steampunk – a digifashion phenomena

Are there visual styles with a stronger digital connection than a physical one?

Steampunk might be an example of subculture grown strong in digiculture, a phenomena at the fringes of pop culture.

Steampunk as a term bloomed in the eighties having grown out of a vast referencial system in literature and film. Cyberpunks sci-fi sibling has been described as “what the future would have looked like i it had happened sooner”. It is a pseudo Victorian dream with attributes of industrialism playing with element of air balloons, steam-powered machinery and mechanical computers.

“Steampunk may also, though not necessarily, incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The term steampunk’s first known appearance was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.

Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures, that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century.[2] Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.” (Wikipedia)

Still with cross media popularity it still is mostly appreciated in video games while having a movement like analogue life. It is a popular subcultural manifestation outside the fashion spotlight still evolving finding new visual expressions.

 

The Steampunk Tribune

Casual Steampunk

Steampunk Fashion Tumblr

Demons and Deities by Mike Corriero

Sometimes you come across work that is hard to categorise, that walks on a thin magic line for one to really know if you are looking at a game concept, illustration or an advanced fashion sketch. Mike Corriero’s  project “Demons and Deities is reminiscent of a high fashion moodboard, still being part of a completely different work field.

– I used a very different technique to tackle the specific Demons and Deities for this personal project. It involved fashion design as the base and using a lot of real world tribes and various cultures all across the globe as reference. Runway models helped establish the basic lineup and a few of the general silhouettes.
The majority of the concepts were built upon multiple layers of lasso tool selections and gradient fills. A lot of custom brushes were used as dominant shapes and patterns and most of the designs were created through graphic and abstract shapes with hints of real world armor, cloth and trinkets. This was a very experimental process that turned out to be quite relaxing and fun to explore.”

Mike Corriero Demons and Deities

Mike has nearly 10 years of experience as a freelance Concept artist and Illustrator for the Entertainment Industries. He has worked for companies such as Liquid Development, Radical Entertainment, Applibot Inc., Paizo Publishing and Hasbro Inc among others.  One of his specialities is creature design and his Da Vinci like way of sketching creates interesting tension, considering the computerized context.

“I’ve always been intrigued and mesmerized by all of God’s creatures in this world. Whether I went fishing with my Dad and my brothers or whether we were camping, I was always wading in swampy water, weeds and flipping over rocks searching for “creepy crawlies”. I would collect all sorts of insects, frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes, newts, turtles, lizards and anything I found interesting. I always released them but it was fun to observe and study them even at such a young age.

– My interest in animals is what feeds and fuels my desire to create and design fictional creatures. It’s something that’s so natural to me that it’s become second nature. As far back as I can remember I had an interest in films that explored vast and exciting worlds with abundant and believable ecosystems. I love watching nature documentaries like BBC’s Planet Earth, Life, Madagascar, and Africa.

Mike Corriero

What are you currently working on? 

– I’m currently working on world building with an idea about a vast array of cultures, tribes, creatures and exotic environments. It’s a joint collaboration in which I’ve invited a small handful of other artists I respect to join me in exploring this concept. The project will be driven and steered in whichever direction the work takes it, but the current topic revolves around “Demons and Deities”. Exploring the mythological, tribal and biblical beings and using those as a base stepping stone to design a fictional world where these beings exist in reality and remain a mystery to the cultures and tribes that worship and fear them.

– The thing that drives me as an artist personally is the basic principle behind creation. I am happiest sitting down in front of my computer or a sketchbook, with a cup of coffee and listening to music or watching a good movie for some inspiration. I could sit and sketch until the day grows old and lose myself in the world and ideas that come pouring out of my mind. To be able to fill a blank sheet of paper or a digital canvas with creatures, environments and all the crazy thoughts that run through my head is such a great feeling. It’s an addiction that fills my every thought and waking moment.

 

 

www.MikeCorriero.com

ID presents the future of fashion

What can we expect from a future fashion industry when advanced technology makes itself both available and cheap for the average every day consumer?

While ID Magazine released its new digital channel it made its stylistic suggestion; a 15 minutes high-tech runway installation at the New York launch party. A web glimpse of the concept is available on the site letting the user move and rotate models while changing sound and background.

