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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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Aug 16, 2022

Adam Dougherty and his company https://www.kreaturekid.com/ are based in Colorado. An incredibly talented artist, he is an inspiring soul who makes things happen with determination and persistent hard work.

Although he considers himself lazy, his output shows anything but. In particular, his style celebrates the warmth and unique character that Jim Henson created with puppets, and has himself produced some jaw-droppingly effective puppets for various projects such as the upcoming Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls, directed by Andrew Bowser.

Adam has a flair and a style for big, expressive characters and, as you will hear in the podcast, celebrates and works hard to put practical effects front and centre. He is a sculptor working both digitally and practically, so he understands both sides of the coin. He also has a clear vision of a good story and isn't happy to mindlessly follow the herd.

We left inspired and impressed! We think you will be too. Check out his homepage, Instagram and YouTube account. It will be time well spent. In particular, this video from ADI (Amalgamated Dynamics) is an excellent account of Adam's journey and is a joy to watch: https://youtu.be/xKEA_JV7jF8

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Many thanks, as always, for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us directly at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Aug 14, 2022

Frank Ippolito is something of a practical effects polymath. From starting out with makeup effects and putting in solid work in the lab, he has gradually expanded to running a company and crew with impressive credits and a high standard of work.

Checking out Frank's IMDb, you’ll see a switch around 2016 as he started working on speciality costumes. This is a big overlap in the practical effects industry as creature and ‘hero’ suits become more sophisticated. 

Frank started as a freelancer doing the thing; now, he runs a shop and has a well-trusted and reliable workforce at his shop, Thingergy INC. Because of his heavy lifting, now a team of folks get work and get paid, and our chat was an amazing dive into how a workshop is set up and run. This is a great episode to listen to if you are serious about getting work in the industry and want to understand how workshops work. 

We particularly appreciate Frank discussing budgets with actual numbers. Not often will folks spell out the costs of making stuff so clearly, but this is SO important. Often, a suitable budget is put together and whittled down until there is no profit or financial gain from an endeavour.

It is particularly the case for creative freelancers who are often people pleasers and feel uncomfortable discussing money and defending their costs.

(Hint: Just because they say they can't afford it doesn't mean you have to work for nothing and do the job! Saying no to something that takes your time and gives nothing in return is often the wisest move.)

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Many thanks, as always, for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Jul 30, 2022

In this episode, we look at a makeup I did nearly 30 years ago at college. Adrian Rigby sent me a remaining original piece from the mould, along with some photos (prints, no less, which I scanned).

We talk about remembering what you knew then (the past) and how you thought it should be done. You can also advise your old self on how it could be done better using the knowledge you know now (the present) and things you would attain in the future. By seeing your errors written plain, having an actual artefact from the past, you can connect with both then and now. 

We also answer a few listener questions about how to work out softnesses for appliances and what to include in a successful portfolio.

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Many thanks, as always, for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message direct on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Jul 3, 2022

"Bill, there's a scene where The Blob attacks a woman who's in a 'phone booth and it covers the 'phone booth, it crushes the 'phone booth and here and then it goes on the sidewalk and goes into a gutter and disappears into this sewer."

I'm just looking at him and I go…"Okay."

And he says "Figure out how to do that scene!"

I was, like "Well, what IS The Blob?"

He goes "I don't know…you come up with something. Come up with 5 things and I'll pick one."

That was it. That was my first day


Bill who? Pardon our manners. We're talking about Emmy and Academy Award winner, Bill Corso, makeup designer extraordinaire, whose credit list is mind-boggling.

We talk about respect and the future of our industry, which is mainly what this episode is about. There are full-on makeups being done digitally now, but they're being done by people who are not makeup artists. Bill's push is that more makeup people do get involved.

Rarely is the makeup department consulted when digital modifications are employed which affect makeup so Bill has taken the step of formulating the Digital Makeup Group to address the absence of the makeup artist in the digital process. This is a great episode for those looking to get into the industry!


Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

-Stuart & Todd

Feb 3, 2022

In this episode, we talk with materials maestro Pete Tindall about all things making related, along with a dose of rantage.

I moan a bit about ZBrush (although I love it) and the fact that despite the terrifying interface and the huge number of tools available in ZBrush, freedom comes from accepting that you likely need only a handful of them.

