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Unread 01-19-2014, 10:06 AM   #1
Zinarei
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Ebony Warrior - Skyrim

Hey guys, this is my first time posting in critiques. I urge you to not go easy on me. This is my Ebony Armor from Skyrim that I made for last October's New York Comic Con. Keep in mind that I know much of what is wrong with it, but I'm not going to say anything, so just be as critical as you'd like.

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Unread 01-21-2014, 06:03 PM   #2
Identity-Crisis
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You're off to a good start.
The paint job is the biggest issue I can see with it. It's so shiney. I think you need to work on toning that down a bit and work on getting a smooth application of the colour and from there move on to weathering and detail work. Other than that I think the top spike of your pauldron juts out just a bit to much, but it's only noticeable in the second picture so I don't know if that's a matter of the angle or what.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 06:35 PM   #3
Zinarei
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@Identity-Crisis - Yeah, I regret using the gloss finish. I think a matte finish, or none at all would have looked a lot better. I'm currently practicing different weathering techniques, but I agree 100% that the paint job was pretty shoddy and one-dimensional. It was mostly due to time constraints, but that's still my fault, as I didn't give myself enough time to do it justice. And yes, you're correct about the spike. It is much larger than it was supposed to be. I need to pay closer attention to scale comparison between different parts of the costume. Thank you for your honest critique!
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Unread 01-21-2014, 06:50 PM   #4
Lithium Flower
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Firstly, that's awesome.

Aside from the glossyness, maybe another paint layer could have helped even it out a bit, there are visible parts that have dripping or paint bulges. Despite being called Ebony armor, it isn't entirely flat black. Using silver/grey paint to add weathering and more texture would also help give a better effect.

Ebony armor has these beautiful carved sigils on the fabric tunic piece and on the armor itself, which is lacking on your version.

I think what you have is really gorgeous and I am super excited to see what you continue to do with the costume.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 10:20 PM   #5
Zinarei
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@Lithium Flower - Thank you very much! I'll certainly work on my cleanliness with the application of paint. And yeah, I regret not working on the designs. I started some work on it on the helmet, but I ultimately ran out of time and decided to scrap the endeavor. And right now I am thinking of leaving this costume on display as is just to reference my past mistakes. I'll eventually remake it though. I'm currently working on a black armor from another game in order to work on refining the black, ebony look. Thanks for your critique.
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Unread 01-22-2014, 07:42 AM   #6
lemuries
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First, let me give you much applause for getting the whole suit together and presentable! It's great to see it out and walking on the floor.

Since you asked to not go easy on you, I'll let you know straight out; I agree with Lithium Flower. The suit is black and the reference pictures are dull grey/silver. When I look at your work, it reminds me of Drow cosplayers who just paint themselves black and call it done. When I see your suit, I imagine that I'm just looking at your base coat and you didn't have time to put the true silver look on it that gives it contour and definition. That suit uses black as the offset for the main color, but for you, it's both, so it washes out all your shapes and planes and highlights.

I would hate to see you just hang it up and move on, though, since I think that although another coat would point out whatever drips/paint layers create dimension, you can "get there" with another couple of paint steps (Main color coat, weathering effects, (if needed) shadowing layer, highlighting layer).

The dimensions of all the armor pieces do a great job of fooling my eye to look perfect (I think others have noticed more than I did). I think that's great, because having to reshape the armor is a lot more work than adding more paint.

Because I'm a seamstress, I would make a new loincloth that is closer to the dimensions (yours looks like a single rectangle and the reference seems to be a long rectangle with two narrow side rectangles with sigils on them), but only because I love working with cloth. When improving a costume, I focus on fixing what my eye catches first, and the loincloth isn't it.

The one part I do hesitate to point out is that my eye thinks a plate (or three?) is missing on the helmet, where the forehead is. It trips me up and makes me wonder if you didn't see it or didn't have time to construct it. I fear it would be a huge hassle to add it to the costume at this point, and wouldn't be surprised if you just pass on that step.

