we are going to be covering
a lot of expansive topics and your questions will probably be answered as we go along.
So we're gonna hold all questions for the very end.
>> TOM: Yes, though if it pertains very very relevant to what we're covering
please ask it so you don't forget-
>> RILEY: Or if you need clarification on what we said at that moment
So without further ado, let's go!
>> TOM: You'll want to choose a character!
>> RILEY: It's probably one of the most important steps, otherwise you couldn't get started at all.
However, it's a little bit of a challenge I would say.
>> TOM: Yeah, you'll probably want to pick a character that appeals to you,
like something you'll *want* to finish 'cause you will be this character.
In cosplay you want to be the character that you're doing, so you'll want to be able to finish it.
>> RILEY: Yes, and also you want to like being the character that you are cosplaying, so
It would really help if you had something that you would want to do and would like.
The next thing you really have to worry about though is considering...the...
problems of video equipment.
>> TOM: Yep, there we go.
>> RILEY: Oh! Well. That's... cool
>> TOM: I did not click that button if you were wondering.
>> RILEY: Is to consider the shape of the creature that you're doing.
Because there are literally endless possibilities that you can come up with for creature design.
We can't cover everything, but we can give you the basics.
You always have to consider the shape of the character, how they're proportioned, their complexity,
and how costume adaptation will work most effectively.
There's gonna be a lot of issues you'll have to go around in order to get this to fit into a human form.
>> TOM: And one great example is Shadow Lugia!
>> RILEY: The costume head is right here and you've probably seen the full body walking around several times.
The original design that I came up with-
I decided right off the bat that I did not want to have a long neck extension
because that would just enable a lot of difficulty maneuvering in costume, being able to see, and
a lot of times I feel that I really want to give life to my characters,
and I felt the long neck would make it too stiff.
I'm still working on some methods on how to get it more flexible.
So I decided I needed to go with a more anthro version.
>> TOM: That, and the longer neck means
you'd have more support which would be more weight on your shoulders,
which is uncomfortable and you wouldn't want to wear it for too long.
>> RILEY: Exactly. There's a lot of things, again, to consider.
And here was the first one I did: I decided
"What would it look like if I kept every, single, solitary Lugia proportion...
except for that long neck?"
As you can see, it looks a little awkward. It's very large, round, low-set...
>> TOM: Potbellied. >> RILEY: Yeah, it wasn't quite what I was going for.
So I tried again. >> TOM: And this was the next design.
>> RILEY: This one is basically no body padding whatsoever.
It's as if I kept a completely human body, minus the wings of course.
And I decided it wasn't quite *animal* enough. It wasn't quite Lugia enough for me.
>> TOM: And then we came to this. Well- *she* came to this.
>> RILEY: A compromise between the two:
I have the digitigrade padding, which gives the effect of having an animal's leg
as if they're standing on their toes. And a few little tweaks here and there
gave it a nice balance that I felt was appropriate for costume design,
likability in my standards, and how well it portrays the character
without sacrificing too much.
>> TOM: There we go! Oh did I skip one?
>> RILEY: Oh yes, ok. I swear there's another slide.
>> TOM: So here's some examples of characters you can do.
There's Kyuubi from Naruto, there's Renamon from Digimon,
I'm sure a lot of you know both of those. And there's Toothless!
From the "How to Train Your Dragon". And all of these are courtesy of Monoyasha
She's very talented. All except for the Renamon.
>> RILEY: Yeah. That's CassiniCloset.
>> TOM: You'll want to adapt the shape to the human form. For example take Umbreon-
Umbreon walks on all fours so we made it stand up straight, you know- bipedal.
She also did this [human adaptation] with Shadow Lugia.
>> RILEY: The adaptation to human form...
there are some very key things you need to keep in mind. I think one of the largest ones is probably vision.
You need to be able to see where you're going, or at least have some way that you can walk around
without injuring yourself or others.
Kind of important.
Weight of the costume is going to play a big factor as well because you can get tired and, well-
Groudon is a pretty heavy costume.
