GLaDOS (Portal/Portal 2, Original Design)
“Oh, it’s you. It’s been along time. How have you been?” -GLaDOS, Portal 2
This costume is probably one of my most involved and fun costumes that I have finished so far. Initially, I was apprehensive about whether I could pull this character off, as she is, after all, a giant computer without a solid pre-determined human form. I played around a bit with the design, though. I noticed that she is, actually quite human-like in form in her own way, much like the Venus de Milo.
I pulled my inspiration for my own design from reference pictures to infuse elements from both Portal and Portal 2 as well as from my own interpretation of the character.
The backstory in Portal 2 of GLaDOS’s origins from Caroline was a huge part of the concept. I felt like I had to incorporate her human origins in the costume through an elegant, yet sad, bound form and half-mask while still portraying a robotic form similar to her end computer appearance. I also made sure to include some cording and asymmetry, as well as a blue personality core in her hair, that could be thought of as either a nod to the original Portal or Wheatly in Portal 2.
(Upload of Design Sketch Coming Soon)
I created my pattern from scratch. I used a fairly heavy, white bridal fabric for the majority of the dress. The dress is all lined, though not with normal white lining. Rather, it is a fairly stiff translucent fabric to give the over skirt more body. The black skirt is a slightly lighter satin-like material. I used black satin ribbon to edge the skirts and the top edge of the dress.
I made this pattern from scratch as well by wrapping my torso in duct tape. I used the same fabric for the waist cinch as for the main dress and lined it. I used plastic boning for support and sewed satin ribbon over each seam and used it to edge the waist cinch as well.
HEADPIECE and CORE
The initial form for the headpiece was formed from a plaster cast I did of my face. I used a 1/2″ mesh wire over the plaster form to create the initial curve. I used paper mache over that and then smoothed everything out with clay. I had to layer the clay with modge podge as it dried to try to prevent cracking. In hind sight, I probably would have had better results with paper clay. The headpiece was secured to my head with a very sturdy white headband.
The pieces on the side of the mask as well as the eye piece was constructed largely with double layered plastic orange juice container and hot glue and other materials I was able to find around my apartment (eg: screws, twist ties, bottle cap). Everything was then painted with acrylic paint and sealed with modge podge.
The core was a carved styrofoam ball that I layered with lots of modge podge to smooth it out.
Lastly, I had one of my more technically savvy friends put together the LED lights. I had one blue one in the core and a yellow and red LED in the eye piece of the headpiece. The battery pack for the headpiece was secured with twist ties under the curve towards the back of the headpiece to allow for easy access. Yes, I was able to see out of the eye piece, I just had limited peripheral vision on my left side.
I bought a pair of white opera gloves off of Amazon.com and heavily modified them. I used black nail polish to paint GLaDOS onto the left glove. I used white opaque tights for my legs and used shoes I already had. The wig is a 28″ wavy silver wig, I think from cosplay.com. I also had a black contact in my right eye and a yellow one in my left eye. I had the yellow contact in my left eye so that I could take the headpiece off and still maintain the character and creepy effect. I also used white powder makeup to make myself white and pale on my upper body.
The Final Touch – AUDIO
So, the headpiece limited my ability to speak because the plaster cast needed to be secure under my chin. Yet, I wanted to be able to interact with other people. Thus, I had a mini speaker attached to the back of the headpiece connected to an mp3 player that had about 60 quotes from Portal, Portal 2, and Portal 2 dlc. It was really fun to have the audio component of the costume, helped me stay in character, and added a lot to my interactions with other people. There were times when I walked by someone and they did a double take when they realized that I was “speaking” and had a wonderfully creepy effect.
Events and Publications
Worn on the 7th of April at PAX East, 2012. Won 1st place in costume contest at ZOTAC booth.
Worn on the 14th and 15th of October at New York Comic Con, 2011
Worn on the 3rd of March at Genericon, 2012. Won 2nd place in the cosplay contest.
Article featured on Wired.com: http://www.wired.com/underwire/tag/new-york-comic-con-2011/
Article featured on Escapistmagazine.com: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/116696-Creative-License-Makes-For-Gorgeous-GlaDOS-Cosplay
Article featured on Geekologie.com: http://www.geekologie.com/2012/04/the-pie-is-a-lie-impressive-glados-cospl.php
Article featured on OniPepper.de: http://onipepper.de/2012/04/10/wunderschones-glados-cosplay/
Photo featured on MTV.com: http://www.mtv.com/photos/new-york-comic-con-2011-cosplay-portraits/1672566/6620610/photo.jhtml