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Several people have asked me how I made the floor of my Uncanny Dream set. The short answer is "blood and sweat" (there were no tears), but I also took some progress shots.

More progress photos under the cut. )
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Since I've been all but bedridden for the past few days, and I hate being idle, I've taken the opportunity to do a bit of Zsuzsa's jewelry.

Honestly, I have no idea what the headdress thing is. I was thinking something vaguely along the lines of a pillbox hat, or at the least the veil thing that tends to go on them. I don't know. Something pseudo-Victorian, without really deviating from the style of garb that I want the snake species to wear. I might take it apart and do something different with the beads, but it was at least a semi-productive way to spend five or so hours. And it's shiny.

Her corset is, of course, by the amazingly talented [ profile] nezumitoo. Everything else - faceup, necklace, belt, headdress, wig-styling, bracelets - done by me. Eyes from Van Dyke's Taxidermy Supply.

The rest are under here. )

Oh, and the lovely maintenance guy came and got my water heater to stop leaking. He said to keep an eye on it, and if it does it again, they'll just replace the whole thing. Also, he seemed very grateful for the candy and Girl Scout cookies I insisted he take. (I was raised on the assumption that if you give treats to the people doing work for you, they're happier and do a better job, and are more willing to come back and work for you again in the future. I try to apply this philosophy to most things I do.)
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I spent some time with my mild steel tsuba blank today. I'm planning on taking it to work with me tonight and using the tools there to begin the process.

Here is the tusba blank itself, totally unaltered.

And the pattern. )

This afternoon, I also received the bare wood tsuka that I ordered, so it's time to start looking into modern lacquering options and weighing the pros and cons of paint-with-varnish vs actual lacquer. Katsushiro's katana appears to have a lacquered handle with no tsuka-ito or same. This is...perhaps not the best option, considering sweaty palms and all that, but it's what he seems to have going on. ^_^;;

In other news, my throat is slightly worse today, a little bit ticklish (which is new - before it was just tight-and-phlegmy), but still not at all bad enough that I need to call in sick to work. However, I did take [ profile] aaronstjames' advice and forgo the gym again today, so as not to tax my immune system. I might go for a relaxed workout in the morning after work, though - do maybe half of my usual routine, so I don't start to backslide, but don't push myself too hard, either.


Feb. 2nd, 2010 03:08 pm
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The saya I ordered for my Katsushiro costume arrived today. It's a bit scuffed in a few places, but I'm not bothered by that - I already decided that my costume is going to be more realistic and rugged than the shiny!new!anime!pretty costume style that most people at cons like to make. I prefer a more distressed look.

I think I've rambled about my approach to and views on cosplay on here before, but there's always time for the soapbox. ^__^

Basically, I see most people who do costumes going out of their way to make themselves seem as much like the target anime character as possible. If the character has bright hair with psycho spikes, so do they. If the costume always - no matter what trouble the character seems to get into - looks pristine and lovely, so does theirs. (Heck, even with characters that don't always look pristine, few people seem to try to anything other than fresh-from-the-dry-cleaner.) Bold colors and lines and borders remain such. I take...a different angle.

When I cosplay, I try to recreate the character as I imagine they would exist if they had to live in a world constrained (for the most part) by our own laws of physics. I select fabrics based on what would be most practical for a person in that character's position to wear. I design my costumes to be functional as well as to be visible replicas of the characters' outfits. If the character's features are at all unclear - for example, Katsushiro is often portrayed as having blue or green hair, in varying shades, but he has no official stats that I can find anywhere, and his hair color in the show runs the gamut from gray to greenish-brown to a dark teal to black - I will go for the options that make the character seem less fantastical and more real.

In this case, I'll be doing black hair, because I believe that Katsushiro's wildly varying hair color is a result of the artists wanting his hair to be visible against different backgrounds, and that his design actually called for black or VERY dark blackish-green hair. I'll be using very heavy and fairly stiff fabric for his jacket, because it seems most fitting since it's based on a classic military design, but the burnt-orange sleeves will be lighter, probably a knit that has better drape to it so that I can get the flow that they seem to have when he's moving about in the series. I'm going to try my damndest to find fabric that's as close as possible to hakama fabric for his pants, because even though they're obviously not hakama (they're more like clown pants, actually...), I think that they're meant to be a more modernized take one something that would fulfill some of the same basic functions - helping hide leg movements due to being so wide-legged, and giving plenty of room to move - and because it makes sense for them to be made of something durable. Katsushiro is a ronin. He has no home, he wanders from place to place trying to prove himself as a samurai in a world that is rejecting the path he has chosen to follow. He would have to carry everything he owns with him, so it makes sense that the things he owns would need to last him as long as is possible. I'm debating adding a canteen to the costume, on his right side, because it just seems...fitting...even though it's not in the original design at any point.

