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Oly
09-13-2012, 09:35 PM
Not sure if this is the right sub forum but there's no fursuit specific one so I figured most suiters sorta consider it a lifestyle thing or a hobby right?

following is a copy/paste from the thread I made on FA a bit ago:
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Few things here I'm looking for some guidance or suggestions on... Looking to make a suit(kangaroo), was going to start off with just the head/mask since if i can't get that right i don't want to waste money on the rest of a suit.

Number one thing: i want it to be as expressive and minimal as i can - not at all a fan of teh big head cartoony type suits. a big thing I've been mulling over is trying to get the face to react/deform along with my own face as much as possible. Seen lots about jaws that move with your jaw and that doesn't seem like a huge issue to implement, but I'm wondering if there are any types of foam or specific methods that are known to allow for the greatest degree of expression - I was planning to use a balaclava as a base to build off of at the moment but I'm open to suggestions if something else might function better.
Particularly i'm interested in getting cheek deformation to show through... i'd like to be able to smile and have it show through as much as possible, for example. I know that latex mask/prosthesis or whatever is very possible and will do what i want, but I'd like to avoid spending that much(at least i assume it's fairly costly?) and i'd like to make it myself.
I imagine doing this with a foam based build would require large and tight contact with my skin, and I'm worried that might reduce comfort considerably. thoughts, suggestions?

Also: I want to use my real eyes, but they're the wrong color... the right color being bright as hell hot pink. Does anybody know any good reputable colored contact lens manufactures? I imagine a quick google will turn many up but I'd like to get some opinions before i go choosing one to buy from, so any recommendations are highly appreciated.

My friends/landlords are suiters who make their own shit so i'm not worried about finding resources for the more common aspects of sewing, attaching fur and that sort of thing, but any particularly good writeups(i prefer text and pictures to videos) for that sorta stuff or any that demonstrate less usual methods of doing things, I'd be glad to look through for ideas. Keeping in mind that I'm not interested in a cartoony look in teh least, so anything with a focus on making things look natural and realistic are appreciated.

Kazekai
09-14-2012, 02:45 PM
Well, this isn't a furry-specific forum, so there wouldn't be a specific place to post that. :P I can't imagine a better place to put this than this section, but I'm not a mod so that's just me guessing.

I can't help you much, I don't do that sort of thing, but what specifically do you mean by not looking cartoony? I assumed you meant for it to look like a real animal until I read the part about the eye color. I do make a distinction between cartoony and unrealistic, but it might help to be more specific on body type? Maybe offer a quick sketch on an approximation of how you'd like the form to look?

Oly
09-14-2012, 03:40 PM
By 'not cartoony' i mainly mean just not the big-head big-eyes cutesy sort of head (http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mabpb5bfOb1qfmio8o1_500.jpg) that is very common(random image off tumblr). I'm not going for exact realism, but I'd definitely like a more realistic look than i usually see in most suits/heads. And i'm mainly just focusing on the head right now, since if i end up doing a full suit it'll be a ways down the line, mostly just gonna do a head and a tail and maybe some paw gloves.

My avatar is a pretty good representation of what i want. along with this pic (https://d.facdn.net/art/oly/1342828370.oly_korbin_oly.png). i might make a sketch when I get home of what I have in mind.

My main concern though really isn't so much the shape of things exactly, but getting the face to be as expressive as i can possibly make it along with my real face. I'm probably going to just improvise while making it until it i'm satisfied with how it looks, but knowing what to avoid or methods that will allow for maximum expressiveness would save me a lot of headache and experimentation.

Honestly I'm resigned to most likely not getting it quite as i like, but I'd still like to try like hell to get there. xP

Fay V
09-14-2012, 03:54 PM
woof that's a lot to ask for. I suggest taking a look at special effects, latex masks, and makeup rather than fursuits and fursuit databases.
balaclava and foam are not going to give you the responsiveness you want, if you still want to go for a mask then take a look at resin casts. These can have "use your own" eyes and depending on the maker they will have incredible responsiveness in terms of jaw movement. you still won't get smiling though, masks just can't do that.

The most face responsiveness will come from a latex prosthetic mask. That's going a bit beyond my forte. I dunno how to get them and apply them, but it takes work to apply the make up. Still you end up with a great effect http://youtu.be/-4yZrm18occ

Oly
09-14-2012, 04:20 PM
woof that's a lot to ask for. I suggest taking a look at special effects, latex masks, and makeup rather than fursuits and fursuit databases.
balaclava and foam are not going to give you the responsiveness you want, if you still want to go for a mask then take a look at resin casts. These can have "use your own" eyes and depending on the maker they will have incredible responsiveness in terms of jaw movement. you still won't get smiling though, masks just can't do that.