Early on in ZBrush, you are can indeed happily ignore most of it with confidence.

Pete is an adept materials man, knowing and using a broad range of materials. We first met on Batman Begins (2005) where Pete worked in the Bat-suit workshop and miniatures for the monorail sequence.

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We also start the podcast as usual with a little FX chit-chat and this time we talk about creating the illusion of hard things in soft tissue such as horns protruding from foreheads, teeth showing from exposed gums and foreign bodies sticking out of the skin (knives or arrows for example).

In the reality of filming, the scene may need to be repeated and used in intense action, so things that are really hard or sharp in real life could break off or cause real injury.

As a result, often it is made up of either soft or semi-rigid material which looks solid but is safer. Sometimes the thing may be designed to break away, be replaceable if multiple takes are needed, be incredibly lightweight or even detachable so it can be removed when not needed.

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

 you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

Stuart & Todd

Jan 27, 2022

Check the shownotes on the blog: https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/

This second part of our chat with Ian and Cliff takes a look back at the company they had together, Creature Concepts - or as Ian puts it ‘How not to run a business'.

Ian and Cliff mentioned Blood On The Satan’s Claw (1971) and I watched it on their recommendation.  It whetted my appetite, and I had to rewatch some of my favourites, The Creeping Flesh, Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter and of course The Curse Of Frankenstein.

It also reminds me of the joys of direct-applied makeups. Things like burns, or wound interiors for example have many random details which can be created in different materials. Sculpting in plastiline is the usual method for creating the forms in appliances, but some things are better created - or at least started - using other techniques. 

Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Jan 21, 2022

This episode was recorded at Cliff's studio, with all four of us present and correct.

Ian and Cliff have worked together and separately in the industry for a long time - Ian's credits include Little Shop Of Horrors, Alien 3, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, Fury and Dr Who.

Cliff racks up an impressive listing on IMDb with Hellraiser (1987), Lair of the White Worm, Black Hawk Down, World War Z and 28 Days Later.

It was a hefty chat that we split into two parts as it was so long, but also they divided into two clear conversations which lent themselves to being broken in two. We had a great time recording and producing this one and we hope you get a kick out of it too. It's not often Todd and I get to be in the same room when we record so getting to do this was a dream.

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Check out the website for more info and full show notes: https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/

Thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Jan 1, 2022
Competence and comfort are the results of the repetition of activity over a significant period of time.
 
In an age of endless self-promotion, this podcast has always championed the work involved in quiet competence. Being competent at something is what people will pay money for, so it is worth considering as an ambition. 
 
But how do we keep ourselves on the right track?
 
A great many working professionals have a very meagre following on social media precisely because their work is mostly protected and discrete because of NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), and they are not looking for mass appeal from as many people as possible.
 
Check out this episode written post on the podcast website - it's hefty - https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/
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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.
 
If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!
 
-Stuart & Todd

Dec 26, 2021
 
What does digital sculpting have to do with battling with bits of rubber?
 
Speaking in one of the VFX classrooms, a huge space with rows of monitors and Wacom Cintiqs, we gathered as a group to discuss training to work in film and TV.
 
We looked particularly at the pipeline and workflow of VFX and how that has changed over the years with regards to practical work and why confidence matters and how it can be generated.
 
One aspect of confidence is to know how and when to exercise what is your responsibility when you may feel like it is someone else's job. What can you do practically to accumulate confidence and where does that come from? What are the stepping stones?
 
 
Many makeup schools do not know how or teach how practical effects may work with VFX. There isn't an extensive history yet of that combination, so fewer resources and gurus to call upon. If you want to make a nose or a wig, there already exists a long history of practitioners and techniques one can call upon to get that information. Some places are teaching this such as Bolton, Falmouth & the University of Wolverhampton (https://www.instagram.com/digital_prosthetics/?hl=en).
 
Now if you want to take a head scan, clean it up and correct it, make cores so you can print out sections to be remoulded or sculpted on, there are ways it can be done but it is new enough that there isn't a standardised method easily accessed by everyone.
 
It's a new thing so there isn't an extensive range of ways to do it or a plethora of experienced practitioners willing to share what may be for them hard-won knowledge or a new process they may have pioneered themselves recently. 
 
