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Unread 01-01-2015, 11:04 PM   #1
Angelic_Sabyne
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Fabric Accuracy and Judging

So this has had me curious for a while, and has made me hold back from doing more video game costumes.

How picky are judges when it comes to fabric accuracy? Sometimes video game renders have these overly complex, overly detailed materials that I can't find. I can find close facsimiles, but not the exact look of the fabric. Would that ding me severely in terms of craftsmanship judging?

My example: http://www.overclockersclub.com/vima...t_vivienne.jpg Most of the floral and 'diamond patterned' material looks like custom rendering. So I would either need to make my own fabrics out of swatches (which can get pricey) or locate facsimiles that capture the spirit even if they aren't 100% accurate.
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Unread 01-02-2015, 06:46 AM   #2
Tsuole
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Thats interesting because you run into the opposite problems with many illustrations - there is too LITTLE information about the material and so you have to make your own leaps of logic.

I would be curious to know the answer to this information too, but personally I value a person who is able to recreate the essence of the source design more than perfectly replicating it.
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Unread 01-02-2015, 08:34 AM   #3
TitanSlayer000
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I'm assuming you'll be going for craftsmanship. I've only done that once since skits are my thing, so I don't have too much experience with being judged on that. But, based on who I've seen wins, I don't think the fabric itself matters (as long as it's not completely the wrong color. If it's sewn together perfectly and has all the right details, I don't think they'd be too picky about you not using the perfect fabric (that doesn't actually exist). You just gotta make sure everything else is as perfect as it can be.
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Unread 01-02-2015, 12:58 PM   #4
fabrickind
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I'm not into the Masquerade scene on any level, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt.

Since that fabric simply does not exist irl, I think that as long as you used a similar fabric that had the same properties, you'd be alright. you might get some bonus points for getting the exact fabric custom printed, but that only works if you need specific types of fabric. (For example, if you needed a brocade, but couldn't find the exact pattern, getting a different brocade would be better than getting an exact pattern on a totally wrong type of fabric. Not that you need brocade, it's just an example.)

So I would say that fabric type and use generally trumps exact pattern, as long as the spirit of the costume is the same.

For yours, you would just have to find something similar for the diamond pattern. For the floral, though, it looks like the floral striped part is strips of the same lace as on the sleeves, edged in piping. The lace pattern won't be exact, but floral lace itself is easy to find, and I doubt anyone will notice or care that the floral pattern isn't exact. If I were judging, I'd give higher marks if you created that strip detail yourself rather than finding a fabric printed like that. It would also look more realistic to have 3D detailing rather than a 2D print. Not sure if that is what you are thinking of doing, but I'd highly recommend making those stripes yourself out of lace. It'll take a lot more time, but be a lot more impressive.
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Unread 01-02-2015, 06:58 PM   #5
Ayekasong
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I think fabrickind has given you some pretty sound pointers. From my perspective, when I judge, it really depends on how well it is executed. If you have captured the "spirit" or gotten pretty close, you'll be in good shape.
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Unread 01-02-2015, 07:08 PM   #6
CapsuleCorp
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Accuracy is important, but what we judges also look for is attempts at accuracy. Fabric TYPE is still subjective even in highly detailed video game renders, but color and pattern isn't something you can gloss over with the excuse that "you're never going to find that exact print" so you shouldn't even try. Making a valiant attempt at getting close-enough is worth reward, because there are many ways to get close-enough. You can find a similar print, something that passes for correct at 20 feet. You can paint, block-print, embroider, and applique to create your own fabric detailing. You can learn and perfect lots of different techniques to get the overall appearance of there being a brocade fabric on those strips without going to the expense of custom-printing, and many of them are good techniques to know in general. They'll also get you much further with judges than simply not trying at all.

Judges like to see that you're stretching your limits, learning new techniques, and solving your problems. View the challenge of matching the print as a problem to be solved, research the different ways you could solve the problem, and then choose one based on your time, budget, skill level, and interest. Some patterns and prints are easier to fudge or simulate than others - it's a lot easier to paint your own geometric design like on her girdle and leggings than it is to create a paisley or floral brocade/jacquard, for example. But there's also a lot to be said for getting it CLOSE...rather than just defaulting to a textured fabric or a solid color and hoping it's enough.

The benefit of most 2D re-creations is that you have a lot more leeway with fabric choices. Modern video games with detailed renders are some of the most difficult costumes to re-create (I say as both a judge and a competitor who's entered Dynasty Warriors costumes at CostumeCon), but you still have some wiggle room. The hardest to nail on accuracy are live-action costumes, because the costume DID exist, it is REAL. The fabric existed somewhere at some point, but it might not now. So "close enough" is a far narrower line for live-action, you will definitely impress the judges by working harder to get as close as possible to the extant costume. Let's take Queen Amidala's costumes as an example: you can just use any old red fabric for her red outfit with the light-up globes on it. Or, you could do what you can to quilt a red fabric to get the texture on it to look even more like the actual movie costume. A lot of movie studios get the fabrics for their costumes specially-made, and regular consumers can't just go to any store, not even in L.A. fabric districts, and find the same fabric ever again. A judge understands this, but at the same time, will reward someone who went the extra mile to put effort into getting their fabric to look as close as possible to the reference.

Of course, big caveat at the end: it doesn't matter if your fabric is perfect and spot-on if the costume itself looks like crap. Choosing fabric, and adding in techniques to get a more accurate appearance, are only part of the job - the costume should be well-crafted and tailored to fit as well. We're not going to throw awards at people for accuracy just because they got the right black-and-silver jacquard if the costume isn't hemmed and hangs off them like a garbage bag. Good judges balance everything, which means they might not "dock" for less-accurate fabric as long as the costume otherwise looks amazing and pulls off the overall appearance of the character.
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Unread 01-02-2015, 08:38 PM   #7
Angelic_Sabyne
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Thank you all so very much for your input. I've read everything and have been processing it. (Especially your informative post, CC! I have friends who judge Masquerades, so it's always fascinating to listen to their takes on judging.)

I did some more poking around on Madame de Fer up there, and I found the kit Bioware put together for cosplayers, illustrators, and so on. The awesome thing is it comes with templates for the fabric designs: http://static.cdn.ea.com/blog.biowar...ienne_kit1.pdf

Now I would just need to figure out what would be the best way to get that look on fabric. I can always start a thread in the construction section for that, no need to derail this one.
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Unread 01-06-2015, 07:08 PM   #8
CapsuleCorp
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No sweat. I tend to pontificate a lot on the topic.

Jealous, though, that Bioware actually has resources to assist cosplayers to build their costumes. That's EPIC.
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