MEDIUM: Digital Illustration, Digital Collage, Photography/Prints
“Ì Õ M P Æ Ø Ë,” titled after an in-game concert poster, is a work of digital illustration and photo manipulation depicting a scene from Supergiant’s 2014 video game Transistor. Featuring Transistor’s main protagonist and antagonist, who are both depicted by the same model, the piece features the artist’s custom-made costumes and props inserted into a CGI background designed to mimic the cyberpunk city of Cloudbank.
Cosplay, a portmanteau of “costume-play,” is an outgrowth of fan culture that moves beyond crafting outfits to encompass aspects of performance art in which the individual imitates a character from a film, comic book, or video game. One such video game, Transistor, is an action RPG developed and published by Supergiant Games. The game follows Red, a singer in the city of Cloudbank, as she battles robotic enemies collectively known as the Process. Red is armed with a greatsword-like weapon, the eponymous Transistor. To bring “Ì Õ M P Æ Ø Ë” to life, I cosplayed two characters from the game, Red and Royce; in the piece, their costumes are faithful to the characters as they appear in their final confrontation, ready to battle for the fate of Cloudbank. Both characters are armed with their own Transistor sword, built using plastic vinyl tiles, polypropylene sheeting, and strips of teal LEDs. “Ì Õ M P Æ Ø Ë” draws on the “cloning” technique in Photoshop; using manual mode on my camera to ensure consistency in exposure, depth of field and color temperature, I loaded two individual shots––one with me dressed as Red, and one as Royce––into separate layers in the same Photoshop workspace. The CGI background was achieved using royalty free stock images of a concrete corridor overlaid with in-game assets acquired using the Capture button on the Switch Pro Controller. Post-processing entailed generating bokeh effects using the Field Blur tool and layering a Gaussian-blurred background over the foreground to generate the desired lighting effects. The aim of embedding my props, costumes, and characters into digital spaces is to animate the cosplay, to generate an affirmational form of mimetic fan production that showcases an attention to detail in both costume making and digital illustration.