VFX and practical were once very separate disciplines but the increased use of digital processes in the practical world (photography, scanning, machining, 3D printing and sculpting in ZBrush) are very much part of the VFX world and crossover is more common. A shared language will assist in departments blending their expertise rather than dividing them. 
 
The VFX may be less willing to share their processes compared with practical, but this may be in part because pipelines and workflows are so unique that one may not align with another even though they are both under the umbrella term of VFX. 
 
Larger commercial pipelines are often customised, so they will approach a process in a specific way that may not be the same way as another company doing the same kind of work. These make incredible efficiencies within that unit of work, and changing pipelines isn't always compatible. 
 
The lowering cost of scanners will mean increased availability of information and tutorials. They will become commonplace and so being able to work with them will become important. 
 
 We imagine that in no time ZBrush will be even more ingrained in the educational workflow of fx programs teaching both practical and digital fx.  It will be the standard, no longer any differentiation as two disciplines; it will all be part of fx training and execution.
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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.
Dec 18, 2021

Our conversation recently with Jake Garber at The Prosthetics Event in Coventry was, we think, a very important chat worth listening to for anyone who is trying, or thinking about trying to get a foot in the door into the (oftentimes) wonderful and exciting world of movie and television makeup.

Even for peeps already working in the industry, Jake’s extensive level of expertise and experience in a special and makeup effects career has seen him in many roles from straight beauty makeup and workshop lab work, as well as supervising workshops and sets, key makeup artist as well as being a personal artist to talent such as Samuel L. Jackson.

His TV credits include over 100 episodes of The Walking Dead, The Orville and Westworld. Movies include Avengers: Endgame, Hateful Eight, Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds, and Kill Bill 1&2. That broad range of experience was wonderfully displayed at the Prosthetics Event to a packed education room.

We asked him about his work and how he broke into the industry, and then focussed on the specific skills and areas of attention someone looking to get into the field should be aware of. It was a fantastic discussion, and Jake dropped gold nuggets everywhere with his revealing and incredibly useful talk.

It’s important to learn to create small in the beginning; a realistic nose has no fanfare, no pazzazz, but if you know, you know. It’s not about calling attention to the work, it’s being able to fool the viewer into believing it’s real by not calling attention to it.

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on the website.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Nov 24, 2021

Figurative sculptor Amelia Rowcroft lives in the lovely Sussex town of Lewes on the South East Coast of England, which dates back to 961AD.

She was kind enough to invite us into her studio in a building that once housed a brewery in the 1600s, and that’s where we recorded this episode of BWBoR.

Amelia has been sculpting practically, working in clay for over 20 years, creating primarily fine art portraits and figurative sculptures, though she has also worked within the film industry, and for the world’s leading wax figure museums including Madame Tussaud’s, and we talked about it all.

She studied at Central St Martins, and the Florence Academy in Florence, Italy, and interestingly enough, was also a student at Wimbledon School of Art where Stuart attended, though a few years behind him.

As fate would have it, another of our upcoming podcast guest artists, ZBrush Master Madeleine Scott Spencer, also studied at the Florence Academy and remembers Amelia, but we’ll save that for later.

We chatted for a good hour and a half and covered a variety of sculpture-related topics, such as why isn’t there a Museum of Crap Renaissance Sculpture so we can see the failures of the Masters – because there had to be some - and creating a likeness sculpture vs. creating a caricature of a subject. We also chatted about sculpting digitally vs. pushing actual clay around.

Amelia was kind enough – incredibly generous is more like it – to allow us to explore her online sculpture course, and it is jaw-dropping in content and ‘lightbulb’ moments.

We urge you to at least look at the sample video lessons on Amelia’s website www.sculptingmasterclass.com/collections. We suspect you’ll want to enrol to take advantage of the instruction offered by this incredible sculptor.

Whether you sculpt practically or digitally, this information is invaluable and transferable between mediums.

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Nov 20, 2021

Click Here For Blog Post Of This Episode

Paul Savage is a returning guest on the show. We caught up with him at the Prosthetics Event in Coventry. Merging medical knowledge with movie makeup, he aims to bring more realism to training scenarios.  Raising the bar in simulation can help to save actual lives.

