Tutorial: Drawing Blueprints MacBook (free)

I got halfway through writing this tutorial using Auriel’s Bow as an example but gave up due to it being too complicated/detailed and just couldn’t be bothered finishing it. But a week later I decided to try again this time using the Nightingale Bow as an example. This was perfect as I’m planing a particular remake that will benefit from this blueprint, hint hint!

This tutorial will go though step by step showing how to use a MacBooks built in function and a free app to make blueprints for props. I’m not that great when it comes to using photoshop programs and I didn’t really want to spend money on buying one to then learn how to use. So when I stumbled upon these functions through some online forums I was more than excited to test their worthiness for making blueprints.

Tutorial Time

 

The first thing you want to do is download a free app called “Paint X Lite” from the App Store. You won’t need the full version for this.

Then you want to find a reference photo that show what you want to make at a flat angle. Its better your reference photo is flat as this makes drawing it out easier because you have a full view the prop.

Below I have included what is a good reference image looks like vs a bad one.

Notice how the second picture isn’t quite flat which obscures the outside lines, while the first picture is completely flat showing the overall shape as well as the fine details. I think its also important to note that if you can its best to get a reference image that has a transparent or white background. This will mean you use less ink when printing and don’t have to spend time whiting the background out yourself.

I got my reference image from the Skyrim Wiki which I linked earlier. The background is transparent which is a great bonus.
step 1

Then you want to save that image, I saved mine to a folder containing all of my reference images and progress pictures keeping things together.
step 2
You then want to open your image up and it will look like this.
step 3
Next you want to click on the little briefcase icon at the top of the page. This is called the “Markup Toolbar” and its what you’ll be using to draw the blueprint.
step 4
Now because the Nightingale bow is mostly black using a black outline is going to be difficult. So for this I decided to use red as a base outline colour but any contrasting colour will work.  You can change the colour of the pen by selecting the two boxes (circled) at the top of the page and changing them to a contrasting colour.
step 5
To begin drawing your outline you have two options. You can use ‘shapes’ which is similar to Vector drawing. Or you can select ‘sketch’ which is just as it sounds but cleaning up lines is easier. Sketch is highlighted in blue which shapes is highlighted in red. For the first part of this tutorial I’ll be showing how to use the shapes option but I’ll switch to sketch later on. Use which ever suits you!
step 6
When using shapes once you click the diagonal line in the drop down box a line will appear with three dots on it, one on either end and in the centre. I’m going to refer to these as ‘side nodes’ and ‘centre node’, because I actually remember information from Year 12 maths!
step 7
Mastering how these lines work takes a little bit of time but here are a few basic rules to get you going.
You can make the line smaller by clicking and dragging a side node closer to the centre node. This also works in reverse by dragging a side node away from a centre node making the line larger.
You can pick up and move the lines anywhere by moving your cursor over the line until it becomes a hand indicating that you can pick it up, you can then move the whole line anywhere. Alternatively you can just drag one side node to the spot you want it and then move the other side node into the position you want it as well.
The centre node it key for making curves. By clicking and dragging the centre node in any direction to create a curve. You can create tight curves by moving the centre node closer to one of the side nodes or gradual curves by keeping an Evan distance between the centre node and the side nodes.
Its all about experimenting! The lines are movable (within the same session) once you’ve placed them if you make any mistakes.
step 9
For example above I have stretched the two side nodes to the outside of the bow over a curve. By clicking and dragging the centre node to the curve and moving it around until it lines up with the outline of the bow it forms a curve exactly like that on the prop.
step 10
By continuing to do this all the way around your prop it’ll be outlined in no time.

TIP, sometimes using smaller consecutive lines will make going around tight corners or sharp angels that much easier.

Here I have finished outlining the outside of one half of the bow and can start on the details inside the bow.
step 11
Before I start that though I’m going to change the line thickness to something smaller which will make the details that little bit more accurate. It also means that there won’t be any thick lines to overlap or get too close to one another.
step 12
You can change the line thickness by clicking on the icon that is just three lines in different sizes on top of each other. Self explanatory really!
step 13
Once you’ve finished with the inside details take a step back and appreciate your hard work. Or in my case prepare yourself to start on the OTHER half of the bow.
step 14
All done! It looks almost done but theres still one major thing to do. And thats get rid of the original colour on the interior of the blueprint. In order for this to print well it really needs to be white but if your happy with it at this stage then thats okay too!

