CDG - The Costume Designer

Fall 2015

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28 The Costume Designer Fall 2015 products rather than prototypes. For example, stereolithography might be used to create a mold to cast an intricate ring, but SLS can be used to create the finished ring straight from the digital file. Due to the heat generated, cooling times, especially for metal, which requires a much higher powered laser, can be considerable. This is a commercial process, as the machinery would be cost-prohibitive to individuals, and industrial-level ventilation is required to deal with the toxic fumes generated. Software Training While expanding into a third dimension will naturally add certain challenges, much of the relevant software is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. Anyone able to work in Photoshop would be able to transfer that skill set into modeling software with some training and practice. For those who want to learn the technology, video tutorials for most processes or software men- tioned in this article are available online at sites like YouTube and Instructables. Some of these can also be found on their vendor's websites as well as their own online courses. Additionally, anyone who has taken advantage of the IATSE offer for a discounted membership to lynda.com, 12 different courses for all experience levels are offered and encompass just about every vendor in the market. The offer extended this summer is still available, but the promotional subscriptions will expire at the end of August 2016, regardless of the user start date. Development and Printing Centers For those who aren't in a position to render and/or produce their own pieces, a crop of resources have sprung up to accom- modate a broad range of services. Based in Los Angeles, Morpheus Prototypes is an additive man- ufacturing studio that offers several different printing technologies to suit the many needs that can come up in manufacturing costume pieces. They also offer custom painting and finishing, as well as laser cutting and engraving. ExOne is a manufacturing technology company that is set up to work with customers to develop new pieces, from working with designers on the virtual build process through the printing and post-processing of the finished products, and will handle lim- ited production runs. With offices throughout the US and abroad, production centers are available even when working on location. Specialty Costumes Shops Los Angeles shops Ironhead Studio, Quantum Creation FX, Legacy Effects, and CD Charlie Altuna's studio all incorporated 3D printing into their respective toolboxes within the last few years. In addition, Legacy Effects is at the forefront of 3D printing innovation. The house is a member of the Additive Manufacturing User Group, a consortium of users focused on education and advancement of uses and applications of 3D printing via con- Getting Started Tools ferences and intra-industry collaboration, and through which Legacy exchanges information with apparel giants like Nike and UnderArmour to develop better ways to apply the technology to all things wearable. Being an active player in the field has helped Legacy find more efficient and cost-effective methods in both the prototyping and manufacturing process. The doors this has opened make it quite possible for them to work with designers that might have previ- ously considered their services out of their reach due to budget constraints. Looking to the future, co-owner Alan Scott maintains that the end goal is to be able to create finished products via 3D printing. Stronger, lighter, more flexible materials already make it possible to manufacture certain pieces this way, but the bulk of usage remains in prototyping. 3D Scanners While certainly not at the level of sophistication or resolution of industrial 3D scanners, your smartphone now has yet another use. Autodesk's 123D Catch, available now, as well as Microsoft's Mobile Fusion project and ETH Zurich Computer Vision and Geometry Group's 3D Mobile Scanner, currently in beta testing, let users create a 3D model from a series of photos and then upload the file to make modifications and generate a virtual model. Desktop 3D Printers In the late aughts, the race was on to develop the first afford- able personal 3D printer: the "holy grail" was a commercially avail- able printer below $5,000, and this wouldn't be a reality until 2009. Six years later, reliable quality desktop printers, now available in the hundreds, may not be in every household, but they are readily available for prices comparable to mid-range conventional printers. Two examples are the New Matter MOD-t and the Tiko Unibody, both FFF printers compatible with many commercially available filaments. The MOD-t can print pieces up to 6x4x5 inches and is current- ly available for purchase for $399. The Tiko wrapped up a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and will likely hit the market in 2016, with Kickstarter preorders ($179) expected to start shipping this November. Its build area is just shy of 5x5x5 inches, and the machine itself is remarkably compact for its build size. Intended for professional use but commercially available at an accessible price point, Autodesk started shipping Ember earlier this year. The printer works through digital light processing, which has many similarities to stereolithography, and comes in at just under $6,000. Aside from the capacity to print some of the most intricate detail in the market, the system is set apart by being completely open source; Autodesk has made both Ember's mechanical files and its resin recipe publicly available. The crown jewel of the sys- tem is arguably the Spark platform, which enables users to add 3D printing functionality to other applications to prepare, optimize, and deliver 3D models to any 3D printer in the market. Evidence of

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