It is quite often that makeup students will work with a local emergency service and offer up their skills to make up casualties for training first responders and combat medics.

As makeup artists, we often let the dramatic effect take the reins, however, it is easy to inadvertently misdirect a clinical field assessment with incorrectly applied makeup that has been applied for dramatic effect rather than clinical accuracy.

It is important to use primary references of genuine trauma rather than copying trauma makeup that isn't necessarily accurate. By copying even good makeup, we can also reproduce their errors unintentionally.

We talk about the merits of using the right material, the right amount of blood and setting the scene. Even though it is a simulation, seasoned first responders will take their cues from what they see rather than what they have been told. So it better look right!

Regarding the mastectomy makeup mentioned in the episode, it was for the ITV Drama 'The Walk' (2005). The makeup designer was Caroline Noble and made for Millennium FX. It was applied on location by Rob Trenton.

Click Here For Blog Post Of This Episode

 

Oct 18, 2021

This episode is in two parts. The first part is the generally good news of the increase in film industry activity which sees many people run off their feet with work. After a year of lockdowns and closed up shops, this is good news indeed.

Film and TV productions are picking up because of the build-up of work owing to shelved ideas, and owing to the massive amount of free time folks have had to consume box sets and start to want the next season.

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Incidentally, it was Gorezone #9 which had the awesome Evil Dead 2 stuff I mentioned.

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Breaking pieces down (unnecessarily)
 
We also discuss the breaking down of pieces when moving from the sculpting to the moulding stage. Covered at length in a piece we did a while back (link below), it was worth a good chat about why this may even be necessary.
  • Why do we break pieces down at all?
  • No two makeups break down the same.
  • Usually in thinnest area of sculpt.
  • http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/floating-pieces/
  • Extra work and time/materials/cost involved
  • Design and purpose of makeup decides what needs to be broken down and why.
  • Collapsible cores vs flaring out/overlapping pieces.
For amazing mould work (plus great craft generally), I highly recommend these two excellent artists:

Check out the podcast website https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com

 

Jul 20, 2021

We covered cutting edges in episode #61 but this one is specifically about cutting edges on flat moulds.

Cutting edges on appliance moulds do the work of separating the fine appliance edge from the flashing and excess, allowing the mould to close properly and achieve the feather thin edge you have sculpted.

The exact width of the distance between the cutting edge and the sculpted edge varies between artists and techniques, preferences and materials.

I have seen many sculpts where folk have had a massive distance between the cutting edge and the sculpt, and this is what prompted this episode.

The book I was reading which mentioned 'Stereo Type' with regards to printing was The Village Carpenter: The Classic Memoir of the Life of a Victorian Craftsman by Walter Rose, published originally in 1937. Check out the Stereotype process on the Wikipedia page.

See what books are freely available at Project Gutenberg https://www.gutenberg.org/.

Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Jun 21, 2021

In episode #74 we talk about running lots of foam latex and overcoming the things that can go wrong with foam latex. Despite silicone being the material most go to first, it is a very real material that needs to be kept in mind for certain projects.

We also chat about how 3D scanning and printing has had a tangible benefit on some jobs we had this year, and how using this technology has enabled things that would not have otherwise been possible.

Many thanks for listening!

-Stuart & Todd

Email the show on stuartandtodd@gmail.com

Leave us a voice message straight from our website.

 

Feb 20, 2021

Rod Maxwell is a bit of a Renaissance man, and the more we talked the more you can see how wearing many hats has informed his approach. Of late, Rod has become known for his fusion of digital techniques with practical outcomes.

Looking at his Instagram, you can see trailblazing work with 3D printed moulds, scanning lifecasts and moulds and using that data to create things impossible to do any other way. Overlaying lifecasts done years apart to animate the changes in features displaying the effects of aging? Yes please!

Rod created a short movie, The Wishing Well, in which he created and wore 26 makeups to play the various characters...all self applied. Check it out on Amazon Prime and see this behind the scenes video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYJmW3KYtTw

He was on Syfy's Face Off season 3, which he took as an opportunity to take full advantage of the opportunity to make something with an amazing facility at his disposal.

He created an app to help artists improve their colour theory skills, called Flesh Master. There is also a corresponding Skin Illustrator 'Rescue On Set' palette to then use those techniques to correct appliance colours to better match skin.