I always over think these things. <3
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The eyes I ordered for Zsuzsa arrived a couple weeks ago. Yesterday the snakeskin vinyl for her tail came in the mail (so I'll be getting to work on actually building her tail soon), along with the metallic micropearl powders I'd ordered to do her faceup. So today I sat down and gave it a whirl. It's been a long time since I painted a doll, and I can't do realistic faceups to save my life. Thankfully, Zsuzsa's species doesn't have eyebrows or eyelashes (the only hair on their bodies is the stuff on top of their heads, and even that is very, very fine), so they paint them on, and more powerful (eg: richer) ones like Zsuzsa and Jisszhurat (and one of the baddies from the story) mix powdered metals in with their face paints (or at least, that's the current style). And that painted-on look is something I can pull off.

She's not wearing her coin belt in these - she's just wrapped in a bit of scarf - but it works well enough for now.

The more illuminated ones are under here. )

I've never used the Volks Zoukeimura Finishing spray on a head before, and it's interesting. Feels VERY weird on my fingers. The spray acted up a bit in a couple spots, and it looks like she's got some very old, subtle scarring on her face. I actually kind of like the effect, so it'll stay for now - at least, until I decide to either take another crack at her face or pay someone else to do a professional job on her. ^___^
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Zsuzsa is still in progress - she has no faceup, her ears are only halfway modified, and she does not yet have any body below the waist. Plus, she needs eyeballs still (I'm getting those from Van Dyke's Taxidermy Supply, but they haven't shipped yet). Nevertheless, here are a couple shots of her current state. I made the belt and wrist bangles myself, and also put all of the beads in her hair (though there are still more of those to add).

Her lower/snake half will be make using faux snakeskin vinyl and plain vinyl, in buff and cream tones, with a wire armature and an undetermined fill material (hopefully those microbeads used in squishy pillows, if I can get them). It's kind of on hold right now while I search for the right vinyl to make her underbelly, though I found the snakeskin type already.

A couple more, mostly to show her recently-completed coin belt. )
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I'm in the process of overhauling my entire website. It's going to be divided into three different sections. Here's the front page of one of those sections - it's inert right now, nothing is active, but this will eventually be functional.

I'll readily admit that I'm very old fashioned in my coding. All handwritten HTML and I even use frames (not iframes, but actual frames). CSS is beyond me. But I usually manage what I'm trying for, even if my methods are outdated. ^_^
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I've taken another crack at some stop-motion animation using one of the dolls. Been meaning to do so for a while now, but just haven't had the free time. It takes forever, and I'm still getting the hang of it (plus, my frame rate isn't quite as high as it should be), but I'm pleased with the results. This is only 7 seconds long, and that's including the fade! Still, I only had one toppling-doll incident, and everyone survived (though I had to lock the cat out of my bedroom, because she was far too interested in the whole process).

Er, let's just say Jian is high as a kite drugged out of his mind under the influence of pain medications due to some undefined injury, and that's why Wren doesn't wake him up when she's doing all that moving around. ^_^;; (The truth is, I didn't feel up to trying to do all this sequential posing with two dolls at once yet. So he gets to stay under the blankets there, looking asleep, and all you see is the back of his head.)

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I'm still cracking away on installment #23 of the Satyr!Crack, and hope to have it up sometime tonight/early this morning(depending on time zones and whether you've been to bed yet or not - I haven't). But I thought I'd share my latest doll-related project in the interim.

This is Davlin's Chaos Pistol, courtesy of some leather, some old watch bits, a few tiny transistors (stolen from a computer motherboard), a fuse or two, some dollhouse-scaled test tubes, some ink, some metallic enamel paint, some copper wire, lots of Super Glue, and a pair of micro-switches that I liberated from one of the junk bins in the hospital Maintenance department. The base of the gun body itself is a flintlock pistol keychain. I've been working on it for several days (mostly in downtimes at work), and it's nearly done - I just have to add the "battery leads" that go up to Davlin's side to actually pull the chaos energy out of him, and it'll be ready to roll.

