Photo 2: It was truly an honor to be able to design Felicia's costume for the web series, but it was a life long dream come true to have that design be integrated into the actual Dragon Age game! I could hardly believe it when we got the news that our additions to the DA world would come full circle to end up back in the game. And the most exciting part of the whole experience is that the DLC version of Tallis is not merely influenced by my creation, it actually captures every last detail I put into it, even the subtle stuff I didn't think anyone would ever notice. It's the most amazing thing I have ever seen!
Photo 5: The alginate is too flexible to support itself, so a rigid backing of plaster bandage needs to be applied. Unlike a medical cast to hold a broken bone in place, this is done in multiple sections, so that it can be separated to let Felicia out!
Photo 6: As I mentioned, I needed a FULL body cast! So after we were done with the torso, I molded Felicia's legs...
Photo 8: And finally, her ears for the Elf ear appliances. I bet Felicia can't wait to do all that again some day!
Photo 9: After the body casts were removed, we created a positive body form by fiberglassing into them. Here, Bryan fuses the two halves of Felicia's legs together.
Photo 10: I poured 1630 urethane into the alginate casts of Felicia's ears, and then used soft Leisure clay to create a base with keys. This made it easier to mold the finished ear sculpts later. These ear form bases were treated like sculptures at this stage, and got silicone molds made of them so I could cast solid versions to actually sculpt the elf ears on.
Photo 11: When the base forms were complete, I used roma plastalina to sculpt Felicia's Elf ears. BioWare sent me the 3D assets of Dragon Age II Elves, and their ears were definitely larger than the typical "elf"tips you buy at a Halloween store. I really wanted to honor all of the game's designs, so I tried to balance the size of the ear between the in-game characters and Felicia's proportions.
Photo 12: I went with silicone appliances for Felicia's ears. The material is significantly more expensive than foam latex, but it offers a translucent quality that looks more like real skin. I figured it would be worth the cost to make the lead character look amazing. This was the test pair that was run to see if we had a good color match. They were a little light, but the application was a valuable test, and served another purpose.
Photo 13: Felicia and I went to one of BioWare's scanning facilities in the early stages of Dragon Age: Redemption pre-production. I applied the test ears so she could get her head digitally scanned to create the Tallis DLC.
Photo 14: Then it was back to the shop. I used more roma clay to sculpt all of the leather armor onto the body cast. Even though I wanted the armor to look like it was constructed from woven leather, with cast iron fixtures, it was easier to sculpt it in clay and create the appearance of an intricate design.
Photo 15: Using my initial drawings as a guide, I sketched in some pencil lines to have Felicia sign off on how "revealing" her costume would be. I then layered up the clay, and roughed in the patterns.
Photo 17: I spray glued a layer of cellophane plastic onto the shoulders of the body form, then built up the shoulder pads in clay over that. I intended the shoulder armor to slightly overlap the body armor, so ultimately the three sculptures would need to be molded separately. The cellophane film allowed me to gently lift the finished shoulder pads off the body form for molding.
Photo 21: The rest of the body armor was done a little differently. Foam latex is a tricky material to run, and it can be very sensitive to molding materials. Formulas have gotten more substantial over the years, and I have Mark Viniello, the best foam runner in the industry. But it's always good to take the safest bets, especially when you don't have a lot of time for R&D. Foam runs best in stone molds, and is most problematic in silicone molds. If you have an intricate surface that you feel needs to be captured in silicone, the next best alternative is to have the back half of the mold in stone, giving all of the foam's moisture an easy way to escape.
Photo 22: The wrist guard was done the same way as the shoulder pad, but for an additional reason. I sculpted this piece to slightly wrap around Felicia's arm, so in order to mold it in it's true form, I ended up with an undercut. The silicone hero side allowed the undercut stone arm form to "pop" in, without damaging the mold, or the foam when it was pulled out.
Photo 24: Once Mark delivered all the foam pieces, the tedious task of trimming all the seams and patching all the small air bubbles began. Here, Red 5 preps a shoulder pad. You can see that there is spandex on the underside. This was laid in the mold before the foam was injected, so a permanent bond would be created, giving the piece more structure and durability.
Photo 25: While the foam was being prepped for painting, I went to visit Shawna Trpcic, who designed all of the other mind blowing costumes for Dragon Age: Redemption. She and amazing leather artist Antonina Grib created the under structure for Tallis's costume, including custom made leather pants! Antonina also crafted the leather belt and boots. Here, she measure Felicia to make sure everything will fit perfectly.
Photo 27: The Tallis costume was very close to completion. I sculpted the last few details, such as the "cast iron" belt buckle, hood clasps, and the emerald for her choker. This was cast in a tinted polyester resin and polished out. I then painted the sculpted finding silver, and we glued it to leather strap.
Photo 28: Then the painting began. I used a rubber marler paint, which was designed to silk screen images on balloons. It's oil based, so it layers and blends nicely, and supper stretchy, so it won't crack or tear when the foam latex moves. I went with an earth toned color palette, predominately green, both because it felt very Elven, and went well with Felicia's red hair.
Photo 29: Leather is one of my favorite painting schemes. It's always just so much fun to use color to make a fake object look like it was constructed out of real materials. Tallis's brown leathers were all painted with four basic steps: medium reddish brown base, dark brown shadows airbrushed into the creases, mustard brown highlights dry-brushed over the textured surface, and light brown highlights sparingly dry-brushed on the corners to simulate wear.
Photo 30: All of the green leather started with a medium olive base, then deep green shadows on the underside of each weave, followed by a mustard green dry-brush over the texture, then a mix of the mustard green with some of the light brown for the corner wear. I added an additional layer of a VERY dry-brushed medium reddish brown, just to help tie it into the brown leathers, so the costume had a symmetry to it.
Photo 31: Here's a shot of the finished wrist guards, along with a sneak preak of Tallis's trusted daggers.
Photo 34: So that's how we put together the Tallis costume. Once again, I had an amazing adventure working with the beautiful and talented Felicia Day. I hope we have created something together that will excite people for years to come.