Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Silicone Meincke Mask

First off, I'd like to show you some pictures, but I have a self imposed blackout when it comes to showing any images of the character until the movie has been shot - so you'll just have to imagine it.

I posted some images of the mold making a while back, check here, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out, a few little air bubbles (I've now learned  how to avoid most of them I think) and I was ready to go. I just needed some silicone.

This is the part I don't like. I've no clear understanding and I've never read this anywhere reliable - how you figure out how much silicone is supposed to be just enough. I saw a ratio somewhere once, but it didn't work. Luckily I made too much and it was almost just enough.

Another thing is that silicone isn't cheap - so if you screw up, it ain't cheap. I screwed was expensive.

So the first thing, once I got the silicone in, was to prep the mold. I got some funky stretchy material to reinforce the silicone and laid it in around the openings. It's a little tricky since the material is nylon, it doesn't saturate well and does stick too well, you have embed it into the silicone on the positive mold. Takes some time to perfect, at least I hope that's the case.

Then I locked the mold shell together over the positive mold. I also had to make some air holes since I forgot when I was making the mold. Mixed up the silicone and began pouring, the type I use is made by Smooth-On and called EcoFlex 30. Shortly into pouring I realized the pour hole wasn't large enough and I wasn't going to get enough into the mold before the 45 minute pot life was up (for anyone unfamiliar with the term "pot life", it just means how long the silicone remains workable before it begins to cure).

I finished as much as I could, wasted a good chunk of silicone and ended up with a weird monster turtleneck looking thing. It was encouraging to see it would've worked really well otherwise though.

I redrilled the pour hole - worked much better. I thought I was done but found an area on the top backside of the skull had some air trapped in it. Luckily I was able to remove the mold from that area, drill a new hole, close the mold and keep going. Worked pretty well.

In the end it came out pretty damned good. The eye hole felt a little off on the mask, it was fixable with some trimming though and I'll know better for next time. It's pretty heavy and silicone doesn't breath so it gets pretty sweaty quick.

It worked though, worked really well for a first time experiment. I'm hoping once Breath of the Dead is shot to get these bad boys on line for sale. Normally you see them online selling for around $500 up to $1000, and now I understand totally why. I'm probably going to sell this a little on the cheaper side. We'll see.

Friday, July 23, 2010

They're coming to get you, Barbara!

Just did a very quick sculpt for a zombie prosthetic for Home Sweet Hell, first time I've done a normal, typical zombie prosthetic. Pretty happy with it.

I'm doing a lifecast of another actor for the same project in about 20 minutes. So far, for a last minute project, Home Sweet Hell is coming along remarkably well. Given how many problems my other projects have had, it's a welcome change.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Finger Food

I had asked the other folks involved in my latest project not to talk about it and I've been blathering on about it here and there - but I know what I want to let other's know about and what I want to keep quiet, so it's easy to just tell them not to talk about it.

So the official word is this: I'm doing a new project, a brand new, not mentioned before until the last post, project. As I mentioned last post, it's called Home Sweet Hell, it's a last minute sort of time filler project that's actually going to be really good considering it wasn't something planned and thought out months in advance.

There's a good amount of special effects and makeup work, all reasonably doable for a 1 day shoot. the cast is already assembled and ready to go, we're doing costume shopping over the next week or so. The script is two/thirds done and coming along way better then I'd hoped.

It was designed for a quick turn around, no CG, live sound, one location - very simple. There's a lot to be done before August 7th, but I'm pretty confident it'll all work out. And in the meantime I've even managed to get Grayson & Gortch back up and running.

So I'll leave you with this:
Yes, I'm giving you the finger.

With all the supplies I've had left over from the previous two project I'm able to throw together some decent little props as well. This silicone finger is one of three. Not perfect, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lost in LaMancha all over again

Breath of the Dead is hitting wall after wall. Nothing that anyone is at fault for, just bad timing and bad circumstances. The latest of which is the lead actress breaking her leg - we're down for at least 8 weeks now. More production time means a better project hopefully.

Grayson & Gortch will hopefully resume soon, I just need to familiarize myself with it - part of my agenda for the day.

So, through a series of poorly timed events, I was left with a weekend available for filming with some actors, but nothing to film.  I feel like this summer so far has just been a wash out as far as accomplishing anything and I was getting a little tired of it - I don't say that to offend anyone who feels they might be responsible for causing any delays, these kinds of things just happen.

It goes without saying I think, that I want to shoot something - not literally, I mean film something. The problem being I've got nothing lined up, no script, no ideas - nothing. I knew the parameters this mystery project had, as well as a couple other birds I could kill with the same stone, so to speak, and that's what I had to work with.

I got together with my girlfriend (and production assistant, producer, etc.) and we brainstormed an idea. Took about an hour I think, but we ended up with a really great little idea for a new project. I don't want to reveal what it is, but it will be shot the weekend of August 7th and probably will be online within that week if all works as it seems like it should.

All I will say, is that it's called Home Sweet Hell and I think it'll be pretty awesome.

And now I've got a script to write.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shell Shock Mold Aftermath

It took nearly 16 hours - that's with waiting time and whatnot, not full work - and the mold is finally done.

I managed to pry the back off first. It came out pretty clean too.

The front half was a different matter.

Mu biggest concern was that the mold would be riddled with little air bubbles like the mold for the glove was, and there are some, nothing to be concerned about however. I can probably even patch most of them up once it's all cleaned out.

