Fleming
Computer
I will fix it.

TRON (1982) Cosplay — Kevin Flynn's Unitard

April 16, 2017: Initial Digitizing Begins

A special thank you to Rosanna Norton (here and here) for pointing me in the right direction for working on the unitard! Rosanna is a costume designer who was nominated (along with Elois Jenssen, deceased) for Best Costumes during the 55th Academy Awards for her work on TRON.

tron_costume_credits.jpg

I emailed Rosanna to ask her about how they did the unitard designs. She said "We silkscreened the leotards in the Disney paint shop. I cut the screens myself and we had to stretch the leotards while we printed them."

I've never screen printed anything before, but after watching several YouTube videos on the subject, I think the best way will be to use emulsion sheets, which allow you to design your templates in any graphics program. Essentially, you take your digital design, print it onto a transparency, then place that transparency over an emulsion sheet and expose to light for a short time. The resulting emulsion sheet can then be ink-screened onto the garment.

I'm using GIMP and photos of the original prop costume (Nate Sanders Auctions) to recreate the unitard's line art. Using the paths tool, I started having fun with how the lines looked "blinky" - and even blue (as GIMP highlights path elements in blue) - as if from some control panel that might have been in the movie.

Below is my video mixed with Wendy Carlos' Water, Music, and Tronaction from the TRON 1982 soundtrack.

May 1, 2017: Front and Rear Torso Digitizing Complete

It was a lot of work and a lot of fun digitizing the front and rear torso portions from photos of the original Kevin Flynn prop costume unitard. I am very pleased with the results! Next will be the arms, legs, and neck, which should be relatively easier. Almost time to order a blank unitard and begin mapping the imagery onto the garment. Emulsion screens won't be far behind.

My digitization of Kevin Flynn unitard, front torso.
My digitization of Kevin Flynn unitard, front torso.
My digitization of Kevin Flynn unitard, rear torso.
My digitization of Kevin Flynn unitard, rear torso.
My hand-digitized proofs of Kevin Flynn unitard front and rear torso, alongside original. Ready for screen printing?
My hand-digitized proofs of Kevin Flynn unitard front and rear torso, alongside original. Ready for screen printing?
Concept Art by Syd Mead is gorgeous. Visit link below for more concept art.
Concept Art by Syd Mead is gorgeous. Visit link below for more concept art.

35 Original Concept Art Made for TRON

And another video of me having fun with GIMP and digitizing circles onto the front pattern, along with Theme From TRON:

July 10, 2017

I obtained 2 unitards from GrishkoShop.com. They are an excellent match of the original; footed, turtleneck, and seams are the same. For stretching the unitard for screen printing, I'm using an old 8'x4' corrugated vinyl sign I obtained from a shop as the material from which to cut a rigid board. I will then slip the unitard onto this board, then screen print onto it. Here are some pictures of the board-making process:

This is the footed, turtleneck unitard I got from GrishkoShop.com.  It is cut and seamed same as the one from the film. Taped around the perimeter.  I will mark and cut about 1"-2" wider so that the unitard will stretch flat onto it. Hard to see, but I used a Sharpie to draw some cut lines on the left half. Using a straight edge and utility knife to cut the corrugated vinyl.  I placed a cut board underneath. Left half is cut. On the back, I cut through the surface of a corrugated rib so it will fold easily. Now I can trace the right half.  Guess I didn't need to tape it up. Symmetrically cut unitard stretching board. I trimmed the waste in some more, then fitted the unitard onto it.

July 12, 2017

With some sunny weather available for exposing the emulsion silk screens from ezscreenprint.com, I was able to complete the silk screens for the front and rear torso graphics. The process is to print the positive in pure black onto transparencies. Then lay an emulsion screen onto a transparency inside ezscreenprint's exposure glass and backing board. Expose to direct sunlight for 1 minute, then soak in water for 15 minutes. Rinse, brush off residue, and bake in the sun for 10 minutes. Here are the pictures I took of this process:

These are the printed transparencies for the front torso, each layed onto white paper so you could see them in this photo. This is the exposure process.  This is earlier of the belt; I didn't have time to take a picture of the exposing of the torso screens. I've already exposed, soaked, and rinsed them at this stage.  This is the baking process - 10 minutes in the sun. Here are the complete front torso screens.  I really only needed to do 2 screens; i.e. the left side, and flip them for the right side. Here are the rear torso's 3 screens, soaking for 15 minutes after exposure to the sun. The 3 rear torso screens baking for 10 minutes. The complete rear and front torso screens.  Should have only used 2 for the front, since I can flip them.

July 19, 2017

The unitard is complete (actually, I made 2 of them). Below are pictures showing the process of creating the remaining silk screens, and how to pin them to the garment and vinyl backing board for inking. This is a laborious process, requiring precise lining-up of the 8.5" x 11" stencils to create a continuous, larger image. After inking, a clothes iron is used to heat-set the ink so it can be washed. With the inking done, I riveted in the receiving shoulder snaps for the shoulder cup tabs, and I also sewed in the receiving Velcro for the tunic's shoulder; to keep it from slipping down. All this is just like the costume designers did for the prop costumes in the movie. Lastly, as a custom touch to show off the identity disc, I sewed in 2 pieces of Velcro between the shoulder blades - 1 each side of zipper - to receive the identity disc's magnetic mounting block. This way, I can remove and attach the identity disc at leisure for added effect.

The rear torso, 1 of 5. Rear torso, 1 of 5 inked. Rear torso, 1 of 5 done. Rear torso, 2 of 5. Rear torso, 3 of 5. Rear torso, 4 of 5, silk screen pinned. Rear torso, 4 of 5, inked. Rear torso, 4 of 5 done. Rear torso, 5 of 5, silk screen pinned. With the rear torso complete, onto the arm and leg lines. Arm and leg screens exposed and soaking. Arm and leg silk screens hardening in the sun. Left is rear legs; center is front legs; right is arm front, arm back, and collar. Tedious process to ink the lines; not much margin on screens for error. Cutting the squeegee into a narrow piece helps get just the lines inked. The rear is completely done here. The ink must be heat-set with an iron to be washable. Time for the front torso. Front torso complete. Arm, 1 of 2 placements; screen is shorter than lines are. Arm, 2 of 2 placements; this gets the middle line length correct. Front of arm complete. Front of leg. From here, I use the 3 lines of the stencil to do the rest of the leg, by pinning the screen a few more times and inking only the 3 lines. Front of unitard complete! Time for the collar; right side then left side. Front of collar complete. Rear of collar complete. Velcro for the left shoulder of the tunic, to prevent it from sliding down.  Also, snap riveted through shoulder seam to retain shoulder cup of arm pads. Right shoulder snap for arm pad. Velcro is sewn in to receive the foam magnet block for the identity disc.

Next Chapter — Flynn's Boots