Digital Paper Dolls

An Inkscape file used for picking costumes.

As a kid, I never had much interest in dolls, and as an adult I have even less, but this kind of doll serves a purpose.  I’ve been working on costuming for an upcoming modern dance company show.  We’ve been back and forth with ideas, drawings, and prototypes, but there are so many details to work out.  There were several clothing options and each could be any number of colors.

I thought about drawing out a bunch of different combinations, but that was a lot of work and potentially very frustrating.  Then I thought about paper dolls made out of real paper, but again, that was a bunch of work.  Finally, I decided to draw it out in Inkscape.

Using Inkscape allowed me to make one of each article of clothing and simply change the colors digitally.  Using layers made things a lot easier.  The background and the doll are in locked layers so they can’t get in the way and be accidentally moved when you try to select a piece of clothing.  The clothes are in their own layer, so they are movable and the fill colors can be changed.

I brought the file to the studio and we played with different options and colors until we found the combination we wanted.  It was very helpful to have a visual representation so every knew exactly what the decision was.  No surprises later.

So now I’ve made my own little digital costume aid.  I have a feeling this will get used for many other costumes as well.  The image above, is not the actual costume options, by the way.  I drew some quick clothes to demonstrate the idea because I’m not going to post the actual costume decision until the piece has been performed.

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About micheletobias

I lead two lives - one as an artist and the other as a scientist. More and more I'm finding my two worlds colliding, and it's not the disaster you might expect. View all posts by micheletobias

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