What's a project disaster YOU overcame?
Chris Ellerby Admin
edited April 2022 in General
One of the greatest skills in any artist's toolbox is the ability to problem solve. No project is without its challenges, and things don't always go to plan. So the question is...
What's a project disaster that you overcame?
Post edited by Chris Ellerby on
I was tasked with creating a mutant rat for a film project. The rat was going to be eaten by a zombie during one of the shots.
What Actually Happened:
- Sculpted a zombie rat to about 80% completion
- Left it on my workbench overnight while I slept
- Woke up to discover my cat appreciated the rodent likeness, and had been rolling all over the sculpture, embedding cat hair into every bit of the clay surface and deforming things a bit
Seeing as my sculpted rat was covered in cat hair, molding it would have been a mess, and there was not enough time to re-sculpt. So I cut off the head and limbs and used fabric to re-attach them so they were nice and floppy. I then cut the body in half and ran a rubber band down the center so it could be ripped apart and snap back together when released. Next, I covered the entire sculpture in multiple layers of pigmented latex to build up a nice skin, embedded some beads for eyes, and added some fake claws to its little feet using toothpicks. Finally, I laid hair all over the outside and wrapped some latex nurnies around the internal rubber band to simulate tearing flesh.
The end product was surprisingly good for an unfinished rush-job sculpture lacking any real details. And the heavy clay body and floppy appendages made it disturbingly lifelike to hold. Thankfully "mutant rat" leaves some room for interpretation!
The scenario: I am challenged by friends to do an impersonation cosplay of Kyle Anderson from Tim Allen's last man standing as played by Christoph Sanders. In these impersonation builds, that I call Scene Stealers, the goal is to pass off my build as the original actor, in the actual scene, or a very close approximation. This means that no detail should jump out to a viewer that screams "cosplay build". I found a passable matching shirt and planned to replace the buttons to match but needed to match the logo as this was Kyle's work attire and displayed the "Outdoor Man" logo on left chest. I checked online and found no licensed sales of the same and found no passable imitations, although several sites claimed to have the logo (they did not).
Original solution: Capture a picture of Kyle's shirt and have the logo printed on my shirt of choice.
The online screen captures of Kyle's shirt were all of low quality and never a flat usable image.
Second solution: Recreate the shirt logo in Photoshop.
I captured a nearly clean image of the company icon, a jumping fish, as displayed in a scene showing the front of the Outdoor Man store, and a usable template photo of the shirt logo. The shirt design is different than the logo used as the large sign on the outside of the store. I used the fish image, built the frame for the lettering and built the custom logo font by modifying the letter shapes from another close font found in Photoshop.
I had the logo printed on a shirt and quickly realized that two things were drastically different than the scene image; the print was shiny reflective and the image too perfect. Kyle's was now an obvious embroidery in the original, not a photo print.
Third solution: Have this same online shirt store embroider the image, knowing this will also degrade the photo to closer to Kyle's 6 or 7 color stitched shirt.
As it turns out, this shirt store, fullqualityprint.com, prints in extremely high quality with a large number of colors. Too good, in fact, to match the low quality 6 or 7 color stitch on the show itself.
Fourth solution: Go to a local print shop and tell them what degradation needs to happen to the image and providing them with my Photoshop version and a picture of Kyle with his shirt.
This shop, Paramount Printing in Roseburg Oregon, ( https://www.paramountscreenprinting.com ), purposely dropped my provided Photoshop image to 7 color stitching and modified the stitch file on screen, before stitching, to match the show's shirt logo stitch file colors (finished shirt is top of the three stacked in the image above). And yes, they still have the file available now for anyone to order these shirts ( not to buy the file ). I am not affiliated nor will recieve any income from same. I wanted them to get some benefit from this awesome custom service, as they charged me the normal price for a single run embroidery.
With this amazing replication and a change of buttons, I was able to complete my build ( makeup, teeth, hair color, facial hair matching, custom hat, custom belt.... etc. more in my profile on this build) and clip my green screen pose to paste over Kyle in this scene (finished cosplay).