Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Thing in a Jar", the Complete Collection

With the completion of the 5th and final "thing", an Albino Bilifore Parasite, I'm offering up the "Thing in a Jar" props as a whole collection.

Here's the ugly little sucker before being sealed up in his jar. It's made from 2 layers of silicone, with small beads of Premo embedded between them for eyes. A layer of laxet that's been torn and distressed  finishes it off. The silicone is untinted for a semi-translucent look, the image below was taking during sunrise and gives it a sort of delicate deep fried look, it doesn't normally look like that.

Here he is all snug in his jar of simulated Giant Mountain Troll bile to keep him fresh.

Using silicone to make this and adding on 6 thin tendrils really gives it a creepy realistic look. A lot of other "things" like this I've seen online are usually hard, made of sculpy or latex, tend to be stiff, this method gives a very realistic movement when the jar is moved - wasn't sure if it'd work, but I'm pretty happy with the results. Here's a very quick video showing that off.

And finally, here they all are together. The smaller jars are $20 each, the two larger jars are $25. Normally in total they'd be $110, but I'm offering the whole collection up for only $95. One of the reasons, is because sometimes accidents happen in shipping no matter how well they're packed and the most used method with Canadapost offers $100 coverage - so there's some security in shipping at least. And I would, of course, recommend the faster methods - less handling means less likelihood of damage.

I might at some point create a "Collector's Edition" of this, probably only one or two will be available, but each will come in an antiqued wooden case in which they can be displayed. No idea when this will happen though.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

BZK! Moonshine of the Damned $10 Funding Campaign

I'll admit, I do get tired myself sometimes at seeing the endless stream of crowd funding campaigns for amateur web series and literally dozens of other things that may or may not be legitimate. And it's hard to run one, the hardest part are the rewards for donations. I ran one, it did okay, not great. After the site and Paypal took their bits, we hadn't raised as much as I'd hoped.

So I'm doing another one, much simpler - each donation is only $10 and you get, as quickly as I can make them, one of these:
Plus a "thanks" in the final credits and once it's all said and done, every person who donated will go into a draw for one of the larger props from the series, probably worth well over $100.

So, for $10 you'll get one (of only 200 being made) custom made, hand painted partially munched on brain key chains - as well as a "thanks" in the final credit of the web series. Payments (in Canada) can be made by Email Interact ($10+shipping), local orders (on PEI) can be made in cash and pickup or delivery can be arranged.

If you don't live on PEI and are concerned about the shipping costs, than feel free to share this with a few friends, not only will you be helping out the campaign but you'll be saving money on shipping costs if you split it.

Also, they're made from a hard resin and finished with a gloss coating.

Note: While this is open to anyone, anywhere that sees this, the main idea is for local sales in order to cut down on extra expenses. So, in other words, PayPal orders add an additional $0.50 to cover their fees and shipping is additional as well - for this reason, bulk orders by mail are preferred.

To order your partially eaten Brain Key Chain, (or if you have any questions) you can email in your order here: brains@themonkeyrodeo.com.

10 Things I Hate About Movies - Part 7.

7. Spoilers

Not something I ever used to care about and it doesn’t always pertain to movies. It is an annoyance and more directed at the film goers than the industry – at least it used to be.

It’s one thing when a fat asshole blurts out the ending to a movie you were going to see in about 30 minutes time and thinks it’s funny that they ruined it for you, but it’s another thing entirely when the industry does it too.

Magazine articles, Facebook groups, commercials, even trailers on DVDs, all contain some amount of spoilers. Why? It’s like they assume you sit glued to your TV, or the big screen , the very moment the entire rest of the world is watching it as well so it’s fine to blab out key movies less than an hour after the movie or TV is over.

It’s not alright. You’re being a fucking dick. A huge, ignorant, loud-mouthed dick. No one thinks you’re cool, there’s not a gaggle of hot girls waiting around the corner to have group supermodel sex with you because you loudly blurted out the butler did it. In fact, they might knee you in the groin like you deserve and chances are that’s about as close to any “action” as you’ll ever get or deserve anyway.