Still, I think we're talking about how to take you from B+ to A+ and I think you need to be really proud about bringing an Ebony Warrior to life. How many con-goers only dream of being as cool as you? Be proud, and good work!
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Unread 01-22-2014, 11:49 AM   #7
Zinarei
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@ Lemuries - Thank you very much! Unfortunately paint isn't the only thing that bothers me about it. I feel like I didn't coat it in enough layers of resin, and I don't want to use so many materials on something I probably wouldn't wear to a con again (as it was just too uncomfortable.) I will probably fix up the helmet though and post photos!

Yeah the cloth was a surprisingly frustrating issue for me. I regret to say that my knowledge of sewing is very crude, but that is something I'm certainly trying to work on. Those details are very important. I must ask though, how exactly do YOU add designs to cloth? Granted I haven't looked into it much, but I'd like to know what a seasoned seamstress prefers to do with it.

And yes, it appears that way, but what that is (I've established) are highlighted folds in one plate. I tried to accent them but ultimately failed. I think I would need to redo that part, but paint may be able to do the trick. Not sure.

Thank you for your detailed critique! I'll keep that all in mind.
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Unread 01-23-2014, 10:03 AM   #8
lemuries
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I'm afraid that when it comes to adding designs to cloth, I cheat. I have a computerized sewing machine with an embroidery unit attachment that can download designs from my computer and embroider them on cloth.

Although, if that fails or I can't find or make the pattern or it's on an extant piece of costume too close to an edge to render, I will use other methods. My next go-to would be fabric paint (I prefer DecoArt brand but tulip is easy to find), fabric dye/bleach, fabric pens, and way back at the back of the pack, there's a struggle for last place between fabric puffy paint and hand-embroidering fabric.

If I were to make the loincloth for you and had unlimited time to complete it, I would actually weave the sigils into two side bands using tablets in a technique best illustrated in Linda Hendrickson's book "Please Weave a Message" on tablet-woven calligraphy. There would be a front layer of black threads and a back layer of silver threads that get interchanged at the sigils and the edging. It's an awesome technique that would get a lot of wow's.
Once they were made, I would take them to a fabric store and try to match the weight of the main loincloth fabric to the weight of the bands (when I use embroidery floss, they tend to be sturdy but not stiff). Mismatching the weight would make it hang and move all wrong.

Last edited by lemuries : 01-23-2014 at 10:03 AM. Reason: grammar is hard
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Unread 01-23-2014, 02:10 PM   #9
ukyo.t
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I think its pretty cool. If you want to fix the glossiness a bit, obviously its too late for this suggestion, but do a coat of like silver as a base. Then do a second coat of black and go over the black with steel wool. It will give it a cool brushed, worn look.
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Unread 01-25-2014, 10:29 PM   #10
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Dude structurally you are ON POINT 100% brother. All you gotta do is this and you'll just NAIL IT SO HARD.

1. Lightly sand the whole thing with a med or fine grit sanding sponge to knock down all of those high points that can be seen with the gloss coat.

2. Paint flat black.

3. Take a graphite bar, apply graphite to a cloth and buff the armor with it.

4. Glorious glorious profit.

I did this for my Berserk suit and I really think that is the kind of finish you were looking for. Great stuff man! Keep it up!

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Unread 01-26-2014, 02:48 AM   #11
lemuries
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Stabbity, that looks incredible! I can only imagine how awesome the Ebony suit would look after using your technique!

Do you ever have trouble with excess graphite rubbbing off of the costume? Or is it sealed with something after the weathering step?

I'm so impressed with how great that suit looks!
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Unread 02-23-2014, 08:24 PM   #12
EvilLittleKiss
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Like everyone else has said, a matte paint job would do wonders for an already wonderful cosplay. Try to go with a very dark gray/lighter black.
Also, see those little tiny silver designs on the source picture? Try drawing/painting those on too.
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