228 hours later, the 3D printed Dreamer Regalia Armor for actor Felicia Day is finished! (Part 2 of 3) January 21, 2016 08:30
Read part 1: Project overview, designing the armor, and evolution of my art
Read part 3: Geek & Sundry photoshoot and video of armor
QUICK RECAP. What is the 3D printed Dreamer Regalia armor? The Shapeways-sponsored Dreamer Regalia armor (with 3D scanning provided by Cokreeate) was created to inspire people to fight for their creative ambitions and to believe we have what it takes to make something amazing. It symbolizes the protection for our dreams and is being created in honor of the Dreamer within each of us. The Dreamer that wants to give life to the imagination, make a difference, change things, push boundaries, and not conform to the status quo. Actor and Geek & Sundry founder Felicia Day had all of these qualities and more, which made her the perfect match for the armor.
“Every single job is a challenge. You are walking into a new set, a new character, creating a world and trying to get comfortable to do your best work.”—Felicia Day
Ever have one of those projects where you look back and think, “I can’t believe I finished that…” Yeah, well this was one of those projects.
Looking back, it was an emotional rollercoaster that swung between believing I could take on anything to feeling like I was the most incompetent moron on the planet. I was constantly battling the thought that I was crazy to have proposed this project because…y’ know…I had never created a custom fitted suit of armor before. And even though Chinese carvings were a big inspiration for my Dreamer Masks, a design of this size and scale was something else and I was really afraid of disappointing people with my interpretation. Or anything this big for that matter. But hey, there’s a first for everything and somehow I made it out alive!
Chinese carved lacquer, stone, wood, ceramic artwork that I grew up seeing in the Ng family household. One area of inspiration for the Dreamer Regalia.
It was also exciting to see Felicia unboxing the Dreamer Regalia on Periscope (and also kinda stressful since there was a live chat going on as well). Geek & Sundry photoshoot of Felicia wearing the Dreamer Regalia coming soon. Subscribe to find out when it’s released.
Of course, it wasn’t without bumps along the way. There were scheduling complications, 3D printing delays, communication issues, missing supplies, losing lots of sleep, working through holidays, and giving myself several crash courses to develop skills I didn’t have yet. Even so, the experience was exhilarating and I wouldn’t change any of it.
I didn’t know how to do everything I needed in order to accomplish the project. But I knew I could at least start with one little challenge at a time to get there.
“…don’t chase perfection for perfection’s sake, or for anyone else’s sake at all. If you strive for something, make sure it’s for the right reasons. And if you fail, that will be a better lesson for you than any success you’ll ever have. Because you learn a lot from screwing up. Being perfect . . . not so much.”—Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
As I immersed myself in the project, I found countless questions I didn’t know the answer to and encountered many holes in my skills and knowledge. The fear in me was growing and I had to fight the scared voice in the back of my head that screamed, “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THIS! YOU DON’T KNOW ENOUGH! YOU’RE GONNA MAKE A FOOL OF YOURSELF.”
But I realized if I wanted to keep making bigger and more challenging projects, I needed to learn how to keep my anxieties in check. I needed to break my fears down into smaller manageable tasks.
So, within the 228 hours devoted to creating the Dreamer Regalia armor, I had to patiently work through the following:
What I DID know how to do
- 3D modeling
- Pattern drawing
- Basic video editing skills
- Sanding, painting & finishing (video below)
What I DIDN’T know how to do (or have)
- Costume/figure sketching (it’s been years since I drew figures)
- Creating an armor design that would be easy to put on and take off
- 3D scanning Felicia Day (LA-based company, Cokreeate, saved me!)
- Recording my creative process
- Model rendering, materials, shaders, lighting (to create 3D previews before 3D printing)
- Resin casting
- Finding LEDs that could be easily hidden in the armor design
- A bigger spray paint booth (I had to make a new one)
“I have some ideas on how to fix that. They’re not very good ideas, but at least they’re ideas!”—Adam Savage, Mythbusters
What’s funny is how often we get so worked up about how much we don’t know and forget to visualize how much we could know and grow in the long run if only we give ourselves a shot.
Sure, the list in what I DIDN’T know may have been longer than what I DID know. But by the time I completed the project, I ended up knowing all of the above (or knew enough to get by). I would have missed out on a lot of knowledge and experience if I didn’t move beyond my fear of “not knowing enough.” All I had to do to get past it was to just take action one small step at a time.
Below is the full playlist of videos documenting the creation process for the Dreamer Regalia armor.
Taking chances helped me discover new friends, ideas, and possibilities.
“Each one of us is finite, and if we can spread ourselves out in a way to inspire and help other people to be all they can be, I think that’s so much more important than one person’s glory.”—Felicia Day
The Dreamer Regalia armor is truly my dream project. I never imagined I’d be able to collaborate with someone as amazing as Felicia Day—someone I deeply respect and admire. I thought I would have to wait maybe another 2-4 years before even thinking I could have the chance to work with someone like her.
As I step back and look at the completed armor again, I reminisce about how all this became possible. I think back to the chat I had with 3D printing service Shapeways‘ Andrew Thomas who presented the opportunity to make the initial idea pitch.
I remember the day I literally cried when I got the email reply from Geek & Sundry / Felicia Day‘s assistant, Jackie Cole, who responded to my email pitch (I’m sure everyone around me thought I suddenly went insane. Oooh well.). I flip back to the (sometimes hilarious) 100+ email thread and feel grateful to have this amazing new friend despite still never meeting in person.
I feel lucky and thankful LA-based 3D scanning company, Cokreeate, actually responded to my Instagram comment asking them to join us in making this project a reality. Without them, custom fitting this armor to Felicia’s measurements would have been much tougher.
No doubt, taking chances often feels scary and we all have that fear of being rejected or failing miserably. At the same time, taking chances can also open the possibility to bring about amazing opportunities. Who knows what could happen? Maybe nothing. Or maybe something. You’d have to try to find out.
So, start before you’re ready because your dreams depend on you.
“People don’t appreciate that when you’re on the Internet, it’s a 24/7 job. Even if you’re not releasing episodes, your show is living and breathing on the Internet because there’s a community around it. Ninety percent of the work is after the web series is shot, and you have to constantly maintain your community, because it’s all you have.”—Felicia Day
I get it. We all want to have the comfort of feeling ready before stepping into the unknown. But what does it feel like to finally be “ready”? Truth is no one knows because it simply doesn’t exist.
As I’ve just shared, I felt far from ready for this project and I was terrified of screwing everything up. But I also had a lot of enthusiasm, some experience creating larger 3D printed wearable items, and a belief that I could somehow work it all out in the end. That was enough for me to believe this could really be pulled off.
(LEFT) Unfinished 3D printed armor in white, strong & flexible nylon. (RIGHT) Finished armor chest piece.
Dreams don’t come to life by simply wishing for them to grow. They blossom only when we actively nurture them. Like a baby, it depends on you for its survival and needs your guidance for a long while before it can walk on its own. Even after its matured, it’ll always need your love and support.
So, over to you. What’s your dream project? What steps could you take or have you been taking to make it real?
P.S. Click here to read the final blog post (Part 3 of 3) and see images/video from the Geek & Sundry photoshoot.