WWWIP 2019-2020: Kyle's Week 1 Progress
Hello fellow winter crafters! Kyle here with our first week of progress. Ventus was a costume that Harl had previously started, and she had commissioned 3D files of the armor already (Jarman Props, look him up!). So I was given some files to start with.
The programs used to create the base patterns are able to generate a flat image based on the 3D game model. However, due to slight differences in size between the 3D models and Harl, I needed to make a few adjustments. Vector programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape are essential for patterning shapes if you want to easily make adjustments to your pattern or mass produce it. If you haven’t ever used a vector program before they are easier than you might think! You can search the web for tutorial videos and articles on how to create vectors with the program you have (Adobe and Inkscape both have large communities with plenty of useful info). I will also cover a few of the basics.
To start, we want to make sure that our canvas board is set to the dimensions of your printing tool. When you start a new file, the canvas size can be set in the first window. The default is usually a portrait orientation and standard 8.5” x 11” canvas size. We are using a laser cutter with a landscape orientation and 32” x 20” canvas size. If you need to change your canvas size after starting a new file, you can go into your document settings and edit the canvas size from there.
Next we’ll place the generated pattern shapes that we want to alter into our file. Go to File, and Place, and then navigate to the files you want to place. You can use this feature to import almost any kind of graphic file, including jpeg images for reference. Once you have selected the files for placing, your cursor will change to indicate it is ready to actually be placed onto the canvas. You can either click a spot to import the image in its original size (image 02) or you can hold down the left click button and drag to create a custom size of the image. The nice thing about placing these files is that they are linked to the original so you can still change their size at any time without affecting the quality of the image.
Some of the shapes are already optimal to print, so we will hide them for now. We will also hide or lock the objects that we do not want to edit yet just to make sure we don’t accidentally select or alter them. Starting with the main torso, we use the direct select tool to highlight half of the object and delete it. The reason for doing this is that we can edit one half easily than both, and then create a mirrored copy and attach the two halves back together to make a perfectly symmetrical shape.
If you look at the objects and layers window, you’ll notice that this pattern shape is actually a large group of individual lines that are placed together to form the pattern. We want to simplify this for easier alterations, so we are going to combine the end points of each line to create closed shapes. To do this, we carefully highlight a corner, which selects both end points of the two lines that are meeting. We then press ctrl+j to join the two together. Once we have joined all of the lines together we now have shapes that are a lot easier to register in our list of items on the right. If you want, you can further organize layers, groups, and individual objects by double clicking them in the list and giving them names.
After we have made any adjustments to the pattern shape, we select the entire group of objects and hit ctrl+c to copy, and then ctrl+shift+v to paste the copy in the same place as the original. If you only hit ctrl+v it will move the copy away from the original. We don’t want this because we intend to keep the two halves lined up. With the copied half selected we go to the Object menu, Transform, and Reflect. We’re reflecting ours vertically. Now we can either drag the mirrored copy while holding the shift button to keep it lined up, or we can simply hit shift+right arrow key a million times to move it into place. Finally, we combine the two halves using our ctrl+j join feature.
Once we have repeated this process for all of our other shapes, we eventually have everything ready to print. This is the part where you’ll want to rearrange your pattern pieces to fit onto your printing material. If you are printing on standard 8.5’’ x 11’’ paper, you may want to create reference lines for each sheet you are printing so that you can more easily tape together any pattern piece that is too large to fit on a single sheet. Since we are using a laser printer to cut out the final pieces into eva foam, we are arranging our patterns so that all pieces fit in the laser cutter’s printing area.
After we have printed out a test of the pattern on heavy paper, I tape it together to have Harl try on. Even though I have years of patterning experience there will still be some things I don’t quite get right on the first try. I make notes on my pattern so that I can go back and make additional changes to the pattern file later. Luckily the imperfections here don’t affect the overall size of this pattern so this mockup will serve the intended purpose for a test fitting.
Test fitting your pattern with a mockup is a safety measure to keep you from potentially wasting your final material if any shapes need heavy changes. Luckily for us, these pattern shapes will be good to cut into the final material after I have made minor adjustments to the sides. But before we jump into armor construction I still have one more week of patterning left. Tune in next week as I cover how to make a digital pattern from scratch using reference images as a guide.