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Lightning Cosplay uses Zortrax 3D Printers to Create Costumes for Video Game Developers

Lightning Cosplay is an internationally recognized German company that designs tailor-made costumes allowing to impersonate the characters of popular books, games or movies. They use Zortax 3D printers such as a desktop M200 and a resin Inkspire to create their works.

3D printing in gaming
Above: Mantis Blade from CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077 before assembling/Image Credit: Zortrax

Laura and Ralf built the team of Lightning Cosplay. Their adventure with designing costumes inspired by fantasy characters, i.e. cosplay, began in 2012. Then it was just Laura’s hobby. In her spare time, she created costumes in which she showed up at meets and conventions for fans of games or comics. The precision that distinguished her designs was noticed by others. She even managed to draw the attention of companies looking for solutions that would allow them to make costumes or props for various types of promotional events.

In 2015, passion was transformed into a way of life. Since then Lightning Cosplay is a professional company that implements projects on behalf of the globally recognized producers of computer games such as Bethesda, THQ Nordic or CD Projekt.

Above: Nord Helmets made for Bethesda/Image Credit: Zortrax

Most of our projects are created on the commission of game producers who want to “revive” their virtual heroes during promotional events. First of all, we receive and analyze numerous screenshots of a particular character to determine how its outfit presents at different angles. Afterwards we begin 3D modeling of the full costume. Once we know its complete appearance, the individual details that will allow us to achieve the desired result can be finally worked on – says Ralf Zimmermann from Lightning Cosplay.

The team uses Zortrax 3D printers to implement their projects. Initially, they only used the M200 printer and later supplemented their studio’s equipment with a resin Inkspire printer. This device has revolutionized their work allowing the creation of elements with the final height of less than  2 cm measured with a precision of 0.025 mm each layer height. The use of printers with complementary features is crucial for the efficient implementation of such designs. The technology with which the elements of a costume will be produced should be chosen at the first stage of work.

All decisions regarding the material and method of implementation have to be well thought out in order to avoid wasting time on changes and corrections. Sticking to deadlines is crucial when completing orders for giants of a computer games industry. And technological solutions are sometimes the only way to achieve the desired effect in a short period of time.

3D printing in gaming
Above: The Zortrax Inkspire UV LCD 3D Printer/Image Credit: Zortrax

Therefore, Ralf, who is responsible for all 3D prints in the company, uses default printer settings only. Manual set up for each piece of a costume would be too time-consuming. This could hamper the work at the manufacture, where dozens of different elements are created within a day. The “plug ‘n’ play” option enables almost an immediate start of work on the device, without wasting time on calibration and testing.

Before we started using 3D printers, we cut out the elements of our costumes of foam or formed them from thermoplastic materials. Sometimes we still use such solutions. You don’t need a 3D printer to create fancy costumes. You can play and design without this technology.

     

However, if amateur creation of artifacts and costumes becomes treated as a business, you will need to use the right equipment. With tight deadlines and demanding customers, an accurate and precise printer, such as Zortrax Inkspire, improves the design process greatly and allows us to achieve better results – adds Ralf.         

With the Inkspire, the Lightning Cosplay team was able to print small and sophisticated pieces that could not be produced with knives or even other models of printers. Not only it allows the company to improve their costumes by adding precisely made tiny elements, but also to expand the business.

3D printing in gaming
Above: Assembled mask of Dark Lord inspired by Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, teeth were printed with Zortrax Inkspire/Image Credit: Zortrax

Using the features of Inkspire that enable a repeatable printing of smallest details Ralf and Laura started the production of figurines inspired by video games and extended their cooperation with retail customers. Created in the same way accessories and clothing items were introduced for sale online.

This complementary business activity has proven to be especially effective during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The events where the company usually presents its costumes have been canceled. Orders for many new costumes are still being postponed or suspended. Fortunately, with some creativity and the help of flexible technology, the company managed to adapt their projects to the needs of a volatile market.


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