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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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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.
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