Proportion Tool for Props/Costumes

Proportions are extremely important when it comes to making a costume because it can make or break the way everything looks together as a whole. There are many ways to find the right dimensions for your props such as guesstimating from your reference image you have (example: their prop looks as long as their arm) which sometimes works, but if you want a more technical route it’s all about a little bit of math. Below the calculator you can find an explanation behind how this works if you’re interested in understanding it better!

Plug in the numbers for your character’s height, the weapon length, your height, and it will calculate what your weapon prop length should be in proportion to the reference you are using. Use inches or centimeters for your values.

I added some important tips below that you may want to check out.

Character Height Your Height
Character’s Weapon Length Your Weapon Length
Arcade Miss Fortune
  • It doesn’t matter whether you are using the imperial or metric system, just make sure all your numbers are the same system and same measurement value – don’t mix inches/centimeters, and don’t mix inches/feet. Putting in a value such as 5’3″ for your height will not work, instead you’ll have to put 63 (5*12+3).
  • Don’t add ” for inches or cm, it will break the tool. I hope to have this fixed in the future.
  • How do you find the character’s height and weapon length? You can measure these values on an image in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, or you can even just measure it from a printed reference on paper.
  • Make sure you are using a reference that has the character standing relatively straight (more accurate height that way).
  • The character’s information (height and weapon length) must always be in proportion, sourced from the same reference image.
  • It’s easiest if you omit heel height in your calculations because sometimes your heel height will not be the same as the character’s.
  • Make sure you don’t include any horns/hat in the character’s height measurement.

How does it work?

This is a really simple calculation, it’s all about making sure two fractions are proportional! So the basics behind this are:



…now let’s replace the variables with what are doing:

Character to User Proportions

All you’re trying to do is make sure that your height and weapon length are proportionate to the character’s height and weapon length. My tool is basically just doing B * C / A = D, cross multiplication.

How accurate is this?

I always use this as a starting point for all of my props. However it is not always 100% accurate all the time because characters are sometimes drawn with anatomy that is very different from our own, but it’s a good starting point because then you can print or sketch your prop at the dimension you found and decide from there if you’d prefer it being smaller or larger. This is why I love creating all my templates in Illustrator because you can easily re-scale and re-print to test out different sizes and decide on a final scale.

I hope this tool will help some of you out! Feedback is always welcome below in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter.


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