Taking it all in, it's a great insight into the work that goes into acquiring the skills and experience which make an accomplished person. We think you'll get a kick out of this one.

Check out Rods Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rodmaxwell/

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Feb 10, 2021

Adam has become well known for his miniature and smaller-scale work which has both great expression as well as high levels of detail, and even developed a material which allowed such tight detail for miniatures called Cx5.

The man has done a lot of things and has worked many jobs - let's be clear his feet are on the ground and he knows what hard work is. 

He also has cultivated a very positive and effective mindset which is infectious and inspiring to behold and makes you want to try harder as you see that he walks the walk himself.

There is a great body of work to be seen online, so check out his Instagram, (www.instagram.com/adambeanecreates) so you see what we are talking about. Adam also teaches so check out his website www.adambeane.com and his Patreon at www.patreon.com/AdamBeaneCreates. It's new at the time of writing, so go give the man a hand and check him out.

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Links

The study Adam mentions (by Aude Oliva, Antonio Torralba & Philippe. G. Schyns) with the hybrid images is worth checking out here:
https://studylib.net/doc/14424564/hybrid-images-aude-oliva-antonio-torralba-philippe.-g.-sc...

Adam mentions Sight-Size as a technique in drawing, which is an arrangement of the artist, subject and artwork that allows the artist to see their subject and artwork one-to-one. See more on this here: https://www.sightsize.com/

Also, Persistence Of Vision is mentioned:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_of_vision

Adam mentions Generative Adversarial Network, which I must confess I had not heard of before. Check it out here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_adversarial_network

Also seeing this example, an automatic realistic person generator:
https://www.thispersondoesnotexist.com/

We mentioned the awesome creature designer and artist Carlos Huante, and his stuff is well worth checking out:
http://www.carlos-huante-monstruo.com/

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Jan 8, 2021

Daniel was the first professional prosthetic professional to look at my portfolio. That stuff sticks with you.

That was back in 1994, and there was still a lot of Frankenstein stuff kicking about in the workshop from the previous year. I learned a lot being in that workshop, and got to see a makeup test on Ian McKellan for Richard III in my time there.

Daniel has recently been praised for his work as makeup and hair designer on The Queens Gambit (Netflix) and Chernobyl (HBO). He has an extensive range of credits spanning 37 years, including Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, Band Of Brothers, Frankenstein (Academy Award nominee) Empire Of The Sun, Cloud Atlas, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and Enemy Mine.

In this conversation, we talked about how often simple techniques and good paintwork can do so much and using appliances wisely. It is very easy for an artist to fall in love with the processes and things they have learned, and to decide to inflict themselves as extensively as possible on anything they do. Instead, the aim is to see the full picture and work with the raw material of the performer and make only the correct changes for the character.

Daniel also is a director at his temporary Tattoo company, TattooedNow! which he runs with Serbian artists Igor Strangliczky and Nikola Prijic.

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

 

Dec 28, 2020

In this second and final part of the chat with Dominic, we look at his art and discuss the drawing and sculptures.

As usual, this podcast episode is a tale of two stories. Todd and I talk about the difficult work involved in lifecasting the deceased, which can be much trickier than dealing with the living.

Then the chat with Dom, looking at his processes for creating artwork, using traditional and digital media and how they can work off each other. ZBrush has become such an integral part of many design processes and is a powerful tool with a terrifying interface which puts many people off.

It's a good chat, and it pleased us greatly that the feet-on-the-ground attitude Dom has, despite being such an accomplished designer, was an inspiration. It's the kind of thing you need to hear if you are intimidated by good work.

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This past month has seen us produce some new videos for the channel. It's been a while since we have made some video tutorials, and so we present a couple on using cap plastic - one comparing the methods of application using an airbrush and a conventional brush: https://youtu.be/A71eYQF-Ot4

Todd also made a cool video showing some alternative methods of applying cap plastic as a spray if you are not in possession of an airbrush: https://youtu.be/YSKcDClVZ8s

Finally, a video of a mould Stuart did with makeup effects artist Helen McKenna. Helen had sculpted a neat cyclops bust on a Don Lanning workshop and had kept it under plastic for almost a year.