Also, the belt was made using a strip of leather and the buckle from a watchband, and the little bottle on his left side used to hold Nitro (found empty on the counter in the ER, snagged before it could end up in the trash can).

The gun in its holster, on Davlin's belt:

A few more photos under the cut. )

I had so much fun making this, I'm tempted to see if there's any interest in Steampunk weapon commissions on DoA.
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Okay, so this is a .wmv file, and it's 17.3 MB, so download could take a couple minutes depending on your connection. I promise the wait is worth it, though (just for the shits and giggles, if nothing else).

This is a bit different than the previous video-thingy I attempted. It's not stop motion, but neither is it a simple slide show. Timing between the images, placement of the text, and lengths of frames were all carefully considered.

Photos taken by myself and the wonderful and amazingly patient [ profile] greenjudy. Dolls are all mine. Editing and text by me, after quite a bit of discussion and storyboarding on the part of the AssHat Productions crew.

Right click the image below and select "save link as" to download the video!

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Riding high off of [ profile] greenjudy's slipstream with her awesome short of Eric Tseng waiting for (or about to make) a very important (one might even say...permanent) cellphone call, I decided to try my hand at a bit of animation myself, using my trusty Canon Powershot A720 IS and Adobe Premier Pro.

It's very short, but I've already learned a lot just from this one little bit (namely, that stop motion animation is even more tedious than writing websites out by hand). Further adventures will, I expect, be longer. Sorry it's a rather large file - at least there's only one of them, right? ^_^;; (Okay, so 9.18 MB isn't exactly a back-breaker, but I apologize to anyone out there on dial-up.)

I originally tried this on YouTube, but the quality was actually better in the GIF I rendered, so...Youtube Link Here:

I suggest letting the GIF load and run through its loop once before you try to watch it, especially if you've got a slower connection.

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I wasn't feeling well last night, so I called in sick to work, which kinda sucks, but also let me sleep. Still a bit queasy today, but mostly better, and I took the opportunity of a full night's rest (almost) last night to get some more work done on Hideo.

She now has all six of her arms. The newest set is strung a bit loosely, which I think I'll need to fix - the knot shifted and the elastic is not quite even. But overall, she's working well. I'll definitely be wiring her arms, though. There are just too many of them to keep track of when posing her to make it really practical when they can still snap into new positions without warning. The new added weight doesn't seem to have made the ankle issue any worse, which is nice. She can stand unaided, but it's a bit iffy on carpet (she's fine on solid surfaces like tables and linoleum), so I think I will end up hot-glue sueding her ankles and hips after all. The arms also look much more balanced, now that there are extras on both her front and her back. I think she's also gotten much more spider-like, as opposed to simply looking like an attempt at one of the various multi-armed Hindu deities, like she did before. This is good.

More images in here. )

(Again, sorry about the grainy pictures - I still only have standard Windows Paint on this computer. I really need to fix that.)
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Well, we've got two sets of arms so far. =D I'll most likely be making some changes to the balls of the upper arm pieces for the new set, just to make them aesthetically a bit easier to parse, but so far they're working out well. The extra weight is making it a tad difficult to keep her standing, but some glue sueding in the ankles (or a pair of boots) and/or wiring in the legs should fix that. The arm additions took me about three hours so far. I'll leave her like this for a while, to get a feel for the new set of arms and how the jointing is working out before adding the third pair.

At the moment, Luke Alan's head is riding on her, since her head isn't here yet (hopefully it'll make it by around my birthday). And he's got his own wig on, which totally doesn't fit her character.

I still have to finish modding her genitals, too.

What do you all think of her body so far?

More images in here. )

(Sorry about the grainy pictures - I don't have anything but standard Windows Paint on this computer yet, which means resizing = pixelation.)
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So, for my Graphic Novel Theory course, I have to make a short comic, 2-8 pages in length, with at least two sequential panels. Obviously I'm going to use doll photography, and I have some great ideas about pushing that medium as well, but I've realized...

I have NO IDEA what I want to do a comic OF.

Er. I could always go in and turn one of my drabbles into a comic. You know, one of those short snippets I've posted in here, like the Resinality prompts. However, I have to keep in mind that I only have a couple weeks to get this made, which means I can't get really creative with the scenery (looks like "Of Red Rabbits and Airports" is out, as much as that would ROCK).

I was thinking I could maybe do that Wren-Jian-Tea-Ceremony one. I already have a 1/3 scale tetsubin, and the introspective, low-dialogue approach would appeal to me, especially with the things I wanted to try as far as pushing the medium and altering the materiality of it a bit. The set would be easy enough to make (some tatami and paper screens and WHAM)...and I have enough "spare" dolls that I can almost certainly manage "actors" for the criminals.