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 “Onstage models entered a holographic diorama and were immersed in digital projections, enhanced by a multi-dimensional musical experience – every variation of model, scene and look triggered a different element of the original score by Yeasayer’s Chris Keating. During the event the audience was invited to haptically draw on the diorama using the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, after which they could interact with and create their own personal fashion shows using the main diorama alongside one of three scale models. Playing with buttons on the devices´ touchscreens allowed attendees to choose their designer, design and environment, while swiping allowed them to rotate the model and apply audio filters. Using your cursor, you can re-create and personalize your own interactive fashion show. ID_3

In a video ID lets people in the business speculate around the new marriage between fashion and technology. Interestingly enough it still has the perspective of a top down trend system. Fashion veterans welcomes new technology such as 3d printing as a way of strengthening the brand towards the customer.

The possibility of a two-way interaction in the fashion industry is sometimes raised using customization in online retail but rarely used as a force of changing the perspective further. Environmental issues questions a system where the consumer is eager to buy and eager to throw away. It’s lack of functionality aspects it works against entrepreneurship and underground innovation when an unknown label can never be first to market with the latest thing and has to build up to a high level of integrity before it can make money.  With interactive technology we now see new possibilities of letting the consumer having a voice instead of being market dictated.

Beyond possible new business model there is also the underlying philosophical question mark; what does the industry use technology for and what does it need to use it for? Fashion gurus will continue to scratch their heads to keep up with an unstoppable revolution.

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ID magazine 

Also read about Lectras’ collaboration with Dutch AMFI

Conan inspired Concept art by Christoffer Lovén

Christoffer Lovén studies at Future Academy in Stockholm, an aspiring  Swedish 3D artist. In addition he already works as a Concept artist for Machine Games.

Christoffer’s work has a softness and subtlety to it and the theatrical expression of it reveals a great interest for filmic and scenic art.

What was your inspiration developing these characters?

-My fantasy characters are a part of my creative process in developing interesting individuals for a book. My inspiration for these came from different ancient cultures mixed together and spiced with influences from the fantastic world of Conan.

What are the most important thing to think about when designing a character for a game?

-To let the characters convey their history and culture through how they look. When you have established your character’s back story it’s then easier to come up with designs on how they dress and to find a place for them in the world.

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Looking at Concept art sketches  it may seem like a world with endless possibilities. In opposite of working with real life, product design it’s a world of fantasy, storytelling and artistic freedom.  However, the technical framework requires a specific artistic mindset.

What are the main challenges transforming concept art into real, functioning 3D characters?

-To create a character which is easy for the player to read in terms of silhouette and colors and that fits within the rules established in the game. It’s also very important to know and understand how the character that you are making is going to move. The animators should be able to get a feel of the motion of the character just by the concept art.

Read more about Christoffer Lovén at loveusart.com

 

Chris Wells’ amazonian women for Gears of War 3

Third title in Epics cover shooter Gears of war sold over 3 million copies during the first week at release and has over the years grown into a legendary title in it’s genre. It holds a lot of the characteristics of a classic shooter game and has despite of criticism of “dude bro” masculinity and excessive violence quite a large audience of female gamers.

Chris Wells, Senior Character Artist at Epics art team has over 16 years of experience as an animator for game development and played an important part in the process developing the characters for Gears of War. It might be hard for an outsider to imagine the creative process of an entertainment product of this scale; the technical skills and massive team work where with the level of detail a game character holds today.

Chris, if you were to describe  for a kid, a five-year old what it is that you do all day. What would you say?

-If I were to describe what I do to a child, I’d say that I make puppets on the computer.  In simple terms, that’s really all that I do.  It takes a team of artists and animators to bring them to life.

A skilled 3D artist of today has the opportunity of designing concepts,  environments and people that don’t exist in real life.  At a technical level where cloth, textures and physique looks fairly realistic that is an extremely powerful tool, even outside of a game context.  In game production there’s very little room for mistakes, going back to the drawing table would mean throwing away huge amounts of work.

To look into the actual visual possibilities is like a “God’s particle” discovery. Although the technological evolution in the game industry has not as it may seem made the process quicker and easier, it has actually raised the bar for the developers at a time when gamers get used to more detailed and advanced graphic experiences.

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Gears of war has been criticized for the lack of female characters och decided in it’s third entry to introduce playable female characters. The result is amazonian in comparison to a more sexualized definition of femininity.

When you decided to female characters into the third title, what was your starting point? Did you just transfer the attributes from the male characters or did they have other characteristics?

