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Creating the Dresses

As promised in my previous post, a more detailed look at how the dresses were created and then used in La Boule de Fleur Mascarade.

Quick overview:

Some single flowers lend themselves to be dresses naturally, others take a little more persuading; in total I used 4 different methods. With each method I assembled something that looked like a ballgown. Then using the model, as the base layer, the flower was manipulated to give it shape. Finally the finished gown was given some texture using Topaz software.

How the dresses were made:

As I’ve already mentioned, I used 4 different methods to make the dresses. Using a single flower, using the petals to create a layered effect, using a single stem several times and building up the layers, and using bunches of flowers to give a more natural look.

Using a single flower:

Some flowers have a shape that are naturally suited to being turned into dresses, others need a little persuasion.

The Calla Lily was the most naturally shaped of all the flowers I used and the source inspiration for this project. The Cornflower and Lily both needed bodices, but each of the flowers lent themselves to be figure hugging stylish gowns.

calla lily, cornflower, lily

Using flower petals:

A couple of the dresses were created using flower petals. Petals were removed from the stems and pinned to a polystyrene angel. Photoshop was used to remove any visible pin heads.

carnation & daisy petals

The Alstroemeria dress was inspired by Queen Elizabeth I. It’s a very vibrant and flouncy type of flower and reminded me of the big Elizabethan dresses. As you can see, it was made in a similar way to the carnation and daisy. The skirt is a combination of complete flowers and single petals across the front, the corset was created from petals. I loved the way this dress came together and the finished result is really effective.

Creating the Alstromeria dress

Using flower stems:

The flower stems were a lot more complex than the previous dresses, all of them were created using layers in Photoshop. The gladioli was probably the most simplest, it was made up of two stems and merged. The rose dress is comprised of 13 layers of flower heads. The freesia was probably the most layered of all the dresses and is created from 22 different layers. Although time consuming, the results were worth it.

Using gladioli, roses & freeshia stems

Using bunches of flowers:

These dresses were relatively simple to make.  Stems were gathered into a bunch and then photographed. There was some layering but not as much as the dresses made from individual stems. The corsets were created using petals and flower heads.

Chrysanthemum & lavender bunches

Putting the dresses together:

After the flowers had been manipulated to fit the model, using the Photoshop transform tool, the warp tool and the liquify tools, all the dress layers were dragged to a blank background to make a separate file just for the dress. The layers were then flattened. The Topaz Details filter was used to bring out the finer details of the petals. Topaz Glow filter was then applied to enhance the details and add some texture to the dress.

Creating the dresses

The completed dress layer was then dragged back to the model file ready for the composite to be painted.

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