Close out of the image, it will save on it own don’t worry! Then right click on it and click on ‘Open with Paint X Lite’
Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 22.51.31
Paint X Lite (I’m just going to refer to it as PXL from now on) will open up you image like it has done below.step 15
PXL is essentially Microsoft Paint for MacBooks. You’ll find most of MSPaints tools available on this version. By the way if you want to zoom you can’t manually zoom by using the touch pad but instead got to ‘View’ next to ‘Home’ and then click on zoom or unzoom. It took me far too long to work that out on my own…
step 16
Unfortunately as there isn’t a layering system (at leat with the free version I’m unsure about the full one), the next task is to use the eraser tool and start erasing all of the original image but being carful not to erase the lines you have drawn. These lines can be touched up later so you don’t have to be overly carful, just as long as you know the general shape.
As I had to use a contrasting colour for the first outline I wanted to change the red lines to black as I find it reads better on a blue print. I also didn’t want to unnecessarily use up coloured ink. You can try and use the paint bucket tool to select sections of the outline to colour black but the method is time consuming and you’re better off using the next technique.
step 17
Here I opened up the image in mark up again and this time started using the sketch tool to draw over the red lines (I ended up drawing over all of the lines again).
The great thing about the sketch function is that you can draw the lines in any length and when you finish a line the side and centre nodes will appear meaning you can change the shapes it if you didn’t do something they way you wanted the first time.step 18
Another awesome thing is being able to draw curves more easily. Like when a drew the spiral pattern above it didn’t flex into a straight line instead maintaining the spiral design. Its also important to not the top left corner, sometimes if the line you draw is similar to a straight line it will flex into a straight line to undo this from happening just click on top box (the blue one) which will be the shape you originally drew and it will flex back into that shape. This also happens with drawing curvy designs and they may flex into circles, again just select the box that has a picture of your draw design and it will change back.

Then just keep drawing over the lines until your finished!
Nightingale done
Take a step back and marvel at your awesome new blueprint!
Making this blueprint took me around 3 hours, remember the level of detail and the size of the prop you’re working on will impact on how long it takes to draw it up. Once I had some music playing the process was kind of relaxing and not as bad as you might think. Its fun to do once you get the hang of using all the different tools.

But now you have your blueprint, how should you print it?

Well I have a tutorial for that too! Scaling/Printing Blueprints (Posterazor). It really easy and simple to use and doesn’t require any fancy maths or photoshop. Which is perfect for people like me who are terrible at that stuff.

And thats how I draw all of my blueprints up! I hope this tutorial helps with your own projects and if you use this tutorial I’d love to see the outcome!
If theres anything you think I can add or explain better please tell me, I’m always looking to improve my work and make documenting my work beneficial for others.


Thank you for reading
-Nivera

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Tutorial, Scaling/Printing Blueprints (Posterazor)

Hi! If you’re here looking for how to make Ana’s Biotic Rifle check out this construction post! This blog post just covers how to scale/print blueprints using the Biotic Rifle as an example!
Thank you for checking out my blog!!!


Today’s tutorial is all about using the program ‘Posterazor’ to scale and print your blueprints for cosplay. If you’re like me an photoshop isn’t your thing then this program is perfect for doing the work for you with little maths involved!

So what is Posterazor?

Posterazor is a free program available for download (Click Here) that was originally made so that you could make posters at home by uploading and image to the program, choosing the size by spreading it over (x) pages and then printing it.

More recently cosplayers have found a use for the program by using it to print their blueprints for props. It’s made extremely easy as the scale is just based on printing paper size. So you can lay paper out in your printing formation before printing to check your scale or just referencing the programs display.

It’s super easy!

Tutorial Time!

Things you will need:

•A PC or laptop that can run the program

•A Printer

•Printing paper (depending on how many times you need to run prints this may be more or less)

•A PDF program (I used PDF suite 2013)

•A blueprint or reference image you want scaled

•Craft knife or scissors for cutting out the printed design

•Sellotape(clear) and painters tape (any thick tape will do) for taping the cut pieces together again.

For this tutorial I’ll be making Ana’s Biotic Rifle from Overwatch. Thought of course this tutorial can be used for any blueprint!