– As with all game projects, it really is a team effort.  The idea started with Cliff as I recall.  As he and other developers traveled to comic con and other events, they (myself included) were surprised to find that in addition to male cosplayers in COG costumes, there were several female cosplayers doing the same thing.  

– So once design brought the mandate down for female COGs, it went from the Art director (Chris Perna), to the concept artist (James Hawkins), to me.  We wanted to make sure the women were heroic, like Ellen Ripley of the Aliens movies.  For me, it took some time to get the look right, and I would find myself continuously revising and polishing the female models even a year after they were technically complete.  

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-Some of the hurdles were technical, because hair in UE3 at the time was best if it was dark.  Anya is a blonde of course, so that required a lot of attention to detail, as well as coding support for new tools specifically for hair.  Aesthetically,  Chris Perna had a clear vision of what he wanted, but gave me a lot of room to explore and add to the look.  

The guys were really strong, armored and heavy,  so we needed to keep the females to be believable as well.  I figured that we could sell it if we had ‘pockets of femininity’, for lack of a better term.  Basically alternating the bulky, hard surface forms of the armor, with a graceful curve in the waist area and the hips.  I also tried to make their faces as attractive (yet still strong) as possible, and I used inspiration from fashion models athletes, and even the final fantasy series for cues.  In addition, Maury Mountain and Mike Buck did amazing work texturing the bodies of Sam, Anya, and the Queen.  I’m really proud of what we accomplished as a team, and thanks to all the fans who enjoy the series!

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Chris Wells

Epic games

Who are you in Minecraft?

These are samples of the multiple free skins, available for download for the  Minecraft enthusiast.

Mojang’s highly succesful sandbox game is a good example of the power of identification and customization in computer games.  This simplified and stylized example of designing your own character manages with very few pixels to reach for social, cultural and in this case even political, historical recognition.

Minecraft

Mojang

Minecraft skins

A 3D definition of Punk

Fashion site SHOWstudio asked a number of creatives to express their vision of Punk by creating a fashion video and garment. This is fashion designer and stylist Carri Mundens contribution, using 3D mapping and modelling techniques.

English Carri Munden  is the designer behind fashion brand CassettePlaya, well-known to a fashion audience for earlier collaborations with  M.I.A and Rhianna .  She claims her striking graphic style to be inspired by among other things video games and pixelation. In fact Mundane has earlier been commissioned by Nintendo DS to provide vinyl and foil artwork for the console’s MySims world game.  She says of those she works with, “We have the same references… I translate their sound into clothes.”

SHOWstudio has since early millenium continued to deliver groundbreaking fashion projects, making online fashion a platform for innovation while delivering fashion film out of the ordinary.

To SHOWstudio’s lead, Nick Knight 3D tech hardly comes off as something new having experimented with it for fifteen years.  Nick has worked closely with stars like Lady Gaga and Björk, and is to be considered a fashion veteran with unconventional methods. Earlier this year he presented a campaign for fashion retail giant Lane Crawford  where he both used 3d scanning and motion capture, as always with a personal twist. Watch the result.

Lane Crawford Nick Knight 3D

Lane Crawford Nick Knight 3D

Showstudio

CassettePlaya

 

Marvelous Designer brings real pattern making technique and 3d software together

 

While as the majority of the worlds cg artists still make character outfits in traditional 3d software manner, Marvelous designer is a software that rather uses traditional pattern making to create virtual clothing. Because of it’s compatibility with other 3d software it is already in use by 3d artists at game and film studios around the world as in Weta Digital’s the Hobbit and Ubisofts Assasin’s Creed. The company claims the technique to both make outstanding fabric and detail replicas and at the same time save time for the CG artist.  If this new approach to virtual clothing hits it big remains to be seen.

 

 

www.marvelousdesigner.com/

Also read about Lectra fashion software 

2d characters by Joshua Ely Batterson

The possibility of creating perfectly photo realistic digital human beings makes it’s opposite even more interesting.  In 2011 Icelandic superstar, Björk showed the power of abstraction in the app release of Biophilia, merging interpretation of nature and music in an interactive appstore spectacle.

American Joshua Ely Batterson describes himself as a newcomer to the world of digital design, spending a multitude of hours playing with character creation in Photoshop. His science fiction inspired illustrations makes it easy to imagine them as interactive and Joshua himself plans to advance into the world of 3d graphics in the soon future.

Joshuas highly abstract character work  tickles the imagination in a time where the relation between computer graphics and reality are very closely knit.

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A blog about virtual fashion