>> TOM: She's getting pretty tired already.
>> RILEY: But I have made some adjustments with it in terms of how I built it, I can show you later,
that gives it a lot better airflow. We make sure she has lots of breaks.
It's an element we have to go around when making cosplay
Tom: You'll also want lots of references, so you'll have a better idea of how the head is shaped because
you'll have an idea of it in your head, but it's better to see it in front of you.
You might make one of the arrow things on [Groudon's] head shorter than it's supposed to be.
(To Riley) You have a good example on the feet don't you? On Groudon.
Riley: Oh right! For example when I was building Groudon
I was drawing up all this concept art and I didn't have a good view of the back [of his legs],
because the Pokémon Black and White games had not come out so I didn't have the back sprite.
And then I was watching the TV show with Groudon and I noticed something I didn't at first:
at the very back of the feet here, there are these grates [notches] that give him a
special imprint, footprint, on the ground and I didn't plan for that in my original design.
So it was something I had to go back later and fix up.
When I start a costume, I gather as much references as possible: screenshots, 3D models, figurines, artwork,
and even costumes that other people have already created before you.
>> TOM: It gives you a better idea of how they've done it or gives you an idea of how you could do it better.
>> RILEY: It's gonna keep doing that. >> TOM: Yes, but-
>> RILEY: Fantastic! >> TOM: Fantastico!
Riley: And then back to some adaptations, we also mention movement is a big one;
you don't want to constrain your movement too much otherwise you won't want to move around in it very often.
Comfortablilty determines exactly how long you can stand wearing it without suffering.
And we talked about quadripedal versus bipedal, and as you saw previously there was a Toothless cosplay?
That is actually called a "quadsuit" where it has extensions for the arms.
That's a very advanced technique.
We will not be covering it in our main panel, but it does exist. >> TOM: You can ask us later about it.
But yes, it's very very advanced technique that most people can't do their first time around.
>> RILEY: Yeah we don't recommend it.
>> TOM: You'll want to start planning! You’ll want to sketch a design, no matter how basic it is.
>> RILEY: Yeah, even if you are not quite the artist.
Stick figures and little scribbles honestly help you out so much.
>> TOM: I'm good at painting but not drawing: I draw stick figures!
>> RILEY: He draws stick figures! >> TOM: Yes.
>> RILEY: And, it works for you just fine. >> TOM: Yes it does, that's how we got Umbreon made.
>> RILEY: If you're not the best drawer in the world,
there are a few other options you can use for getting your design on paper.
Because in your head, it'll only go so far.
You cannot understand a lot of how it's gonna finally look and the complexities that come about it
and the challenges in the design, until you've actually analyzed each section of it.
Here is an example of something I did: I actually took photographs of myself
standing like this, to the side, and the back.
So what I did was I took it into the computer and I traced it, so I made just a lineart version of it.
But another thing you can do is take photographs, you can print them out. And then on top of that
You can draw your design. I did this so I can determine exactly how me, my body, not his, not hers,
*my* body would fit into my idea of a costume design.
>> TOM: Because she's the one wearing it, not me.
>> RILEY: And so that's why I really recommend trying to do the photograph thing.
It's a little difficult sometimes to get the proportions just right,
but it will honestly help you visualize it better in the long run and you can make changes
depending on your body shape and your type.
You want to do something that's going to work for *you*.
And you don't have to do it this fancy, by any means.
>> TOM: Yes, you can do very simple sketching like I do.
>> RILEY: And, the last option is, if you're like "I'm not gonna draw this".
Commission somebody to draw it for you.
There are lots of people who do costume art design out there, and they would love your business
In fact they've worked so much with costumes, they could probably offer you a lot of advice
and help just getting started or figuring out whether or not you should do that extra padding on the legs.
>> TOM: In fact, there's some free references, not as great as the commissioned ones, but they're online.
>> RILEY: They're free templates. >> TOM: Search for them.