Biggest thank you to Cosplay Amino user Beariore for sending me their blue print they made for their Ana cosplay!
I discussed with Beariore and they’re happy for me to give out the final blueprint that they altered from an Original Blueprint made by u/babomazer by adding line-work, scaling it and converting it to PDF.
Below is the blueprint unscaled.
Biotic Ana
If you would like the scaled PDF blueprint that I made/used for my cosplay then please contact me via direct message on either Instagram, Twitter or my Facebook page. You can find me @NiverasWings.
The PDF version I used is scaled to best suit my heigh, I’m 5’7. Another important thing to note is that its made for A4 paper as opposed to American letter paper, please keep that in mind before contacting me. I’m very busy at the moment and don’t have time to custom scale this blueprint on request.
Besides! If you read further down this blog post you’ll find the information on how to do that yourself! 🙂


(Optional)

The first thing I did was download the PDF files Beariore sent me.

I decided to run a test print at this stage to test the size of the original blue print.

Sox my cat for scale.

I decided it was too small and wasn’t thick enough at the base of the gun and some added length wouldn’t hurt.

(Main Tutorial)

I fired up old MS Paint and pasted all of the portions into it (in order so they lined up) and then scaled the page down (the white around the gun) so that it was as close to the gun as possible. This is so that when the image is used in Posterazor there won’t be too much white and the blueprint will fill the pages better.

Less waste, save the planet :earth_americas:
This was as small as I could make the image without cutting into the blueprint.
Biotic Ana
The little black lines around the outside are from the crop on paint. Don’t worry about those!
Next you want to open up Posterazor, there is a tutorial for using it on the site but I’m aiming to make it more clear.

Now you want to click ‘Input Image’ the file icon. Go through your files and find where you’ve saved your blueprint and open it into the program.

It’ll look like this once it’s uploaded.

Click next and it’ll go though printer formats. I personally don’t change anything on this page I’ve never needed to.

Click next again and it’ll come to image over lapping settings. Again I don’t change anything for this setting either as it makes lining your blueprint up once printed so much easier. There’s some trimming involved but I really do recommend leaving it this way.

Next is the easy part! Deciding on final size.

A grid format will appear over your image, using the width and height boxes you can change how many pages the image will be printed over.

Height refers to the amount of pages going up in the grid as indicated by the height arrow.

Width refers to the amount of pages going lengthways across the grid as indicated by the width arrow.

I was printing in portrait view but it will be similar using the landscape option too.

As the original print I tested with was only 4 pages in highly I thought 5 would be a good test. And as I wanted it to be wider I added another column (grid) of pages to increase the width.

Once you’re happy with the final size you can click next and then you’ll be brought to this page.

Click on the tick box ‘Launch PDF application after the poster is saved’.

And then save your scaled blueprint.

Your PDF application will then be launched with the blue print spread over the amount of pages you selected in the program.

I just made sure to check everything was okay and nothing was blurred or looked wrong.

Then you can hit print!

Before cutting anything out lay your pages out in order (ignore the overlap you just need to get an idea of size). Take a step back and check that this is the size you want. If it’s too big or small, go back into Posterazor and edit and repeat. If it the right size then celebrate and get rest to cut that thing out!

Here’s a size comparison of the original PDF size Beariore sent me (top) and then my newly rescaled blueprint (lower)

I really like the new size!

Cutting your blueprint out

I used a rotary cutting tool to cut my rifle out but ideally a craft knife would be better (I’m always loosing them). Or scissors.

Once everything is cut out you can start taping it back together. I used transparent tape for the printed side and then backed that with painters tape on the other side to give some extra support.

If you decided to go with the overlap option, trip the border edge (0.5cm) and then line up the over lap and tape it down. Because the overlap is printed it make it so much easier to line up.

Once you’ve finished taping you’re all done! And you’ll have a neat little blueprint ready for prop making!

Here is my finished Biotic Rifle.

And you’re all done! Get out there and make some blueprints and props! If you use this tutorial tell me what you’re making! Or what do you want to make? I’d love to hear!


