Friday, December 12, 2014

Lights! - Crimson Embersilk Battlegear - Part 04

Thinkgeek's Technomancer Hoodie helped inspire the main lighting concept, however the gesture based lighting would not work very well in a cosplay setting. I didn't want to just throw lights on the costume without reason.  While many of the armor sets in World of Warcraft feature glowing gems and other lighting, the Battlegear does not. So I decided to theme the lighting around the types of magic that Mages cast; Fire (red), Frost (Blue) and Arcane (White).

With that in mind, I needed a way to select which theme to display at a given time. I considered using switches, but I didn't know how well I would be able to manipulate them with gloves on. Adafruit also offered an RF based toggle switch, which would let me send a selection to the controller without the button or switch being wired directly to the costume. The idea of wires catching on something while wearing the costume weighed heavily into my design considerations.

I started doing some tests with the NeoPixel light strips as well as the NeoPixel rings. I wanted a natural fade-in, fade-out pulse effect. I did some research on how others have simulated the effect and found that most used an array of values for the LED intensity that moved the brightness up and down, the more values in the array, the smoother the transition.

What I then realized was the array of values could be replaced with a sine or cosine function, with some modifications to keep the value range between the dimmest I wanted the lights and the brightest.

I will post a full write up on the code in a later update.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Big Hat! - Crimson Embersilk Battlegear - Part 03

Vensy's Giant Hat Tutorial was a Huge help. I built a wire armature around the papercraft hat, following most of the polygon edges with wire. This would allow me to duplicate the asymmetrical look of the hat, the in-game version is crumpled, rather than a nice neat cone. (I found the welding wire on Amazon)

After removing the paper hat, I began to hand sew batting to the inside and outside of the wire frame and fortunately my Mother had a _ton_ of batting scraps left from her quilting projects. It took about a week to complete, but I wanted the batting to follow the shape of the hat as much as possible, so I stitched it along each wire "edge".

The next step was to shape the inside brim to make it wearable, adding padding to make it a snug, but comfortable fit on my head. I ended up using two small strips of EVA foam and more batting to shape it.

Then end result? I knew I was going to have a big wizard hat for Blizzcon!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Begining - Crimson Embersilk Battlegear - Part 02

Ideas on how to make this costume were bouncing around in my head shortly after the little cosplayer meet-up we had in Irvine the weekend after Blizzcon, but I didn't start any real work on it until after Gallifrey One 2014, the Doctor Who convention.

I decided to break the costume down into two projects; the costume itself, including the robes, the shoulder armor and oversized hat. The second part would be the lighting, I would need to find something I could wire into the costume, provide power for hours and control in some way better than simple on/off.

My investigation into programable LED lighting lead me to, a New York based company that produces components for wearable and other DIY project. They have a whole host of tutorial videos, sample projects and a forum where I was able to research my ideas.

I eventually decided to go with their NeoPixel product, which would use an Arduino as the controller. A NeoPixel is essentially an RPG LED and a small chip that greatly simplifies the curcuit requirements, all it needs is +5v, Ground and a Digital line for signal.  With that in mind, I ordered some components and began to experiment.

At the same time, I began researching the robes themselves. Fabrics are very important and I spent some time debating between weight and texture as well as color shade. I needed a red for the main robe. a light brown for the the base robe and black for all the trim and straps. Eventually I found the fabrics at Joann's; Red Linen, Brown Microsuede, and a Black fabric with a snakeskin texture from the home decor section.

The build itself started with looking at the more challenging aspects of the costume. One of the more iconic pieces is the oversized wizard hat, with its shoulder wide brim and asymmetrical "crooked" look, I knew it would need to look just-right convey what I wanted.

I started by looking at the model from within the game itself by using a technique from my previous King Varian Wrynn costume build. A program called WoW Model Viewer, allowed me to extract I the hat (and mask) and import it into another program called Pepakura.

Pepakura takes 3D Models and turns them into papercraft. The papercraft hat allowed me to get an idea of how to scale the hat, since the brim was about as wide as the figure's shoulders in-game, I decided to build the paper hat to the same size for myself.

I struggled on how to turn this paper model into a real hat. I knew I wanted it to be made from the same cloth as the robe, rather than use something like Worbla, Wonderflex or even Fiberglass...

Then I found the amazing Giant Hat Tutorial by my friend, Vensy.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cosplay Cataclysm - Crimson Embersilk Battlegear - Part 01

About a year ago, November of 2013, I already started thinking about a costume for Blizzcon 2014.

After King Varian Wrynn, I had a couple of requirements in mind:

  • Must be able to Sit Down.
  • Not based on a particular NPC
  • No big Armor pieces
  • Prop would be secondary

I started thinking about a cloth set from the World of Warcraft Cataclysm Expansion, that, from the moment I saw it, thought was very cool.

(I remember worrying that it might be so rare, or hard to get that my Mage might never get it.)

This design had a few different color combinations; red and black, white and gold, white and purple, and grey and black.

I settled on the red set pretty early, even though in-game this particular combination didn't have its own name, I started calling it "Crimson Embersilk Battlegear".

Around this time I also saw a product from ThinkGeek called the Technomancer Digital Wizard Hoodie

And I started to think I could incorporate a light show similar to hoodie into the costume that would stand out nicely in the darkened main hall of Blizzcon.

So I broke the costume down into two projects; the robe (including the giant hat) and the light show. I wanted to be sure the costume itself was good enough that if I couldn't figure out how to do the lights, it would still be perfectly good to wear. I wanted the lights to enhance the costume, I didn't want them to look gaudy or for anyone to think I just slapped LEDs on it because it was a thing to do.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Shalamayne Update

Going with a leather wrap for Shalamayne's handle. There actually is leather wrapped around the handle under all that string. I'm giving it about 24 hours to dry then I'll remove the string.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Varian Wrynn - Shoulder Armor (Before & After)

Here is the near complete lion pauldron next to a papercraft model. Yes, the finished one started as nothing more than folded paper.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Painting the hilt of Shalamayne

My first attempt for painting the hilt was to use a base coat of yellow, then dry brush various shades of gold metallic paint. But that didn't work at all.

Metallic paint doesn't give good coverage, so it ended up a splotchy mess.

I redid the base coat with gold spray paint. It looks pretty good and hopefully I'll be able to add shadows and highlights using acrylic paint over it.