She wanted to mould it but wasn't sure how to go about it. We decided the best way to help would be to mould it in the workshop and video the process: https://youtu.be/KatTvV8dOrU

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

 

Dec 13, 2020

In this episode (and the next), we have a chat with artist Dominic Hailstone.  He works extensively with visual effects and has a background in makeup effects and practical effects which inform his approach.

Being an early adopter of visual effects and using computers places him in a unique position of seeing both sides and is well versed in the processes and business in film making. As you will hear, his intimate understanding of film making as a storyteller and a designer gives him a good insight into the business.

Necro Deathmort Album Cover Art

Check out Dominic's website https://www.dominichailstone.com/ where you can see his work as a director in The Eel, artist, sculptor and visual effects reels. The variety and range of mediums and styles is fantastic, and you really have to see this stuff to appreciate what he is capable of.  We think you'll get a kick out of it.

Dom is also on YouTube and Instagram @dominic_hailstone_

In this first part, the areas we cover include:

  • Management meddling with effects and design choices.
  • Being responsible for more than just effects, creating your own work.
  • The struggle between old school & new tech.
  • What is special now, and the insubstantial nature of the internet

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Nov 29, 2020

This episode is a catch up on some emails and questions we had over the last couple of weeks. We have some great questions this time around, so many thanks for getting in touch!

We talk about epoxy surfaced moulds, crinkly edges, and dodgy makeup course practices.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Silicone Art - Silicone As An Art Material
By Tom McLaughlin V1.3

Fundamentals of Facial Prosthetics
By Robert E McKinstry

Products mentioned:

MAC Matte Cream or 'Crème Matifiante'

A quick shout out to Thomas Tuohey for making this awesome mixer head available on Thingiverse:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4648372

This fantastic materials calculator:
https://www.fxcalc.monster/

Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Nov 15, 2020

Brian Kinney is a primetime Emmy-nominated makeup artist and a Journeyman in IATSE Hollywood Local 706 Make-up Artists and Hairstylists Guild, where he serves as Makeup Craft President and Executive Board Member.

His work can be seen in feature films and television shows, such as Fear The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Purge: Anarchy and CSI. Check out his extensive IMDb page to see the hefty list of credits.

Brian came to my workshop just after Christmas 2019 and we had a great afternoon catching up and recording a chat. It seems funny to remember when you could just be in a room with other people normally and not wear masks...

Anyhoo, we started our chat with the time Brian visited the workshops of Stuart Freeborn (original Star Wars trilogy, 2001, The Bridge Over The River Kwai) which is eye-watering nostalgic.

Brian has a fantastic manner, combining the makeup artists skills with exquisite etiquette (plus a great voice for radio as you'll hear!).

We chat about being responsible for things on set, how bosses may allocate tasks to their freelancers, case-hardening skills learned in makeup school in the real world and being available to help others.

Check his website out here. He is on Instagram @bekinney.

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Nov 10, 2020

Lars is a generous self-taught artist from Sweden. He works in film, TV and theatre productions often using new technology to scan and print items for practical effects.

We wanted to chat theatre stuff, as that is not something we have spoken much about on the podcast. It's an area which may well be more available for people starting out, as many sizes of theatre and regional playhouses have small scale productions offering great opportunities for creative people starting out.

In this episode, we talk scanning, printing and sculpting in virtual reality, trouble with new LED lighting in theatres, making mistakes and having the courage to say YES to things in order to figure out how to do them. We also chat about the famous airbrush splatter nozzles which Lars came up with and freely shares on his website.

Check out Lars' website, shop and in particular, the tutorials which cover so many important areas in makeup effects, from sculpting, moulding, painting and of course, hair punching. Of particular note is the excellent silicone calculator on there too! Lars is on Instagram @makeupfx.

We mention the Effects Lab, which was a big deal in the early days of the internet before everything became a massive echo chamber. It is currently being overhauled and upgraded, but much of it is accessible here. Well worth checking out if you haven't already.

Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Oct 29, 2020

https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/

It’s Halloween. A Saturday! A full moon! Also not happening because of Covid. Boo.

It’s a damn shame, but I imagine around the world, a lot more horror movies will be watched. I can only hope such mass consumption will drive production to make more stuff as we burn through the back catalogue of shows with a worldwide captive audience.