I’ve been really awful at documenting (taking photos of) my progress for Ana recently so here’s a tutorial for Posterazor which I originally threw together for Cosplay Amino.
I have got another project on the go at the moment being the Deathbrand Armour from Skyrim (Dragonborn DLC) and patterned it all, cut the foam base for it and got to the worbla stage and… lost interest. I have a few other projects in mind at the moment of what I want to move onto next starting with my 1860’s ballgown which IS happening. But I’m conflicted as to what I want to make as a cosplay. I’m heading to Hertfordshire on Monday and will go to some fabric stores there so I’m hoping that out of the cosplays I have in my head one will have all of the required fabric there and I’ll make that one! Maybe? It’s probably the worst way to decided on something but I really don’t know or feel overly inspired by anything right now.
Red? Blue? or Yellow?
The red tribunal robes is something overly detailed I want to make and suffer though, blue is Sombra who’s a very fun character and with my blue obsession I have right now the cyber skin is perfect and then the Ancient One who easily makes my list of favourite characters of 2016.

I could easily change my mind in the next few days but a new fabric haul is on its way. I will make up of the weeks I haven’t posted! I recently got a new laptop so I’m still setting that up, why is the file system on mac so weird?

AND I’ll have a post/vent about my university applications and acceptances!

That’s all for now, thank you for reading
-Nivera

Tutorial, Faux Leather Braces

Originally posted to my Cosplay Amino Page (NiverasWings)

For those of you who follow my social media you’ll know I hate making armour gauntlets/bracers (foam/worbla) it just never works out for me.
Featuring, The failed attempt earlier this year for my Demongaze Armour and my Dragon Scale Armour gauntlets from last year.

I can never get the right shape and if I do it will be far too large and when I attempt to fix it I usually ruin them!

So for my Demongaze Armour attemopt I decided to make leather bracers with a cool pattern on them as I was inspired by This Post I think I did pretty well at replicating the design.

The first thing you want to do is create a bracer pattern. You can use the plastic wrap and painters tape method or if you want to cheat just get a long sleeve pattern decide on your length and cut it.
step-one
Because I wanted mine to do up with a zipper I made sure that the size/length of the patter would correspond with the zipper length I bought.

Next I pinned the zipper to the pattern and out it on my arm testing the fit and cut the size down if it was needed.
step-two
I kept mine a little loose as it would be worn over a bodysuit (I’ve had bad experiences wearing tight leather costumes to Summer cons before)

And with that the mock up stage was complete!
step-three
I bought this really nice faux leather for these gauntlets.

step-four
Next I printed a picture of the reference I was using and broke it down into pattern shapes. I really liked the lattice effect they had on theirs so I did my best to replicate it.
step-five
Here’s a close up of the pattern I drew out. It’s important to draw the pattern onto the mock up you have made !!!

You’ll later cut these out.
step-six
Next pin the mock up to the fabric to the fabric you are using (again I’m using faux leather but essentially any fabric could be used !)
step-seven
Cut the fabric out. It’s important at this stage to ONLY cut the outline out and not the lattice pattern on the interior.
step-eight
Once you’ve unpinned the mock up from the fabric you are using you can start cutting out the lattice patterns.
step-nineI suggested cutting out two pieces at a time (like I have highlighted), pin those two pieces to your fabric (in the area they mirror to) and cut them out.

Then pin the pieces you’ve cut together (make sure to reference the mock up cut patterns if you need to it can get confusing) and then whip stitch the pieces together. This could also be done on a sewing machine using a very small and tight zigzag stitch but I found the hand sewn look has a much more ‘adventurer’ look to it!
step-10
If that sounded a little confusing hopefully the above picture helps clear it up. That’s what the finished bracers should look like once all of the individual pattern pieces are sewn together.

I suggest once you’ve used a pattern piece you do to best to lay them out again the way they were previously, then tap them together so they won’t move. This will make matching the pieces together again for the bracers pair much easier! (Believe me it’s a struggle otherwise)
step-11Next you will want to sew the zipper onto the bracer. The zipper I used had a join at the bottom which prevented it from opening completely but other zippers will work just fine. I sewed it on with a 1cm seam allowance which worked out perfectly.

Once the zipper is sewn on you can add weathering but I preferred mine just the way it was.

And then it’s complete!

I think I will turn over the zipper edges at some point but haven’t done so yet.

Further notes

•Eyelets could also be punched into the leather and they could be laced up of you prefer that (I assume this would be the better decision for LARP)

•Any fabric could be used for this, faux leather worked best for me as it’s got a more fantasy feel to it.

