Sunday, March 11, 2012

the painted mask

Painting the Mask

Once I got the mask from Joe it was time to paint. In order for paint to stay on the foam latex, you need to mix acrylic paint with prosaide adhesive. This is called PAX paint. Once the paint dries it will be a little tacky, but a little powder takes care of this. I used red PAX paint to cover the mask and the ears. The rigid foam for the horns was painted with straight acrylic paint in the same color. More PAX was mixed up in different colors for the mouth. I was in charge of only doing base colors for the paint job. On the shoot day, another makeup artist was in charge of applying the prosthetic and adding additional color with an airbrush. Not only was the mask applied, but contact lenses were worn and the actors teeth were blacked out to heighten the illusion.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Cast

Molding and Casting the Mask

After I had made an ultra cal 30 mold of the mask, it was time for my good friend and very talented fx artist, Joe Amella, to take over and run the foam latex. He has a shop with an oven he uses only for special effects and foam latex. I had asked him to tint the foam red as to make the pant job go a little quicker. While Joe tackled the mask I kept busy making the molds and casts of the horns and ears. The horn mold was done as a two part silicone brush up mold using Smooth-on Rebound 25. The mother mold was made from Smooth-on Plasti Paste. A resin base with fiber glass fibers already mixed in. It's a great product with a short cure time of 3 hours. The ears were molded with the same materials. After the molds were set, they were cleaned with a bit of 99% alcohol. I decided to run the horns in Smooth-on rigid foam ten. It is a two part expanding foam that is hard and lightweight when cured. For the ears I tried my hand at cold foam. Kryolan makes a cold foam, similar to hot foam, that doesn't need to be baked in an oven. Really good ventilation and a carbon filter mask should be worn when using the product. The cold foam is not as soft and light as hot foam, but a perfect material for the ears. Just after the second run I had a nice pair.

Monday, March 5, 2012

horns and ears

mask sculpture

The sculpture

Just a few weeks ago I was asked to fabricate a prosthetic mask for a live action promo for the animated show Ugly Americans on Comedy Central. I was incredibly excited about sculpting a mask that was based on a cartoon, since most of my work seems to mimick real life. Of course, the call came while I was in the middle of a few other projects, so I knew, if I were to fabricate the mask, I would have to be able to do the whole thing in just a few days. The time line determined much of the materials and process I was going to take. First, it was decided that this would be a single piece (front of the face) prosthetic. For me that meant one sculpt and one mold for the face. The ears and horns would be sculpted and molded separately, the horns fitting into the mask once it was applied (and glued in place with prosaide adhesive). Again, needing to move the process along quickly I opted to sculpt the mask in WED clay. A water based clay that dries out less quickly and has minimal shrinkage. With water based clay i was able shape and smooth the clay much faster then an oil based clay. Knowing that ultimately the mask would be cast in foam latex, a quick ultracal 30 mold could be made over the sculpture. Here are the pictures of the sculpture. Also, I should mention that a life cast of the actor was taken. The life cast was done with smooth-on body double platinum silicone rubber and cast in ultracal 30 plaster.