The most face responsiveness will come from a latex prosthetic mask. That's going a bit beyond my forte. I dunno how to get them and apply them, but it takes work to apply the make up. Still you end up with a great effect http://youtu.be/-4yZrm18occ

Yeah, definitely aware that i'm not gonna get anything near the results of a latex mask type dealie. If a smiling level of expressiveness is out of the question that's fine. I'd still like to get as much deformation/expression as i possibly can. Latex/make up stuff is both too expensive and too complicated to put on, and a lot more work to do on my own. Also... do they do those with actual fur on them? Smooth would be kinda creepy to me. x3

Resin casting is probably also a bit outside what i'm capable of doing at the moment(i'm shooting to get the head done by early November since I'm probably going to Howloween with my landlords) but i'll look into it. Know any good resources for learning about that with a focus on fursuit heads/masks? I'll do some google-fu as well.

Flame Soulis
09-19-2012, 01:51 AM
I got a book from Furbuy awhile back, and I see it on sale on occasions. It is essentially a complete cheat book behind fursuit construction and designing, and I have to admit, even a fursuit owner should have it simply as a reference for doing repairs.

I have found the book on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Critter-Costuming-Mascots-Fabricating-Fursuits/dp/0967817072), but expect to pay a pretty penny for it. If you feel serious about making the suit yourself, this defiantly will tell you the many various ways of achieving what you want, including ones that use your actual eyes (it's its own chapter if I recall. I don't have the book on hand as it's in my car at the moment and this rain storm is hitting me like a ton of bricks).

Oly
09-19-2012, 04:56 PM
but expect to pay a pretty penny for it.

Wellp I won't be getting it any time soon then. xP But thanks for the heads up about it. Maybe one day when I'm not totally broke. x3

kingcrowned
09-19-2012, 05:18 PM
Honestly Fay V is probably right on this one. If you're looking to get really close to realism, it's probably going to have to be special effects-style make-up. If you want to build a fursuit or mask though, I've heard that this community is very good for answering those sorts of questions and has an extensive tutorial and how-to list:

http://fursuit.livejournal.com/

Alas, I don't know much about building. If you wanted a list of realistic makers who make use-your-own-eyes masks, I could easily provide that though. I do think this will end up costing you a pretty penny though, esp. if you've never done this sort of thing before and you're hoping for a looootta realism. It's probably going to cost you as much in practice materials as it would to just buy a mask from someone else. Good luck though, I and I hope you find a way to get what you're looking for. :>

kingcrowned
09-19-2012, 06:25 PM
Actually, a quick google search of "kangaroo prosthesis latex mask" has brought up this interesting video:
http://othersideofyoutube.com/?p=587

You can buy one from them starting around 50-something bucks.
http://www.northfur.ca/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=83_90&products_id=350

Flame Soulis
09-20-2012, 12:19 AM
Wellp I won't be getting it any time soon then. xP But thanks for the heads up about it. Maybe one day when I'm not totally broke. x3

It is $50 on Amazon, which compared to college books is quite a bit (I got it again from Furbuy at a lower price).

The book is called "Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits" so I guess you could see if other places sell it.

Oly
09-20-2012, 04:02 PM
Heh... those latex masks are almost TOO realistic honestly. And again, they're smooth, not furry... i wanna fuzz face :U
Thanks for the suggestions regardless.
I am likely going to just go with foam and try to get it to deform with my brow as much as i can. And maybe cheeks if i can swing it. I'm not expecting a lot, just enough that if i smile big/puff my cheeks up or raise my brow a lot, it'll show through at least a bit.

Honestly, i'm actually pretty confident in my ability to get it mostly right my first go... and i also have my friends who make their own suits who can give me a hand if I need it. So i'm not worried about the cost being that high. And really buying this sort of thing from someone else just doesn't seem right to me. for myself I mean, I don't have a problem with other people buying fursuits from others as that would jsut be silly of me, just for me it doesn't really feel like an option.

And Flame... 50 bucks is still a LOT for me right now... that's a weeks worth of food I wouldn't be eating xP I feel bad about the meager budget I have for this as it is. I will definitely keep that book in mind for the future though, maybe suggest it to my friends and if they get it I can just read their copy when i need to. x3

Thanks again to everyone for your input.

Fay V
09-20-2012, 04:42 PM
I don't think you are taking articulation points into account.

The reason your face moves the way it does is the muscle points connecting beneath the skin, in order to make something move, you need an articulation point connected to the skin and thus, the muscle. When you look at latex masks, the parts with the most movement are literally attached to the face. With fursuit masks, the most common movement is moving jaw, which is literally attached to a jaw.

In order to get moving cheeks and brows you need to either A. find a way to attach it to the face, something that probably will not be that effective with foam because it doesn't move and collapse like skin does. B. use animitronics. Something difficult and expensive. you would create your own artificial articulation points with the brows and cheeks, the lines and such inside the mask making the outside move, rather than your own face doing the work.