There were spoilers in the “Spiderman 2” commercials that aired a week or so after it was released. Industry entertainment magazine and reviews pretty much recap the movie for you so why the hell bother seeing it? A trailer at the beginning of the 5th season of Dexter, pointed out how the season ended – that’s awesome, no need to watch it now, thanks. Oh, and on the flipside, if you wanted to blame the commercials for ruining the “surprise” of the “The 6th Sense”, you must stay away from me. Forever.

I’ve removed myself from most of the Facebook groups that are for some of the few shows I watch because as soon as the episode has aired they’re making posts about it. Are we that hard up for gossip that now even movies and TV shows are close enough fodder? Dexter (Season 3 or 4) and Burn Notice (Season 6) – your Facebook pages are run by assholes.

Luckily, since I stay away from reviews (I’m not a fan movie critics for the most part anyway, since it’s become a form of entertainment in itself now instead of an actual relevant critique or review), I don’t have cable so I don’t see commercials every 15 minutes. My friends are all smart enough and I think most of them feel the same way about spoilers (although I can point out a couple I’d like to give a smack to) so they don’t say anything. I’m still surprised I managed to watch the last Harry Potter movie with no idea what was going to happen – that was nice for a change.

This isn’t something I blame the studios for, at least not entirely. When it comes to commercials and trailers they do take a bit of the blame, it’s the rest of the media and public that take the blame for this one.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Demon photo shoots for 2013 and possibly beyond

With a few changes to how I do things in regards to prosthetic makeup, I'm moving into doing some much larger pieces. I'm constructing a much larger foam latex oven this year (hopefully soon) and the photo shoots will involve much more elaborate makeup this time around. Like full head pieces, arm and hand pieces, and other pieces to really demonize people a little bit more.

The previous book contained stuff that was really intended for resale, most of the stuff in the new round of shoots won't be because it's being custom made for each model - although there will be a few of the simpler shoots thrown in there.

I've picked out a small group of both men and women who I will be doing lifecasts of (mostly just their heads, but all depends on what the shoot needs). Because the makeup will be more drastic in obscuring their natural features I don't mind reusing the same people for the more elaborate shoots - plus it'd just be too expensive to do head casts for every single person - plus I don't have the space to store all that stuff.

So what do I have planned? All sorts of stuff, this time around I want to do some more iconic type characters (iconic in my estimation at least). One I have planned is a demon version of Kratos from the God of War videogames - that should be pretty awesome, Kratos is already kind of demonic. I'll be using John MacDonald for that one - if you familiar with my previous shoots and don't know who John is, he'll actually make the original Kratos look scrawny in comparison.

Lara Croft and even Nathan Drake are being planned as well - in separate shoots. Both are pretty easy and I chose them because if you're into videogames they're both fairly recognizable because they keep a consistent costume style and look. I'm sticking with the more realistic human characters, so no, I will not be doing a demon PacMan or Mario, it just seems a little too retarded for me.

I'm thinking a demon Indiana Jones would be cool. I have a friend who's a huge Indy fan so I'm looking to get him to do it, just need to find a really good location for that shoot.

I was toying with fairy tale characters as well, the first I came up with was Little Red Riding Hood as a werewolf - that one seems pretty obvious and logical, if I think of others that work a well as that I might do a few more of these. Could be cool, but offhand I can't think of too many iconic type fairy tale characters who would be recognizable as a demon or without a explanation. I'd like the images to speak for themselves and have, at least, a good portion of the viewers able to recognize the character.

These are all going to require some crafting of props and costumes, I was thinking I'd just buy a couple of the cheap foam Sword of Chaos props for the Kratos shoot, but last night I was thinking they might look a little small in John's hands - until I see them in context I'm toying with making my own.

One of the more intricate, and possibly annoying, shoots will be the Steampunk Demons, it'll feature (all fictional characters) Dr. Mordgog and his two assistants as they travel through time. That'll be a 3 person shoot and could be awesome if I really take the time with the props and costumes. The thing with Steampunk is, if it isn't don't right it looks stupid. You can't just throw on a victorian-esque suit and some goggle and declare you're into Steampunk, you need some crazy assed looking shit to go with it. This is going to be a big one and really hard to do right, luckily I've been planning it for awhile.

Otherwise I'd like to do a demon Samurai (could be awesome or terrible depending on the costuming ideas), might go with a more "Samurai Jack" approach to this one, don't know for sure just yet.

