Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Creature Mask

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to exercise that part
of my brain where I really get to run wild with a creature design. With
scripted notes and a meeting with the director, I quickly came up with a
few concept drawings.
Once we felt we had a basic idea in mind, I rendered a 3D
model in this amazing iPad app called 123D. It's free, and while it
doesn't do everything it is a great way to further visualize a design before I
started sculpting.
The actor playing the creature is 6 foot 10, so a life cast
was definitely necessary. The cast was done with smooth-on body double and plaster bandages. It was then cast, first with a urethane shell,
using smooth-on's fast-set shell shock, then filled with a rigid foam.
Any imperfections in the cast were chiseled down and sanded.
Or filled in with Magic Smooth (a two-part epoxy that can be smoothed with
water, then sanded when dry), and plumbers epoxy. Because I only had about
two weeks to complete the sculpture, I ended up sculpting the mask in a soft oil based
clay. It took about four days to complete the sculpture. I used some Saran Wrap
against the clay with a needle tool over the wrap for most of the wrinkle
texture. To get the numbers etched into the left side of the mask I made a
stencil. Using a small loop tool, clay was sculpted away, keeping the size and
font consistent.
For the mold, the dividing wall was built with WED clay.
Then a few layers of shell shock and a thick layer of Plasti Paste were
used for the mold. After the mold was cleaned out, an injection hole and vent holes
were drilled in the back of the head. The mold was put back together around the life
cast, and strapped shut.
I made some color samples for the director to approve. Ultimately we
went with pale skin with just a touch of silver flocking to give the skin an eerie pallor.
Small batches of Ecoflex silicone with fuse fx pigment and flocking
were mixed up and injected into the mold. After the silicone cured and was
demolded there was a fair amount of seaming to do. Using platgel 10 silicone
and some Saran Wrap I was able to make most of the seams disappear.
Fuse fx colors and alcohol activated makeups were used to paint
the mask. I kept a very precise log of every layer of paint since my
friend Joe Amella made the suit that our creature will be wearing. He will be
able to follow the painting scheme exactly.
Our actor was very pleased to have such a comfortable mask to wear. For me, it was great to finally see it on during the fitting.

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