Oly
09-20-2012, 05:36 PM
I was thinking if the foam is snugly against my face enough/at the right places, it would move - at least a bit - along with the skin underneath.

But then again I'm not actually sure what the consistency of the foam would be, so i'm kind of working off assumption. I haven't really touched or fiddled with it yet. So if it's too open-structured and soft I guess it would just absorb the movement internally and not show through on the surface, and if it's too dense and stiff i imagine it'd be uncomfortable to wear for very long.

come to think of it, i have looked at some foam online but don't really remember what kind most suit makers actually use.

Worth taking into account that i plan on using the least amount of foam possible, enough to make a muzzle and ears, and maybe just thin bits where needed to adjust the shape. As i said in the OP, very minimal, only what is absolutely necessary to get it to work. And the areas I'm planning to make articulate, I'm planning on using the thinnest amount of foam as possible. My thinking is that the less foam is there the easier deformation will show through it...

I should really try and make some designs I guess, it would probably be helpful to visualize exactly what i have in mind. Have to try and remember to work something up at home tonight.

Essentially I have in mind the muzzle piece mainly fitting over my cheeks and bridge of the nose, the sides going only out about equal to the corners of my eyes and running down my face down to about the corners of my mouth. and the jaw piece working as an extension of my jaw/chin as closely as possible. May or may not need some padding on the brow depending if it looks right without it or not. My idea was to try and contour everything to flow as naturally as i can off my own face.

bleh this is probably far less effective than a drawing would be. i will sketch something up.

Fay V
09-20-2012, 06:16 PM
Unless you are physically attaching it to your face then it won't get a lot of movement, the cheek simply brushes over it. I've had foam heads before that were fit to my face, I built it around my own face, you simply don't get the movement because there isn't an articulation point. If you found a way to basically glue the cloth or foam to your face each time you may get somewhere.

Oly
09-20-2012, 06:23 PM
Hmmmm... Perhaps a leather/similar material lining would do the trick? something naturally kind of tacky that would grip the skin. Shouldn't be too extreme of a tradeoff on comfort, I think.

Fay V
09-20-2012, 06:48 PM
I'm not sure that would do it, and you have to consider the oils in your skin, it will degrade the material. Frankly leather in a fursuit head sounds horrific.

Oly
09-20-2012, 07:15 PM
I do sweat a lot too, so it would be very likely to degrade the material... but then that's gonna happen to the head itself too regardless.
I was thinking about that too, if the moisture/oilyness of my skin isn't right it might be completely ineffective.
also i was just meaning pads, like say on teh cheeks and brow, not a lining on the entire interior. In case that wasn't clear. The whole thing being lined would be awful. :U

Any other ideas how it might be done? Only other thing i can think of is maybe trying to use spirit gum but that sounds highly ineffective, probably messy and finicky to get on/off. Maybe double sided tape... would probably not be super comfortable but might be better than spirit gum...?

Ultimately if i can't do much I might just go ahead a make it anyway. What the hell, why not. Using my own eyes will already kill a lot of the toony-ness and add at least some expression so that's fine.


Somewhat related to the first line of this post... Like i said, i sweat a lot, and i'm worried it might be too damn much for wearing a suit for very long. Like, even freshly showered and wearing plenty sports strength deodorant, i still get complaints about smell from having to walk 20 minutes to get to work. Maybe spraying the thing with febreeze/equivalent deodorizer before wearing in addition to after might help? Or would that just be a waste of deodorizer? Not a huge issue now since I'm not going to be making a full suit to begin with anyways, just the head and a tail and maybe some fuzzy gloves.

Fay V
09-20-2012, 07:44 PM
In terms of sweat and degrading material/smell. Underarmor. heat wicking gear is your best friend and you should wear a balaclava under a foam head anyway, to keep the foam from degrading. With underarmor the stuff will wick sweat away from skin, basically it keeps you cooler and it keeps you from smelling like a barge. when you're done suiting you can toss it in the wash, instead of having the sweat and oil soak into the suit.

Oly
09-20-2012, 08:58 PM
Ohhh yeah i remember reading that before, totally forgot! Thanks. x3

I was going to build the head onto a balaclava anyways i think, should i wear a separate one under as well then? I'm guessing it'd be easier to keep clean that way.