I think a Geisha Demon (continuing with that theme) could be pretty awesome, need a good setting though for this shoot. We don't really have the best gardens that I feel I'd need to pull this one off well.

A Victorian Age Demon, a female one with the huge crazy dress, I think that could look pretty cool.

And one I've been debating about for some time and really need to work on the design is Hellgirl. I made a remake about another shoot I had done where I painted up the model in all red, that she kinda reminded me of Hellboy's little sister - if he had one. Then I thought, why not? I've seen a lot of female cosplayers doing their version of a female Hellboy, but I don't want to do that, it's too easy.

I want to do a fully realized character that would fit into that world, more del Toro's than Mignola's maybe, that could very well be the sister of the Right Hand of Doom. In this case she would be known as the Left Hand of Destruction (tentative name). She wouldn't be an identical twist on Hellboy, other than having horns (of a different configuration) and being red - I kinda think you need those things in order for it to resemble the original. That could be cool.

I'm sure there will be more, I have a few others I'm playing around with to see if I can form them into a decent concept. I'm not putting the same timeline for completion on this project as I was the first, this one is going to take a lot long, maybe 2, possibly 3 years even. Who knows at this point.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

10 Things I Hate About Movies - Part 6.

6. Over hyped Movies

This annoys me a lot. It’s pretty simple and luckily this is very avoidable and I’ve been actively avoiding certain hype for certain movies in order to actually enjoy them.

A good example of an over hyped movie that lead me to believe I might have multiple orgasms just watching it, “That Dark Knight”. What a massively overrated muddy movie. Sure Ledger was pretty cool as the Joker, but the plot was so back and forth, back and forth with about as much depth as a Tom and Jerry cartoon. The Joker has a plan, but Batman knows about it, but the Joker knows Batman knows, but the Batman…blah, blah, blah. It was like the same scene over and over again for far too long, leaving threads from the beginning dangling too long so when they wrapped them up near the end you just sat wondering “what the hell was that for?”.

It wasn’t a bad movie, just overrated. “Batman Begins” was a much better movie and I actually don’t even give a piss about “The Dark Knight Rises”. The trailers looked overwhelmingly dull and aside from Anne Hathaway there was nothing to really be interested in seeing.

I don’t go to the cinema, because it’s filled with mostly noisy ignorant assholes here and I’m not paying any kind of money to just be annoyed, I’d rather wait until DVD, so I don’t worry too much about over hyped movies. And avoiding commercials is easy when I don’t have cable.

Over hyping almost ruined the new “Star Trek” movie for me, not from a commercial standpoint but from people I know ranting on incessantly about it. Like I would literally cease to be if I did not see this movie to the point where I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t go see it in the cinema, which I had intended to and just waited for DVD. And I’m glad I did, I really did enjoy it. This is a rare case though and is only because I waited I think and really already had a strong opinion of my own about it.

On the flipside, so many movies out there recently have been shat on by critics and filmgoers, luckily I don’t care much for critics and the opinions of others means very little to me when it comes to what movies I like and don’t like.

For example, movies that have been shat on that I really enjoyed (not saying they’re awesome or brilliant, but I don’t get the shitting on they got) the remake of “Fright Night” – I LOVED the original movie, I hated the notion of the remake. But I heard the cast (and not even really being a Colin Farrell fan, although I do appreciate him more now) and who was writing it, I thought it might be alright. It was far from alright, it was pretty damned awesome. My concerns about who in the world could ever replace Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent were alleviated when I heard it was going to be David Tennant. His Peter Vincent was a complete opposite character and just as memorable.

The new “Conan the Barbarian”, “Dylan Dog”, the prequel of “The Thing”, all pretty fun, enjoyable movies. All got a steaming pile of hate from most everyone – I don’t get it. I liked them just fine. Actually, I really liked "Dylan Dog" and maybe it's because I never read the comic or graphic novel or what the hell spawned it, but I never cared for Brandon Routh and still enjoyed this movie for what it was worth.

