Man or Machine? How Technology is Shaping Cosplay
Cosplay is all about being yourself. You can be whoever (or whatever) you want to be. And when a cosplayer chooses a particular costume, tapping into a specific character — or combination of characters — it’s because of a connection to their background or philosophy. In fact, studies have shown that cosplayers are generally introverts and blossom as their artistic interpretation is displayed.
Cosplaying is becoming more competitive each year. Live action and the use of fantastical props are now the norm at conventions, helping to garner attention and new fans for cosplayers. A costume is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that involves weeks of creation; some include working mechanical parts, oversized accessories, working electronics, and complex prosthetics for enhancement. Considerable time and effort go into being a top cosplayer.
However, it is an expensive endeavor that has the potential to make money to offset some of the extensive amounts of funds put into it. Having a blog that attracts advertising revenue is one of the best ways to do this. A successful cosplayer with lots of fans will attract advertisers looking to cash in on an existing base: a win-win for both parties. Photo ops where companies hire models to cosplay a character at an event is another source of income, especially when coupled with product sales of some kind on a website.
Photo shoots such as these can turn into real money. Some companies foot the bill for the travel and lodging for having a cosplayer man their booth. It is also not unusual for a cosplayer to earn commission after being noticed on their website and on social media as well as in forums and in store fronts. Cosplayers take these funds and channel them back into their pastime. Thus, making cosplay a legitimate job in a world of increasing technology where many jobs are being taken over by automation. Tablets are also a great way to find resources and as a means to look for concepts. You can be at a convention anywhere and still be updating your blog or Instagram. Also, cloud storage doubling as a collaboration tool is an additional benefit of using technology. Cosplayers can even take advantage of 3-D printing to produce more complex props and accessories.
Will man ever be replaced by a machine in this genre? On one level, software like 3-D Blender and Polygon Modeling & Animation are used for modeling. You can then follow what’s happening on social media and use a tablet’s camera for videoing the event and have that info instantly replicated on your feed. You may even look like a machine.
However, cosplay utilizes technology and other skills, too; the main one being originality. Tech inputs like the electroluminescent wire are great imaginative accents to a costume.
Occupations involving fine arts and social perceptiveness are areas where automation has a little impact. Thus, the unique nature of the cosplay community simply cannot be replaced by technology. This is an activity for humans showcased by humans.
Although automation on some level is probable, people who cosplay are and will always be fascinated by the transformation into characters from movies, TV shows, books, comics, and video games. Though you can incorporate technology into cosplay, the odds of a machine doing your job are zero. So, man should be fine for a while.