The allure of 3D printing is wooing creators from all walks of life. Along with the immense practical applicability of additive manufacturing and 3D printing in various industries, it is also being used to create incredible art pieces. From medical research to the entertainment industry, the magic of 3D printing has touched every domain. It is amongst the most groundbreaking technology in the crafting sector today. The budding relationship between 3D printing and cosplay is another example of the versatility of this technology.
The cosplay community is no exception. Enthusiasts are now leveraging the endless capabilities of 3D printers to create their favorite designs. Costume play or cosplay is a style of performance art, which involves people dressing up as their beloved characters. The costumes are usually modeled after characters from the TV series, comics, anime, movies, and video games. Enthusiasts around the world gather and show their cosplays at conventions such as Comic-Cons.
HOW 3D PRINTING BRINGS CHARACTERS TO LIFE
Cosplay aficionados can get pretty creative with their costumes. 3D printing enables the cosplayers to express their creativity truly. There are a few factors that go into creating a good design. You have to keep size, durability, materials required for the layout in mind. By being mindful of these variables, you will be able to create an authentic-looking model. While the traditional approaches of sculpting and sewing are still the more-preferred methods for costume making. However, 3D printers are quickly becoming a part of this equation.
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You can print entire costumes, as well as different props, armor pieces, masks, weapons, helmets, and the list goes on. 3D printers mainly come in handy when you need certain items that are either unavailable or difficult to find. Frequently, one missing piece can cause the whole costume to fall apart. With a 3D printer, you will not have to worry about searching for unique props and parts, as you can print them by yourself. 3D printers are truly helping enthusiasts step up their cosplay game.
3D PRINTING AND COSPLAY: HOW TO USE 3D PRINTING FOR COSPLAY
Creativity is vital when it comes to cosplaying. That is why the most favored approach to using a 3D printer is to print models that are difficult to create using traditional methods. 3D printers are essentially allowing the users to create impressive-looking outfits and costumes, without a big studio budget. People can create Hollywood-esque pieces without breaking the bank.
Several aspects of costume creation can benefit from 3D printing. From creating accessories and props to compliment your existing costumes, to designing completely new features from scratch, you can print articles to look exactly like your favorite Marvel and DC characters. Cosplayers around the world are using 3D printers to personalize their costumes, add that personal touch while creating hyper-realistic outfits and props. Many also share their designs and publish them online for cosplay brethren to download, print, and remix.
3D PRINTING AND COSPLAY: UNDERSTAND THE SCALE
To create an authentic-looking piece, it requires attention to a few details. Understanding the scale is essential, as usually, cosplay requires a relatively larger build volume. The printed pieces are generally worn, or scaled-down parts of a sizeable costume. Although most of the beginner level 3D printers used in homes have smaller print beds, you can still use them to create full-scale pieces. The printing technology you have access to also plays a vital role in determining the detail and size you can achieve with your printer.
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As for the durability, it mostly depends on the filament used for the build. The choice of the filament and build volume impact durability. Small build volume results in more weld, which in turn results in potential weak points in the printed item.
Here are a few things that you should pay attention to when using a 3D printer to print costumes:
- Accurately measure the body dimensions beforehand, as this will determine the size of the costume.
- Analyze the type of materials and filaments that will be required for this particular build.
- You can either use 3D modeling or 3D scanning to develop your digital model. Understanding how different props function helps you make this choice.
WHERE TO FIND COSPLAY CAD MODELS?
The first step to making a 3D printed item is to create or get a CAD file. As for cosplay costumes, there are a few options, from designing your own to you using someone else's model.
DESIGNING YOUR OWN MODEL
If you are well versed and have the necessary skills to use CAD software, this is the most creative option. You can use any of the free programs like 3DS Max, Maya, and Blender to design your own pieces from scratch. It gives you the most room for personalization. You can also import existing models, tweak and play around with them or scan real objects with a 3D scanner and turn them into CAD data.
FREE ONLINE RESOURCES
If you are not familiar with or know how to operate CAD programs, you can use this approach. There are hundreds of thousands of ready to print models available online. Famous repositories like MyMiniFactory and Thingiverse have tons of free 3D cosplay models.
HIRE SOMEONE OR BUY DESIGNS
Lastly, if there is any particular character that you want to bring to life, but lack the time or expertise, you can hire a designer to do this job. You can find exceptionally talented 3D designers on MakeXYZ and Shapeways. You can also purchase premium 3D cosplay models online from sites like CGTrader.
SCULPTING OR 3D PRINTING?
As a new mode of costume and props creation, not everyone in the cosplay circles is thrilled about 3D printing. Simply because of how easily it can churn out intricate pieces, as compared to other methods, some consider it "cheating." In all fairness, a lot of hands-on work goes into designing and printing 3D pieces, and only the printing part is automated. Although some diehards still prefer traditional approaches like sculpting, 3D printed cosplay is undoubtedly the future. Either way, both require a lot of creativity and work, and you should go with the option that is more accessible and manageable for you.