And a really good example of what I’ll call “under hype” was for “Ghosts of Mars”, so much I actually wrote a Facebook post about it upon finally seeing it. I was expecting to hate myself for watching it, expecting to have an uncontrollable urge to seek out and beat the crap out of John Carpenter for making it. No, it was alright. Maybe it’s because I so expected it to be crap I was able to see it for what it really was? I wasn’t hyped to see it at all so I wasn’t let down. This movie was considered to be the movie that ended Carpenter’s career. Was it really that bad? No, not by any means. Was it good? No, just was just another movie that left little to no impact. It wasn’t even interesting enough to hate. It was just a movie with weirdos on Mars in it, a decent time waster of a movie.

So I guess it works both ways. I hate how we’re influenced by outside sources in how we feel about movies. Sure, that’s part of the machine and how it works I guess, but I think if people really stood back away from the hype they might find out what their actual taste in movies is. And that means not so many 3D idiots would still be dreaming of banging tall blue aliens. Another movie, I have no interest in seeing.


I wrote this all awhile ago and was waiting for this to happen. I saw “The Hobbit” a movie that I heard a resounding chorus of “mehs” and “nothing happens” to “it was like watching a videogame” and all I have to say it, “you useless, jaded, motherfuckers!” It was awesome.  Sure it took awhile to get going, so did Fellowship. You have to set things up – this wasn’t a continuation, this was a prequel and a lot of groundwork had to be laid out and once things got going action-wise, it didn’t stop. It was literally one sequence after another until the end. I’m glad it wasn’t loved by everyone, it makes me realize I’m not another movie-watching sheep that needs to be told what I think about movies.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fetal Cthulhu

New for sale, "Thing in a Jar" #4. This particular "thing" was found in the West Antarctic Rift and is described as an "Ancient Species, of Unknown Origins" - technically, while not labelled as such, it is a fetal Cthulhu.

The jar is about 3" tall. The "thing" is made from several layers of a silicone called EcoFlex 20 and sealed in a liquid filled, water-tight jar, they take about 2-3 days to make each one, so the price is a little higher than the usual "things" which aren't as labour intenstive. They're $25 each.

Since the silicone is so soft, this "thing" has an extra layer of grotesqueness to it as it'll wobble and shake much like I would expect a real fetal Cthulhu to do.

Contact me at foxhenderson@themonkeyrodeo.com if you're interested in purchasing one. As I said the turnaround is about 2-3 days depending on how busy I am, but I'll let you know an approximate completion date. I'm hoping to have time through the rest of January to make several so there won't be any waiting time on orders.

I also just noticed, this is my 500th post too. Groovy.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

10 Things I Hate About Movies - Part 5.

5. Missed Opportunities.

I won’t say I HATE this about movies, it’s just a shame to see sometimes. Again, this might be due to lazy writing or a strict budget or a director with little vision, or producers trampling all over the project. Who knows? It's one of those things that just happens sometimes.

A good case for this, and I guess you’d call it an A-List movie, was “The Raven”. I really enjoyed it and thought it was doing exactly what it wanted to for awhile and then it just felt like a huge missed opportunity for some really cool, freaky stuff. Instead,  it just kinda plodded along until the ending. Still I liked it, great cast, beautifully shot and enough there to hold my interest.

There’s few things in movie more frustrating that enjoying a movie for so long until finally all you see are things they SHOULD have done. Now I’ll admit, not everyone has that great of a head for this. I’ve heard some other folk’s opinion of what some movies SHOULD have done and I’ll tell what what I SHOULD have done, pushed them over a cliff and hope no one heard how retarded all the crap sounded. And I’ve heard some brilliant stuff.

Here’s a good example, I think, of a missed opportunity for something awesome. In case you’re still wondering what the whole idea of a “missed opportunity” is. “Star Trek: Generations”, the hate this movie conjures up in some Trekkies is pretty entertaining and I would have to agree with them. It boasted the most memorable death scene in movie history (in case you’ve never seen it, SPOILERS! Kirk bites it) and what a lie that was.

He fell off some scaffolding and under some rocks – if my memory serves me correctly that’s what happened, it was so lame it’s hardly worth recalling the details. He says “Oh my” and dies…You think George Takei realizes his catch phrase were James T. Kirk’s final words? Anyway, so much more could have been done, so much more could have made Kirk go out like a god-damn hero. Trekkies and Trekkers spent so much time with Kirk, seeing how impossibly invulnerable the man was and all we get is he falls over and can’t get up. Great, thanks guys.