>> RILEY: Yeah, they usually come in basic shapes, for example a wolf. You want to do a basic wolf,
"oh I'm gonna turn it into Okami"
You print out that white wolf and you draw its Okami markings and you're like "ok! This is what I'm gonna do.
This gives me an idea of how it's gonna look" and in multiple angles also really helps.
Because like I said, I wouldn't have known how to do the back of Groudon if I hadn't looked at
a picture of his back.
So that's kinda how that plays in.
>> TOM: You'll also want to break it down into several parts. It'll be more manageable that way.
It varies between project to project. For Shadow Lugia, you had to attach the tail to the bodysuit
so you couldn't work on the tail separately.
>> RILEY: Correct. I decided not to make it detachable. Same thing with Groudon here:
bodysuit and the tail are one piece. I mostly did that, while it's a little bit of an inconvenience,
as one piece it would flow better and all the movement would translate better through the tail.
And it would not have an ugly seam running around where there's an obvious separated section.
So I couldn't sacrifice that for Groudon, but say your Umbreon over there...
>> TOM: We could easily do that. Could you stand up and show them?
>> RILEY: Come on over here. >> TOM: Turn around, wag your tail.
>> RILEY: This tail's completely separate,
it's not attached to the bodysuit so it doesn't weigh it down in the back. It's connected by a belt.
>> TOM: And for the Groudon it's one continuous tail that goes into the body so it looks more natural.
Which is what you were aiming for I'm assuming?
>> RILEY: Yes!
So the other divisions of the suit...
>> TOM: So you go to the head- whenever the screen comes back up- body, tail, hands and feet.
>> RILEY: Yeah, a lot of times just analyzing each separate piece and determine,ok
what can be removable that needs to be removable for being able to get in and out of the costume.
>> TOM: Or for ease of transporting it, because if it's all one thing you'll need to have like an SUV...
>> RILEY: Yeah, Groudon does not travel easily.
>> TOM: It takes up 3 seats.
>> RILEY: So that is something we have to work around also.
>> TOM: And something very very important: you want a second opinion.
Try to take it as nicely as you can. When they write it out, like several paragraphs, don't take it as an insult:
They just really want to help you and they're really excited and can't control themselves.
>> RILEY: A second eye will give you great insight into what may not work, that you did not see before,
and especially when you're just starting out you've not quite gotten the idea of ok,
how is this padding going to affect the way I walk? Or how am I going to be able to see
if my eyes are a little bit too far apart- but I think it looks okay...?
It may not work in practicality and someone will be able to point that out to you
before you get into trouble in the building stage.
>> TOM: Because no matter how much you've done it, there's probably someone else who's done it more.
>> RILEY: Exactly, and on your little sheets that we passed out is the reference guide
that you'll need for knowing everything there is to know about this and asking questions.
It's the fursuit community on LiveJournal. It's near the top of the page.
If you want a critique, go there. If you want to see other people's work in progress
and see their critiques? Go there.
>> TOM: There's also two common methods. Riley- she usually works on the entire thing in stages,
where I worked on Umbreon... like I finished the head then worked on the feet.
>> RILEY: Yeah, to explain that a little bit better, I do all of the foam-work construction first-
the entire thing. Hands, head, tail, etc.
And then once all of that is put together and finished, I take a look at it, see how it moves, see how it feels,
and I determine ok, is that hand going to be big enough or do I need to make it a little smaller
compared to the rest of the body and the head?
It's all about balancing your proportions. It's a lot more difficult when you have
a very large-headed character which we'll see a little bit later:
you have to make sure, relative to their body, that it's going to look right and you're going to
be able to translate that into a design.
So by doing that, I can determine all the fixing that needs to be done in the foaming stage
before it's too late.
If I had already finished the head: did all the fabric, the eyes, and everything, and then I started
working on the bodysuit and go "oh oh... That head is too small."
Well the only other option is to accept that, or I'm gonna have to rip apart and fix some things.
>> TOM: And that's more work than you'd be willing to do.
>> RILEY: So I do suggest doing it as fully one...*stage*
The foaming stage and then the fabric stage.