Designing and making your own Halloween costume – Planning

Welcome back! So you’re interested in making you’re own custom Halloween costume. If you weren’t able to find some Pepakura models already created, you’re going to need to design and model it yourself. Unless you’re an amazing sculpter who can imagine a great 3d object in empty space, you’re going to want some type of 2d references to work from. Doing some prep work up front can save you a lot of time down the road.

A helpful reference for use in Blender is a character turnaround – a set of sketches showing your character from different angles like front, side, back, top, etc. The key to creating a useful costume turnaround isn’t necessarily great artistry, but more so ensuring that key features – head size, shoulder size, breast location, elbow placement, etc – more or less line up between the different views. For our purposes you’ll probably only need a front, right side, and back view. However, if your costume isn’t symmetrical – one side has a different look than the other, for instance – you may want to create a left side as well.

You can create your turnaround in Gimp (or Photoshop if you have the disposable income) with a pen tablet, or, like I did for this project, the old fashion way with a pencil, pen, and sketch paper and then scan it in. Here is my turnaround for the Ignitor costume:

Character Turnaround Reference

Ignitor Character Turnaround

As you can see, the turnaround is by no means great, but it’s good enough for me to get the gist of what I need in Blender once I start modeling. For the next costume I will probably use Gimp to create the turnaround because there are tricks to use to make sure things are more symmetrical and line up closer. Some things I’d also do different next time is to make a naked turnaround that I would use for the base mesh (more on that in later articles) and I would have the arm detached in the side view so no details gets hidden behind it in that view. But so far, this turnaround has been good enough for me to model everything I’ve attempted so far.

As you can tell, I’m by no means a great artist, so if your want more experienced advice on creating turnaround references CG Cookie has a great howto on the process. In fact, while you’re at CG Cookie, I’d highly recommend getting a membership since there are a lot of great tutorials on character creation and modeling that are tremendously useful for this process. And if you’re like me, you may find yourself getting sucked in to 3d modeling and want to pursue it more.

In the next article I’ll go over creating base mesh from the turnaround that you’ll use as a reference throughout the modeling process.

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