Plus, it's an excuse to take pictures of Wren in that FUCKING AWESOME kimono of hers...and I could even do some really great shots of "other employees," since I have a couple other kimono, and intersperse those with the tea ceremony while the narration and dialogue between the criminals is running...

Thoughts on this?
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Has anyone else observed that productivity comes in spurts? I don't post in here for weeks, and then BAM! Posts galore over the course of only a couple days. Amusing little phenomenon, don't you think? I've noticed it in other people, too. Hm.

Anyway, on to the subject of this post; My attempt at Rafe. Evidence of WHY I will not be doing his faceup myself (for some reason, I am incapable of lips that do not look as if they have lipstick on). Ah well. We all have our strengths. This just isn't one of mine.

More under the cut. )

Oh, Dark Mark on his arm is totally temporary, from when I had him cosplay Young!Snape for the final book release on 7/21/07. ^_^;; Just haven't gotten around to stripping it off as of yet.
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I worked on Rafe's scarring, and here's the results:

Blushed pictures under the cut. )

In other news, according to an article by Yahoo, the "last igloo in Canada" is being demolished to make way for an office building. Article here.

Um. That's not an igloo. That's a geodesic dome. It's a design that was first implemented by Walther Bauersfeld and completed/opened to the public in 1922. They're not common, but they're not rare, either, and that "igloo" in Canada certainly isn't the only one left in existence. In fact, there's one pretty much identical to the one in that article's pictures in the town I live in! I'll take pictures of it for you all, if you want. I wish there was a 'comment on this article' option on Y!News, because...dude. Do your research, assholes. (Also, for interested parties, Wiki Article on Geodesic Domes.)


Mar. 20th, 2007 06:18 pm
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I'm procrastinating my final English paper (hey, it's not due until 5:00 pm tomorrow!), and so I was sketching some SWAT gear designs, and then I thought about how cool it would be to get some of my crew's proper gear made during spring break... I just ordered $45 worth of tiny side-release buckles, 1/2" and 5/8" black nylon webbing, tiny single-lock slides, and nylon athletic mesh. I may or may not get the 'kevlar' vests finished over the break, but I'm determined to at least get the drop-leg and shoulder holster prototypes done.

Whee! I love procrastination!
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The customize figure kit I ordered back before Christmas finally arrived today. I got the boy with short purple hair and then a spare head with white hair. Spent about and hour and a half putting him together, then decided I didn't like the joint system as it is (they have a tendency of falling out of his limbs), so I ripped him apart and began the process of drilling him out so I can string him. I'd originally planned to do that anyway, but thought I'd give the original joints a try first.

I'm in love with his tiny little sculpt, especially his torso. Happy tummy curve. I think it's the slight hipbones that really own me, though. **melts** I do love hipbones. Hipbones and shoulders/collarbones/back of shoulders. Oh yes. My favorite parts of the human body. Hands are nice, too, but the ones that came with him are fists so they don't do much for me. I'll have to get him one of the optional hand sets. **grin**

Aiko's dubbed him Takeo, and laid claim to him already.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing - the thought of her with a minion is kinda' ....scary. XD
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Whoo hoo! I won one of the free wig slots. Not one of the top 10, but I did get one of the single wig wins. **grin** Which means I'm going to go through the pages and find one that suits my bigger dolls.

Oh, and does anyone know about what shipping generally is from DoD? for small items like wigs and eyes, I mean. I want to get two of the DoT wigs from them for Jian (well, one wig x2, because I want to style it two different ways). I've PM'd the person running that Dream of Doll group order on DoA, but not gotten a reply, and this wig is PERFECT for him and I'm afraid it will go out of stock before the order is placed on the 15th. Sadly, on DoD it seems I can't find out the shipping until I actually place the order. =_= Trying to decide if I should just pony up and pay extra or wait.


Jan. 2nd, 2007 01:48 am
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I'm a fucking insomniac, that's what I am. =_= I have to WORK in the morning, so WHY CAN'T I SLEEP?!?!

....and there's a kitten outside, in the rain and wind and cold, but I can't find it because it ran away from the sliding glass patio door when it saw that I'd noticed it, and now I can't feel my fingers because it's COLD OUT.

Uploaded that FullMetal Alchemist AMV I made to YouTube...just because I could.