So now all that's left is to get the silicone - and put in the pour holes, which I forgot to do when I made the mold - and if all goes well, I'll have my first silicone mask and if it holds up, it'll eventually be available for sale online.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Shell Shock Mold

No pictures this time around because I'm keeping this under wraps until we shoot, but I will say this:

No  matter how much research you do, there's always that point in a project that involves something you've never done before, that you just have to do it, get it over with and hope for the best. You either did it right or you did it wrong, you can wait and wait but that won't change, it's either right or wrong.

I sort of hate this Shell Shock material. It's awesome when it works, a little tricky to work with - and that's what makes it hateful. It cures so fast, there's 2 versions, fast (3 mins) and slow (8 mins) and as soon as it's mixed it starts to thicken to a warm peanut butter consistency. It's thick and stringy and you just hope to hell to managed to get enough on your sculpt to make it worth the effort.

It's a mold making material, by the way. A great one, as I said before, when it works. There's no shrinkage or distortions like can happen with other mold materials after they've sat on a shelf for awhile. Once it's cured it's a hard urethane and pretty much nothing sticks to it that you'd be casting into it - at least not that I've encountered so far.

I'm using it to make a mold for a silicone mask. I've used it to make a glove with 90% perfect results. This is for something much bigger and much more costly should it all go pear shaped.

The first coat is curing now, I've got to put another one on in a few minutes and then a backing support material. I'm dreading the end of the day when it's all done and I have to pry this thing apart - I can already see all those shitty little air bubbles in there ruining it. However, since it's a hard shell mold, there's the possibility of reconstructing part in a hard clay should there be any air bubbles - so all isn't entirely lost or wasted.

I guess we'll see in about 6-7 hours when it's all done.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Painted Silicone Deformed Voodoo Zombie Hand Glove

So there it is. I'll be the first to admit it far from perfect, but the whole point of this was that the silicone glove was meant to test the way towards doing the fill head mask. Every time I look at this thing I wish I'd had the material at the time to do a full forearm glove - but I didn't, so it's not, so whatever.

This is the final painted version, by the way. This is way first time attempting to paint with silicone paints, it's not great, but it'll more then work well enough for the movie. Painting with silicone is a weird experience in a way, it's much different from conventional paints - at least at this point in my experience it is.

I won't go on too much about it, since I'm very much an amateur at this sort of thing, so anything I say, or write, would just be speculation based on 20 minute work rather then years of experience.

Anyway, I'm happy with it. The FX for this movie are coming along slowly...very slowly. Mainly due to financial constraints. I don't mind the slower pace though, it gives me more time to suss out what I'm doing and if I'm in fact doing it right.

Because of this pace, I saved myself from a very costly, in both time and money, mistake. I've worked with silicone mainly as a molding material - not as a casting material. The basic difference being you can use it to make a mold or you can use it to create the object in the mold. Now I've read a lot of material about using silicone but never at the time did I need this information for an FX piece, so I wasn't never able to put this information into practice in a sense where I'd remember it.

In doing the silicone mask that will accompany this glove, I debated about the mold material - mainly because of cost. I was going to do it with the same material I used on the glove, Shell Shock, but I wasn't thrilled with the way it turned out. I later realized because I did it wrong, makes sense now. I decided on silicone, because I'm more familiar with it, but neglected at the time to remember some very important.

There's 2 types of silicone, platinum cure and tin cure. And to be very basic about it, platinum will cure in the presence of already cured platinum and tin in the presence of cured tin - but you can't mix the two. It's a bit like "crossing the streams", to quote Egon Spengler. Although there's no potential for death, it's just a massive messy waste of time and money. In my case, my mold was tin cure, my casting silicone was platinum cure - or would have been had I not realized it and turned out with a crappy pile of uncured silicone in my mold which is a massive pain in the ass to clean up.

I've heard some folks say there's no problem if it coated properly and blah, blah, blah, but I'm not interested in experimenting with such expensive materials at the moment.

So that's it for my silicone ranting. Now, can you guess what movie I was watching when I painted the glove?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Crazy Old Voodoo Lady

I finally got around to sculpting the prosthetic for a "crazy old voodoo lady" from Breath of the Dead. It's not perfect, it's my first time attempting realistic looking old age makeup - I've seen way worse in way bigger budget movies.

In other news, I've got a couple new projects in development and made some changes to some current projects. I'm hoping to apply for a grant for The Brotherhood movie to be shot next summer, it'll allow me to make it look a little better then I'd planned.

As well, I've started a new project that's not a movie, but still heavily relies on the prosthetics and masks - actually without them there is no project. It'll done over the course of the next year to be finished by June 30th of 2011. It's going to be a book of demons, at least 100 of them, more if I can swing it.

The idea is a book of photos of demons in their everyday lives, most of the photos will look candid as we see regular old blue collar demons at work, or a couple old demons drinking at at bar and each will have it's own little story. It'll be done as though the photographer himself is a demon, a demon named Karl Wendham, and these are all the demons he knows.

So this is the first I'll be saying that the Karl movie won't be happening. It was supposed to be a mockumentary about Karl, but I just couldn't get a good idea I was happy with. So instead that project has been split into two projects. One being the book and the second I'm not ready to announce, it'll probably be ready in December, maybe earlier though.

I think that's about it for now. I've been slowly working away on getting things ready for Breath of the Dead and I'll probably start up on Grayson and Gortch again pretty soon if I can as well.