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Battles With Bits of Rubber

This podcast is a joint venture with Stuart Bray and Todd Debreceni. It's all about the making of stuff for makeup effects and prosthetics. Todd is author of 'Special Makeup Effects For Stage And Screen', what many consider to be the modern makeup FX bible. Stuart Bray is a working makeup FX artist with many years experienc. Credits include 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Shaun of the Dead', 'Dr Who' and more recently 'Game of Thrones'. If you have any FX questions you would like to see made into a featured blog post, then get in touch: stuartandtodd@gmail.com
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Now displaying: May, 2016
May 18, 2016

#9 - Symmetry, Schools & Fools
 

Symmetry in sculpting appliances

Whilst teaching a class recently, a student was hung up on getting the nose perfectly symmetrical. I explained as I often do that the human face isn't symmetrical, so going for complete mirror image reflection necessary.

That said, asymmetry owing to sloppy work isn't good either - the fact that there is little perfect symmetry in nature doesn't let you off the hook!

I remember at college sculpting a full size head and a full size figure from life and using a plumb line - basically a piece of string with a lead weight on the end to keep a straight line. That helps you keep on target with the centre line, and you can use callipers to measure and plot common points to sketch out boundaries like where the eye corners start and finish, where the mouth is in relation to the nose etc.

This sounds like a video to be honest - again comment, write and let us know what you think.  stuartandtodd@gmail.com

…also check out our facebook page!

 

Folio

Whilst at UMAE last week, I got to speaking with a lot of people starting out who wanted me to take a look at their folios. I like to talk people through what I see, and I know that when I was starting out that I really appreciated good advice from people that took the time to look through my stuff.

Shows like this are good but they can be intense, with groups of people all descending at once when they notice a folio show. There were some good pieces and I will be straight with people regarding the work, and although there are many approaches to folio layout, there are a few solid consistent aspects to a folio that I think remain regardless.

  1. Good clear and large images

With digital cameras, there's little excuse for blurry or badly exposed images. If images are taken on set where there is low level light, it's fair enough that on occasion the pics would be less than perfect, but if you are responsible for building something, there is plenty of opportunity to take good clear images.

Opt for professional prints - online print developers like Snapfish and Photobox for example will send you great 10x8's (A4 ish) sized photos. You may have a great printer but often this works out more expensive than buying prints, and they rarely weather well over time.

  1. Not too many and not too long

Viewer fatigue is not the intended result of an extensive folio, but I think it's fair to say that after a while, your brain can't take in new things with equal enthusiasm.

If you have extensively documented the manufacture process of something, you need to edit that down to a few choice images unless there is a specific reason to dwell on that aspect. It may be worth keeping your main 'general' folio streamlined with a few selected images from each project, and then keep to hand additional more in-depth folios which drill deeper into things should that be necessary.

  1. Easy to handle

If a folio keeps dropping leaves or sheets slide around or can't fold over easy then it becomes a bit of a chore to handle. Make sure you handle a folio and turn the pages yourself before committing to buy. If it annoys you to handle, then chances are it will annoy others too.

It's a tragedy for your good work to not be noticed as the viewer is tasked with wrangling the sleeves or relocating misaligned punched holes.

 

UMAE 2016

The UMAe stand for United Makeup Artists expo. It is a smaller UK trade show, but perfectly formed. I had a great time but it was exhausting. There were loads of demos going on all day, and this year I had my own stand, spoke to a lot of people, did a demo makeup and a presentation on the stage for blood rig effects.

I wanted to do a thing on blood rigs as I have done quite a few for shows over the years, and plenty on gags for Game of Thrones, and NDA's stop me from showing anyone how I actually do them, so I decided to do a demo of my own so I could show the process from start to finish without showing anything from the show. 

I had a couple of cool people helping me out too - Alice Pinney and Jess Heath who applied loads of pieces I made, so thanks for the help guys. You worked hard!

Also thanks to Leanne Hicks who helped me out loads as well as patiently modelling for my makeup demo, a creepy kind of stern looking businesswoman was the idea, but it kind of ended up looking like an evil politician. I called her Angular Merkel, but we settled on The Wicked Which of the Westminster.

I'll do this as a blog post if anyone is interested - please get in touch and leave comments under this blog post or podcast

Show was nice feel to it - you can actually go up to the people and speak to them. There isn't a stadium sized crowd to navigate so it's not a huge task to speak to the people you want to talk to.  Nor are there tanning booths, teeth whitening or champagne and strawberry bars.

Said hey to Richard Redlefsen, and I gave him a few sculpting tools I had made which was a nice touch - I made a bunch of tools for a makeup school called The Iver based at Pinewood for which I did a class at the week before.  I knew he would be at the show so I made a few extra, and I got a kick out of giving them to him - nice guy and very talented makeup artist. He did a Phantom of the Opera makeup, and it was pretty cool.

Also Dan Gilbert was demoing for PPI, and I needed some PAX. He dashed up to his room to grab me some which he had, which I thought was rather dashing of him so thank you for that Dan. True gent!

 

Makeup School Observations

There are some things I noticed about work I saw from makeup schools, and I think it needs bringing up. Essentially, I saw work from someone who had travelled to LA from the UK to attend a makeup school for some months.

There were pictures of work in there which seemed both extensive in size but poor in quality. Now I know students are by definition learning, and there is going to be mixed ability but there seems to be an irresponsible approach when allowing large scale sculpting to take place when there are some fundamental areas which need addressing.

Makeup schools are a business so it's only right they charge for their service, but I have heard and seen many examples of people who travelled far and spent a lot and when you see what they have taken away from it then you wonder if it is a fair exchange.

As with any business, there are some sharp practitioners and some outstanding examples. I think it would be a good idea to run this checklist over when considering a makeup school.

  1. Check who the tutors are
  2. Look at previous students work
  3. Speak to previous students
  4. Is there a screening process or do they take anyone who can pay?

 

Faceoff

I've met a few of the contestants from the show, and to be honest they seem pretty cool - they need to have ability and character to get selected for sure. Hoever, the show is largely concerned with ratings (it's a TV show after all) and less concerned with processes which is what I care about. 

We riff a little about the effects of the show, and how annoying it is that people whose only exposure to the industry is watching a few episodes feel qualified to comment on what we may be doing wrong.  "It didn't look that hard on Faceoff..."!

 

Face casting disasters

We’ve all heard of the anecdotal face casts that went hideously wrong – the result of phenomenally terrible practice on the part of people doing it. Things like using bare plaster all over the face, bears and eyebrows becoming stuck or undercuts locking heads – it’s common sense mostly but that is not as common as you’d imagine.

Anyhow, check out these howlers, and if you know of any outrageous lfecasting videos which are not here, please do get in touch and send us a link so we can share it!  Let’s show everyone how NOT to do it!

https://vimeo.com/21710023

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVUHlDou6cQ&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09rUbu33Z1E

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=077_1462827743

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/6311398/Schoolgirl-16-lost-eight-fingers-in-plaster-of-Paris-accident-during-art-lesson.html

 

Incidentally, this video collaboration I did with Klaire de Lys shows a way to lifecast safely without taking insane risks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NyF5bKlkT0

Stay creative!

Stuart & Todd

 

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