Would you like to add some planning and organization to your cosplay? Look no further than Cosplanner.
As any cosplayer will tell you, there is always enough time and money and materials until there isn’t and then things get crazy and last-minute. Walking around Wizard World Portland, I smelled fresh spray paint on more than a few costumes.
So it’s no wonder that there were several panels at Wizard World focusing on planning and managing your cosplay. But practical implementation of planning and organizing doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people, so when I heard about Cosplanner, I downloaded it immediately to help retain my sanity as the clock runs down on my latest cosplay work.
When you first start up Cosplanner, you get a screen with all of your in-process and planned characters, once you’ve entered them, of course. When entering your in-process characters you can also enter optional due dates and budgets. While these aren’t critical for learning the app, having both a time and money budget is project management 101, and I highly recommend entering them even if they are just best guesses for now. The main screen also has a ton of sorting and searching options to help you manage your list of cosplay. With just a few on my list, this wasn’t too helpful yet, but I can definitely see it coming in handy as I build up my portfolio.
Once you drill in to an in process cosplay, you can start adding and managing Cosplay Elements. These are broken down into two categories: To Buy and To Make.
When starting off a new cosplay, creating your shopping list is a great place to start. You enter in your To Buy items including their cost and then you can flag them as ready or not, you can highlight important items, and add photos or notes to the item. These are the items that will bounce off of your cosplay budget later so if you want to manage your budget (and you should), make sure to enter the cost for everything on your shopping list. I do recommend even adding items you already have on hand, making the cost $0 and flagging them as ready. This way you have a full list of all the required materials. Note: There is an option here to “Switch to: To Make.” Doing this will actually clear the cost and status from the item and turn it into a To Make item. It would be nice to have an option to move or copy to To Make, without losing budget info as doing this then kills all your budgeting data which I would like to keep while also converting a “Buy Clay” into a “Make Dagger.”
To Make items are where you actually track your progress. You enter the amount of time you spent (I update this each time I work on something), the approximate percentage complete, a photo, notes, and the ability to highlight items. To Buy items have a similar “Switch to: To Buy” feature that clears out your status. I think the “Switch to” functionality as it currently stands is really for when you accidentally create the wrong type. I wouldn’t really recommend using this once you’ve started tracking status.
One thing I’d like to see in a future update for the To Make items is the ability to enter a time budget for an item that would roll up in the summary (see below). I’d love to be able to say I expect an item to take me, say, ten hours, and then see how much time I actually end up spending to see if I am estimating high or low. This would also give you a nice idea of how long all of the pieces will take and help with planning which cons are realistic.
There is also a tab for adding tasks to a cosplay. You can even set alarms and notifications for a task. I haven’t made a lot of use out of this feature yet, but it’s been helpful with reminding me to do a couple of “pre-make” tasks that I needed to do.
The next tab is for storing reference images. This is great for having photos handy when you’re out shopping for supplies or in your workshop or at your sewing table.
An album for storing process pics is also available. This is great for either remembering how you did something or just for showing off to your friends later how awesomely you did something (or even for learning from your mistakes).
There is a tab for tracking events associated with a given cosplay as well. Add an event, its location, the date, any notes, and select the type–expo, con, contest, meeting, or party. The main screen shows how many events are associated with your different cosplay, which is a nice quick visual reminder.
The last section under each cosplay is the Summary. The summary page shoes you your total progress, total elapsed time, how much time until your due date (if you have one), To Make and To Buy summaries, and a total monetary budget summary. This is where having time budgets on your items could really come in handy. The percentage complete summary is just an average of the percent completes on the number of items you have. While it’s a nice swag at your percentage, if you have some items that take significantly more time than others, it will be a little bit skewed.
Cosplanner is a free app with two optional purchases. For $0.99 you can increase the limits on number of photos, tasks, etc. on each cosplay (which I did within a few minutes of using the app). And for $1.99 you can remove the ads, but honestly, the ads are so unobtrusive, I actually had to do look for them when I saw this option. If you like the app, I’d say go ahead and drop the extra $1.99 to help Cato keep developing the app.
As you can see, I’ve even put in all of my future projects including those for my son. It’s nice to have a single tool to help track and plan all of this stuff. If you or your kids are really in to cosplay, Cosplanner is also a really good way to help them start learning about time and money budgeting and management.
Overall, Cosplanner is an invaluable tool to add to your cosplay arsenal. It’s probably not as useful to log your past cosplay into unless you just want to have them all in one place, but just since I started using it this past week, it’s helped me get a lot more organized and on track to finish my upcoming cosplay.