The 3D-print­ing ex­traor­di­naires re­veal all

3D Artist - - CONTENTS -

How two stu­dents went from art school to cos­play ge­nius

Learn­ing 3d for the first time can be over­whelm­ing, what with all the dif­fer­ent soft­ware, in­ter­faces and ter­mi­nol­ogy that you will face. Of course, it helps to have a friend there along­side you. such was the case for duo sarah C Awad and dhe­merae Ford, who met at an art class and sub­se­quently cre­ated the­laser­girls.

At that point, the­laser­girls were only re­ally fo­cused on us­ing 3d print­ing as a tool for cre­at­ing art­work. it wasn’t un­til they started de­sign­ing 3d-printed fin­ger­nails that they found a small com­mu­nity of those look­ing for nails to in­cor­po­rate into their cos­plays and cos­tumes. “We had al­ways been in­ter­ested in cos­tume de­sign and prop mak­ing, so we thought mar­ry­ing cos­play with 3d print­ing would be a great chal­lenge for us.”

to­gether, the duo now create in­tri­cately de­tailed cos­tumes us­ing 3d mod­el­ling, print­ing and scan­ning along with tra­di­tional fabric and leather work­ing. the fabric parts are sewn by hand with help from their tal­ented seam­stress friends and the leather com­po­nents are hand cut, punched, dyed and fin­ished. “We try to 3d print pieces of the cos­tume that would be the most re­alised through that process: weapons and ar­mour with unique de­tails, pieces we want to de­sign mod­u­larly or en­gi­neer in a new way – pieces that ben­e­fit from be­ing 3d printed.”

Both Awad and Ford cos­play as film and videogame char­ac­ters – some­times tak­ing an in­ter­est­ing spin on an ex­ist­ing cos­tume idea. the most chal­leng­ing print for

Awad so far took the form of Fi­nal Fan­tasy: Ad­vent Chil­dren’s Cloud and his strife Fu­sion sword. “i am more of a dig­i­tal sculp­tor,” she says, “so this build went com­pletely against how my brain works, which was one of the rea­sons i chose to do it. i re­ally worked out the kinks in my para­met­ric solids mod­el­ling work­flow on this build and re­ally learned a lot from dhe­merae.”

Ford, mean­while, had her own chal­lenges with Fi­nal Fan­tasy VII’S iconic sword. “it took a huge amount of en­gi­neer­ing, along with sev­eral fail­ures along the way, to get that sword just right. it didn’t turn out per­fect ei­ther and we def­i­nitely learned a lot about ma­te­rial science. the fi­nal sword prob­a­bly weighs around 15 pounds, too, which was a fac­tor i didn’t even con­sider when de­sign­ing it!”

What have the two learned from their jour­ney so far?

For Awad, it’s the free­dom to print. “Be­ing able to model and print has re­ally em­pow­ered me and has not only taught me that i am ca­pa­ble of mak­ing things i never thought i would be able to make, but has also re­vealed a new pas­sion in me – the de­sire to teach oth­ers and give them the same tools that have truly changed my life.”

Ford ex­plains, “i’ve learned to spend less time wor­ry­ing about small de­tails and to fo­cus more on the larger pic­ture. Hav­ing to put to­gether an en­tire cos­tume us­ing many dif­fer­ent meth­ods and tech­niques forces to you to con­sider the cos­tume as a whole. i’ve also learned a va­ri­ety of in­ter­est­ing skills, such as belt mak­ing and leather­work­ing, that i never would have been in­volved with oth­er­wise.”

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