You know how it could’ve been more awesome – and more awesome in a way that wouldn’t have really changed the budget all that much? They could’ve had Jim onboard the Enterprise, had him hijack the saucer section and rammed that thing right down Malcolm MacDowell’s throat. A huge, awesome fiery death worthy of Capt. Kirk. Would’ve been pretty cool, but nope all we get is “Oh my…”

I suspect these missed opportunities can be chalked up to many things. Sometimes a movie goes over budget and those great moments that might’ve been scripted get tossed for a lesser moment that’s cheaper to shoot. Maybe the creative force behind the movie felt that scene that let us all down was needed to reveal a certain idea or theme or make the next thing seem all the more impressive. I won’t say it’s always due to bad writing or director with no vision, I’ve been there myself and know how easy it is to fall down into that pit and just hope you can get away with it. Well, trust me…you can’t.

I guess it’s all a matter of what you were expecting too (which leads me to #6), sometimes lowered expectations aren’t all that bad a thing.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ancient Species of Unknown Origins.

Because I had some extra supplies around that have a limited shelf-life, I decided to see what new props I could make using them. And what I came up with was a couple new "Thing in a Jar" props.

First one I came up with was this, an ancient species of unknown origins found deep withing the West Antarctic Rift. Essentially, a fetal Cthulhu.

It's made of EcoFlex 20, 2 layers. 1st layer was left untinted so it's slightly transparent - in the future I'll be adding thin strands of red yarn to the inner side of the 1st layer to simulate some veins, should work well I think. Then I added a couple blobs of thickened, black tinted silicone for the eyes - in the future I'll be prefabricated black blobs, probably from Sculpy, to stick in there so they look better. And finally the 2nd layer was slightly tinted with a flesh tone. And once it was all cured I just did a thin layer of latex over it and roughed it up a bit.

For the final piece it'll be housed in a sealed, liquid filled jar, just like the other "Thing in a Jar" props, but in a different looking and sized jar just to have a bit of variety to that line of props.

It's actually a little disturbing feeling to hold. Since the silicone has some weight and it's so soft, it's holds it's shape really well but wobbles around much like what I assume, if it was real, it would actually feel like to hold.

Really happy with how the first test turned out, hoping to source some proper jars locally really soon and get this bad boy online for sale. It'll be more expensive than the other things because there's a more time intensive process to make them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I kinda hate some silicone masks out there.

This is all just my opinion on silicone masks, so if you want to get all fired up and angry about my personal opinion you can go somewhere else right now. I don't want to call out some specific makers of these masks I'm about to refer to, or insult their talent even, so don't take it in that context. There's a lot of hard work that goes into making them and an incredible amount of talent to sculpt something so close to reality.

So, Silicone Masks. Some are awesome, some put me in mind of creepy rapist-wear. The awesome ones being the ones that don't look at all human, but like demons, monsters and whatever, but the ones that are designed to look as "realistic" as possible just give me a creeped out feeling - and not in a way that should make anyone proud for having caused it.

For starters, these "realistic" looking silicone masks are so obvious. I know it's just me perhaps and that even Mythbusters proved there's a line where most folks can be fooled by them, but really they all look like hydrocephalics with bad botox injections. The necks are oddly "Batman Villian" thick, the eyes are sunken and their mouths don't move - also being slightly larger overall than a normal head - to me they stand out like a sore thumb. And again, not in a good way.

The overall look puts me in mind of something we'll eventually see perverts and rapists wearing in horror movies, and probably real life sooner. I know some folks like them and, obviously,  to each their own and all that, but I really have to wonder about the underlying attraction to a mask that's only real use to fool other people into thinking you're not wearing a mask. 

To explain that, if you didn't get it. If I were to wear a silicone mask that very obviously made me look like a red, horned demon - there's obviously no way I could honestly believe I'm fooling anyone (who is sober) into thinking I'm really a red, horned demon. However, if I wear a mask that looks like an old man, it's because I know there's a percentage of people out there who will really think I am an old man. Others who don't pay enough attention to those around them, who you can just pass on by unnoticed as well.