•Any needle and thread will do, nothing special is needed unless you are using real leather in which case you will likely need specialty needle and thread.

I don’t have anymore photos but if you think I need to explain something a little more or have any questions please comment!


Thanks for reading
-Nivera

Tutorial, How to make character color palettes for paints or fabrics

This isn’t a particularly hard thing to do I just believe it will benefit a lot of cosplayers when making costumes.
Something I have found extremely useful through my years of cosplaying is making color palettes  for characters I am planing on making. These color palettes can be for the fabric colors you will need or perhaps the paint colors you will need for armour and props.
The palettes are useful as you can print them out and then you are able to take them out with you when buying supplies, making it easier to compare materials to original colors. So much easier than comparing a fabric color to your phone screen at least.

Here is an example of the color palette  I used for my Demongaze Armour when out buying paints.
Demongaze color pallet and Sword
This color palette  is more complicated than the ones I usually make as it shows a variety of different shades in different areas of the Armour. You can make out that I had originally set out 8 boxes which then got divided into smaller boxes, 8 is usually the number I try to stick to. Theres just so much going on in this costume that it was impossible to stick to that. I also have a separate area for the sword just to keep things a little more simple.

Tutorial Time


The first step is to open Microsoft Paint and extent the page to a full A4 size.
Next you want to create a table of about 8 boxes (depending on the complexity / amount of color in the costume or prop it may be more or less). Keep this table to the far left of the page leaving enough room for a picture of your chosen character or prop to the right. Then insert a picture of your character/prop to the right of the table like so.
step one
I’m using Celaena from the Throne of Glass series as an example as she hasn’t got a color palette yet.

Now for the color. Use the color picker tool (looks like an eyedropper and is next to the rubber tool) over a predominant color of the costume/prop then switch to the color filler tool (looks like a tipped bucket of paint and is above the color picker tool) and then click on one of your boxes to fill the first back will that color. You can then label that square using the text box, I find switching to a white font shows up on most colors.
Step two
Continue this process with other predominant colors adding them to the rest of the boxes. Don’t forget that you can make more boxes by cutting larger ones in half or just adding more onto the original table. For armour and props I find it useful to add shadowed areas of a color to original color boxes, this helps with thinking ahead about shading reminding you to take that into consideration. It also helps with fabrics as some fabrics can look different depending on the light they get or just depending on how they were made.
Step tree
And your finished palette should look something like this! I did divide some of the boxes to show the difference in shading and light on the colors. I already know that the base material for this costume is leather and that’s why there is such a contrast when the light hits the leather.

After your palette is made you can remove the image of your character/prop or keep it if it helps remind you who or what the palette is for. Then print it off and take it with you the next time you are going out to buy materials for your upcoming project!
I’ve been making these for most of my recent costumes and it has really helped when buying materials for them. This technique is so much easier than having to compare fabric or paint to a phone screen.

Thank you for reading
-Nivera

Pepakura Tutorial

So this is a tutorial I posted to my Cosplay Amino page and decided It would be cool to have a copy here. I have changed a few things but 90% of this is just copy and pasted into the blog format here.
This tutorial covers the ‘How To’s’ up until the point where you construct the pattern pieces. Essentially this post is/was an introduction into Pepakura for those who hadn’t used it before, giving general tips and advice on how to start and what Pepakura actually is.
Hope you enjoy and I’m happy to answer questions to the best on my knowledge.


Pepakura is a paper craft program which allows the user to download ‘pep patterns’ or if you’re using the designer version you can make your own patterns. But before I get a bunch of sighs and moans from people who aren’t interested in ‘yet another cosplay technique’ I’ll show you what you can make!!

The Dawnbreaker (Skyrim)

swords 2
Featured in my most recent photo shoot (November 2015) 

Dragon Priest Mask (Skyrim)

Those are the two files I have made so far and the Dawnbreaker looks pretty complex but it’s really simple! The program makes it so easy!

A lot of Halo cosplayers use Pepakura and their main site is 405th.com which doesn’t stop t just Halo armour it has a lot of other contributors from other series.
Personally I find all of my files on Deviantart from a user called ZombieGrimm who has a great selection of Skyrim files from full armour sets (yes ladies in the female variants too) to weapons and even a scale model of a dragon skull!!!
But how does Pepeakura work Nivera I can hear you asking..

