In 2015, when it was announced that Rick was to close his shop, the FX world was stunned and the bell tolled once again for the end of all practical effects as people speculated the end of live-action anything.
There was a Vice article at the time which claimed (again) the 'CGI was killing the industry' which, if you were knee deep in rubber and working crazy hours trying to get stuff done for a show like I and many others were was hard to take seriously.
Now the dust has settled, I was so stoked to get a chance to sit and talk to the man himself and see what he was doing with himself now he was out of the industry. He was after possibly the most well known and most respected inspirations working at the time, so what were we to do now he had hung up his makeup brushes?
Simply put, what has happened since Rick retired is that he is still working and still developing. He has worked on things he wanted to work on make them the way he wanted to make them. He has pushed into mixing up practical and digital techniques in both digital sculpting and 3D printing, post production elements as well as being able to indulge in some of the funnest Halloween makeups we have seen so far.
Following Rick on Instagram (therickbaker), you will see a man working harder than ever but this time, he only has to please himself rather than juggle a board of producers. No budget fights or sudden changes of direction to steal away the efforts so far. It is, frankly, amazing. If you have been inspired by the Rick Baker of Thriller, American Werewolf and Nutty Professor, then I am pleased to say your inspiration is still there better than ever.
I particularly wanted to talk to Rick about this move into the newer technologies. We all love to talk about American Werewolf of course, but that ground has been covered before, and I wanted to talk to him about what is going on now. As you'll hear, Rick was an early adopter so it really isn't that 'new' after all.
As therapy for me, it totally settled my own fears on digital work and I am happy to say I am flying along with ZBrush, CAD and 3D printing now myself. I finally lost the fear and found the love for it. Only took me ten years.
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- Stuart & Todd