CDG - The Costume Designer

Summer 2018

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20 The Costume Designer Summer 2018 By Xander Smith W orking on the summer issue of The Costume Designer was incredible and a great reason to conquer many conceptual and technical challenges. The theme was "Strong is the New Sexy," and I hit the ground running with art direction throughout from Editor-in-Chief Anna Wyckoff. We con- sidered using a traditional representation of beauty juxtaposed with a hero design that would represent the culmination of the evolution of beauty, as it intertwines with strength. Strength is not the absence of beauty, but a transformation that encompasses both. Anna came up with the perfect symbol for this—the iconic Venus de Milo statue. The ancient Greek masterpiece has been a staple of the cross-cultural idea of beauty throughout history. We didn't want to detract from that, but we wanted an update. In steps, our hero: The hero's costume combines many elements of modernity, fantasy, symbology, and functional strength. We wanted her to be clad in elegance and fortitude, a piece that's royal, ceremonial, and functional. To accomplish all of this, I used the digital sculpt- ing software program ZBrush to sculpt all the elements from the Venus, the armor, and the accessories. It's an incredibly liberating program that I also used to sketch our ideas as we went. I say "sketch" because of the speed we could come up with an idea for a piece of armor or a prop, but each sketch is three dimensional, allowing us to intimately understand every angle of the piece, and Behind the Cover make adjustments on the fly. It's a bit more liberating than tradition- al pencil sketching! 3D is a powerful tool that allows me to come up with extraordinary shapes in real-time and was perfect for the intricacies of the chain-mail hood, the armor, the accessories, and even the cloth drapes. Once we finalized the idea through ZBrush sketching, I spend time polishing each piece in the program, sculpt- ing until each was a fully realized piece of art. Another important aspect of my process is that each piece is fully 3D-printable as well. This means that not only are we sketch- ing and sculpting each piece, but also building the piece an actor could wear in real life. I strive for my illustrations to serve all at once as a sketch, a final concept painting, and as the final 3D-printable piece, ready to be painted and worn by an actor. The magazine cover could be 3D printed and actually worn by a Venus in real life. The final stage was using the computer program Keyshot to provide accurate lighting to the scene, and build representations of real-life materials like the metals, plastics, cloth, glass, and marble that you see in the illustration. Once I have the lights and materials built, I take the piece into Photoshop for a final painting pass so I can get our hero's features to really pop, add some artistic flair through brushstroke, and breathe life into the rest of the piece. It was an amazing time working with Anna to bring this piece to life. I hope to bring this workflow to more projects in the Guild, and build more intricate custom pieces for future projects. SPANX ® AND YOU THOUGHT WE JUST MADE UNDERWEAR! Exclusively for the Costume Designers Guild, enjoy 40% off your order on SPANX.COM or SPANX retail locations.* Mention this promo in stores r your discount. r on line shopping, please contact Skyler Wilde at swilde 'SANTA MONICA PLACE, CA • THE MALL AT SHORT HILLS, NJ WESTFIELD GARDEN STATE PLAZA MALL, NJ • FASHION SHOW MALL, NV eo spanx

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