First you will have to download either Pepakura Viewer or designer. It’s good to have both but I will go into that later.

Say you want to make Auriel’s Bow from the DawnGuard DLC from Skyrim, I’m currently working on this anyway so it’s convenient right!

 

You get this image on Deviantart I’m not so sure about the 405th. Hit the download button and you’re away!
I personally create a folder for all my pep files on my main desktop for convince. So save your files there. Once saved open Pepakura designer or viewer then open your folder containing your pep files and drag and drop the file you want into the Pepeakura program of your choice. (One file at a time, if you try do two at once it will replace the original)

Once you have done that the previous image will show in which ever Pepakura program you used to open the file. (of course it will be showing the file of your choice)
Most weapons are ALWAYS scaled to size, which means the maker of the file scaled it up to human size by going off in game models. BUT don’t rely on me telling you that, always cheek to see if the person you got your file from does this. ZombieGrimm can be trusted with your life on this one.

BEFORE YOU PRINT!!

Pepakura is an American based program which means all paper is in lettering paper size. So if your printer doesn’t do that or you don’t live in America then change the paper size.

Above is the safest print settings. The lines are kinda think but that’s a good thing for beginners so use that if you’re unsure before printing! Personally I find the line-weight set at size 8 to be the best, 0 is invisible and 10 is very think. I wouldn’t go much smaller than 5.

However, when changing the page size to A4 the program sometimes will scatter the pattern pieces (seen on the right) which means manually clicking and dragging them onto the page without going over the margin. So check that before you print!

Once all your patterns are in the page and you’re happy hit print! The best paper to use when printing I find is 160GSM. It’s heavy,tough and durable which is good for props and armour. Dawnbreaker was made from normal printing paper which is something I do NOT recommend. It took ages to reinforce and make sturdy enough for the con + photo shoots.

Tada!! You have your pages! The best way to cut out the patterns is with a craft knife that way you’re more likely to stay to the lines and not cut things you shouldn’t. Scissors do also work but I always find myself cutting over the lines and it seams to be more time consuming.

Pepakura uses a system of line dotting called Mountain Folds and Valley folds this is to indicate how to fold the lines. Personally I have never followed this process (I’ve just folded everything both ways) and all my projects have turned out fine. But if you are interested here is a link Pepakura Folds.

Cutting out your patterns

My secret is to use a clear file to keep my patterns in when cut out. Some people use boxes but they are uneducated!!!
You’re pages should have a page number down the bottom, cut that and put in in a clear file slip, then cut all the patterns from that page and put them into the same slip. And repeat until all your patterns are cut and put away.

Crafting your patterns

Most patterns will have numbers along the edge and all you do is find the pattern with that number and tab and glue them together. Sounds easy until you look down and see you have over 100 patterns and over 1000 tabs to glue together!
So that’s where the two different programs come and help. If you have Pepakura viewer you can hover over the pattern you want to join to another and a red line will appear connecting that pattern with another showing you where they connect.

Genius right! Now you can see why I keep the pages together, it makes everything a lot easier when matching!

Pepakura design doesn’t do this. So that’s why you need viewer.

And then you piece together the patterns and boom! You have a weapon/armour or something!

Differences between Pepakura Viwer and Designer.

Viewer can~

•open files

•print files

•give guided lines to connect patterns

•let you move pattern pieces

And that’s it

Designer can~

•Let you scale everything to your size and change the size of patterns

•more printing options (I ALWAYS print on designer)

•make your own Pepeakura models

•open files

•print files

•move pattern pieces

You can see why it’s useful to have both. Neither cost any money to download and on get updated every month or so but its not necessary.

And that’s my Pepakura tutorial!

Link to the original blog post on Cosplay Amino is here.


That link is to my Cosplay Amino page if you couldn’t already tell by the similar (EXACT SAME) usernames. The point I’m trying to make is that I am the author of both the blog post on Cosplay Amino and the blog post here featured on (you guessed it) my blog. Because I am the author I have the authority to post it where ever I want, you however don’t. Feel free to share this post but do not re-post (copy and paste) it somewhere else without my permission and credit.

Thank you for reading I hope you have learned something
-Nivera