Cutting Edges

On appliances, a cutting edge is often employed to mark the boundary of where appliance stops and real skin should begin. With foam and gelatine, the end of the piece was the end of the piece. With silicone appliances, we usually have a cap plastic barrier which extends beyond the silicone edge to provide that nice, melt-to-nothing transition.

However, on a lot of flat moulds, we have seen varying takes on how far away a cutting edge should be from the sculpt. We chat about that!

Cap Plastic On The Back Of A Piece

We also chat about cap plastic on the back of pieces. Usually necessary when a mould and a core is involved, but there are some reasons why it is desirable to not have cap plastic on the back of a piece.

For one, often when removing the appliance, the cap plastic will stick better to the skin because of the glue than it does to the back of the appliance. This ‘delamination’ means it takes longer to clean up and can be a pain.

Why cap plastic the back at all? Usually two reasons.

One reason is deadened/softened silicone is very sticky, so the barrier makes it possible to handle the piece during demoulding. The other is to allow ‘cheaper’ water-based adhesives (as opposed to the more expensive silicone adhesives) to bond better to the piece.

Let’s not forget that silicone is a material much used for moulds precisely because not much sticks to it. Including most glues and makeup.

By having a barrier on the surface which is not actually silicone at all, but cap plastic, suddenly a whole world of things can be used on the makeup and blendable edges are possible. The sheer joy!

So, when running flat pieces, now I don’t bother with cap plastic on the back. I did it, like many do, out of habit and seeing it down without really asking myself why it was necessary. By spraying more cap plastic on the back, we essentially double the edge thickness and it’s an extra step in the job.

We talk through some notions of why it can be a problem, and how one might get around it.

Podcast recommendation

Check out a great podcast I just discovered via Kiana ‘Freakmo’ Jones called Red Carpet Rookies. In particular, episode #5 with Bill Corso talking about digital makeup. It’s a great show done by someone who cares about the subject, and I’d add it to your podcast subscriptions if you dig film chat.

So, getting the horror on with audio books to keep us spooked during the workshop hours…Salem’s Lot and the The Exorcist was a double bill which put me in the right mood for some Halloween Horror Movies this weekend.

Sculpting a vampire face whilst listening to William Peter Blatty read Regan’s tirades at Father Karras felt like a peak moment of Halloween fun.
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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/

 

 

Aug 27, 2020

Danny has done some interesting things with prosthetics, leading with fashion and high concept looks and bringing appliance work into the mix.

Most demonstrations at trade shows involving appliances are showing just the tail end of a much longer hidden process which perhaps isn't at all evident in the final piece. It's nice to hear about what happens in the lead up to such a thing.

As with many artists sealed tight with Non-Disclosure Agreements on professional projects, trade shows offer a real opportunity to try something new and experiment with ideas and processes without the risk of shooting days or high-stakes schedules.

We chat with Danny about her influences, approach and work ethic and get into some pretty useful stuff. For example, Danny keeps records of makeup applications and lists what was used, including techniques, materials and products as well as notes on what well and what didn't.

The result after a number of years is a great resource which will supply a record of a journey, as well as a very practical guide to your own best practice for similar jobs in the future.

It takes a deal of humility to acknowledge what didn't work and address those shortcomings. It is also good practice to acknowledge what did work and take note of what went well.

It is easy to become automatically self-critical as a default position, but the ability to have genuine regard for your own work, objectively seeing good and bad and using them both as a guide to improvement is a useful tool.

It was a great chat and we got fired up as you'll hear.

Links to things mentioned in this episode

The Dip by Seth Godin:

(summary: Every new project (or career or relationship) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun until it hits a low point - really hard, really not fun. At this point, you might be in a Dip, which will get better if you keep pushing, or a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better no matter how hard you try. The hard part is knowing the difference and acting on it.)

Science Kits for kids: https://www.robocube.co.uk/collections/stem-kits

We mention a popular chain of hardware stores in the UK called B&Q, the name is an acronym of the original owners' names, Block and Quayle.

In the US, Home Depot would be an equivalent. If you have been on the hunt for unusual uses for conventional materials, then you may be familiar with the odd looks when responding to enquiries.

Check out Dannys' work on her website and instagram.


Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd


 

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