Anyways my work day is over so i shan't have access to the internet until tomorrow. Thanks for the help :D

Flame Soulis
09-21-2012, 01:25 PM
In terms of sweat and degrading material/smell. Underarmor. heat wicking gear is your best friend and you should wear a balaclava under a foam head anyway, to keep the foam from degrading. With underarmor the stuff will wick sweat away from skin, basically it keeps you cooler and it keeps you from smelling like a barge. when you're done suiting you can toss it in the wash, instead of having the sweat and oil soak into the suit.
In regards to that, it'd be best to have two. I went to a con with one and while I did hand wash the underarmor, it lost its effectiveness towards the WAY end of the convention. Having two, which I now have, means once you feel one is spent without an actual wash, just swap over to the next.The difference between having the Underarmor and not having it is light and day.

Also, for animatronics, I do have a kit I've been working on, but currently it's for eye blinking. To give a basic hint regarding how it works, look into Arduinos, which are cheap but powerful developmental boards that work pretty well for a lot of things, including animatronics. It'd also require you know how to make basic programs in C and have some small electrical knowledge (I, myself, am not an electronics major and I can still work with it), and it'd set you back about $25-30 for an Uno and some servos (almost any kind of servo will do), but the end result can work pretty well. It's just something I figured I should throw out there with the mentioning of animatronics.

Oly
09-21-2012, 07:13 PM
I know about Arduino, I have an Arduinome actually - i didn't build it myself but i have studied the process and i understand how you would go about it. Never considered doing that really... I don't think it'll be anything i do any time soon but it's actually a pretty good idea... hmmm. Something to consider for long term. How would you trigger it then? maybe pressure sensors inside the mask to trigger stuff when you move your face? having to push buttons or sliders would be awkward, blinking could jsut be on a timer/randomized but that's not much of a concern for a use-your-own-eyes design.

Now for a balaclava to build off of, obviously a wooly/winter one designed for warmth is a bad choice, should i use an underarmor one for that or search for a thin cloth one? any you'd recommend in particular? I don't see much that isn't designed for winter use from a quick google. Might it even be more effective to jsut get some fabric and make my own?

EDIT: also would you recommend fitted underarmor or just normal fit? does it really make a difference, shoudl i jsut go with whatever is more comfortable?

Fay V
09-21-2012, 08:15 PM
most underarmor or equivilant has spandex in it and stretches a bit. It will be close. I've never had issue with having it fit, just go with the general s, m, l
if you have a balaclave built in you don't need a second, it's to keep the oil and nastiness off the foam in the head.

as for what kind of balaclava, winter sports stuff is actually pretty good. it sounds weird but you get really hot under the helmet when snowboarding and it's nice to have the wicking to it. Just look for a balaclava that talks about moisture wicking or something like that.

Flame Soulis
09-22-2012, 02:34 PM
I know about Arduino, I have an Arduinome actually - i didn't build it myself but i have studied the process and i understand how you would go about it. Never considered doing that really... I don't think it'll be anything i do any time soon but it's actually a pretty good idea... hmmm. Something to consider for long term. How would you trigger it then? maybe pressure sensors inside the mask to trigger stuff when you move your face? having to push buttons or sliders would be awkward, blinking could jsut be on a timer/randomized but that's not much of a concern for a use-your-own-eyes design.

For the eyes, if you wanted FULL sync (meaning "you-blink-I-blink"), you could use a motion sensor that is fixed on the eyes, but that's over kill, so I'd go with the timer (that's what I did, but I can see some use for using the sensors for winking without needing a button press).

As for sensors regarding facial movements, I remember seeing someone making a hand that had these long strands of something that created an electrical resistance based on how it is bent. It was enough that his 'fake' hand was fully functional and that it was fitted over a winter glove, so I guess an idea could spout from that.

As far as the animatronics go, they would be defiantly a long term item. I'm busy working on a suit right now to demo the kits I've made and will cost a very fancy penny, but I expect it to last a LONG time and still function as well.

As for an underarmor, I've used spandex suits and it works just fine for me. As for a balaclava, I just use a standard one I just grabbed, though I now mostly use the underarmor's head part for that too. My first suit was not built off of a spandex base so that is why I have 2 (one for normal usage, the other is back up).

Also, in regards to building off a spandex/underarmor base, here's a quick passage from the book:

The foundation layer creates the semblance of musculature. The inner suit has two requirements: it must fit the actor comfortably and serve as a firm base for the application of foam padding. This layer is the foundation for the rest of the costume. A spandex unitard is the best and most versatile choice for the undersuit.
Select a heavier fabric, one with a higher spendex content. The suit will distribute the weight of the padding or other costume elements over greater surface area. Lightweight spandex is more likely to sag or distort if heavy padding is attached to it. However, a spandex bodysuit or unitard of any spandex percentage can be adapted to the purpose.Riggs, Adam. "Sculpted Bodysuits." Ed. Dawn Devine. Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits. Roseville, CA: Ibexa, 2004. 131. Print.

axelthefox
10-13-2012, 12:09 AM
Anyone know how long you often have to wait after you commission someone to make feetpaws?