See, what I'm getting at here is, using the above example again. I walk into a bank as a red, horned demon - everyone knows I'm in disguise and possibly up to no good so I don't get very far. I walk into the same bank as an old man - it's not readily obvious to everyone I'm in disguise and could quite possibly cause some problems before I'm found out. That's not to say EVERYONE who wears a "realistic" silicone masks is a potential bank robbing, rapist pervert - but you do kinda look like one, just so you know.

There were a few instances in the last couple years of people doing  somewhat harmless stuff while in disguise, but isn't that really like children testing their limits? Like we're seeing how well they fool people, but in a completely benign fashion at first just to see if works well enough to go to the next step?

I know I'm putting way too much thought into it and there are some who probably think I'm over-reacting to something that isn't even a problem yet. I never said it was a problem, at least not in a global or even small scale. It's just that this is what the look of those masks conjures up in my mind.

The whole idea of not looking like you're hiding your identity at first gives you an edge somehow and should you be a less than scrupulous person, you might find ways to take advantage of that. To me, there's no other draw to these masks, they certainly aren't attractive looking - unless you're into blow-up dolls. They're all quite ugly to be perfectly honest - well made and all, but just ugly.

I don't know, I just don't see the attraction to them. The more monstrous looking ones, sure. I get it. But these "realistic" looking ones, I just don't see a really legitimate need or use for them. I know I would never buy one and I will definitely never be making one, nor would I even do so on commission. Not that I'm diving headlong into that corner of the market right now anyway, maybe in the future.

I don't really have a strong closing for all this, it was just something that's been on my mind ever since I've seen things and I've never been able to not see them in a light other than being creepy rapist masks. You know the same feeling you might get seeing a guy hanging out near a playground, leaning against his white windowless van with "Free Candy" written on it, wearing mirrored sunglasses, short shorts, and sporting a pencil thin mustache? That's the same feeling these masks give me.

*If you're wondering why I didn't post an image or a link to a mask like I'm referring to , it's because I don't want anyone thinking I'm trying to ruin their business or insulting their product. At least not specifically. Just do an image search for "realistic silicone mask" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

10 Things I Hate About Movies - Part 4.

4. Boring Creature Design

As I wrote this it got way out of control, so it might be a little confusing and jump around. I tried to keep it relatively short. Also, it's definitely one of those matter of opinion things.

I know not everyone can be as awesome as Stan Winston was, but– can you just try not to suck at least? Just because you’re on a low budget indie movie does not mean you skimp on the one thing you have going for your entire movie! If you want to make a monster movie, make a god-damned monster movie! You can hide it in the shadows for the first 45 minutes, but then it better come out into the light and not look like an old Dr. Who reject made of bubble wrap and duct tape.

Look, I’m not a brilliant SPFX artist but at least I give a shit and I try. I don’t have a massive budget for what I do, hell I don’t have ANY budget – but in comparison to some of the crap I’ve seen, my stuff is brilliant. It’s no Predator or Kothoga (“The Relic”, I liked it at least), but it’s decent. And I can only hope to do something like Mr. Wink (Hellboy II) sometime in the future and you know what? All that’s stopping me is the space and the facilities.

The Asylum is oh-so-guilty of this. In fact they did a “Cloverfield” rip-off called “Monster” (not to be confused with “Monsters” which I enjoyed) and what another load of shit that was. There were maybe 10 (and I think I’m being generous) shots of the “monster” and seriously, unless you’ve been scarred from accidentally watching Hentai as a child,  “Monster” was about as scary as the video game, “Day of the Tentacle”.

Three skinny, rigidly flapping CG cones with a low-res fleshy texture. Seriously? That’s just shitty and lazy beyond all belief. And I’m pretty sure it was just the same damned animation each time they showed it too. Now I assume these movies have a budget of more than $35, than why am I seeing little homemade movies with better effects. And when I say “homemade” I don’t just mean indie or amateur, I made movie so low end you could only call them “homemade”. The Asylum folks should really be embarrassed about how little they seem to care about movies.

There’s a lot of courses out there that teach Monster Design and I guess it’s worth it, although you don’t even need to go that far – just give a shit about what you’re doing. Have a little pride. Even if the rest of the movie is a shitbomb, that’s no excuse – just use it as practice or use it just to test some ideas that probably seem ridiculous.

I could go on and on about what movies I feel made some of the worst judgement calls on creature/monster designs, but I would literally never stop writing. Some professionals would tell you it has to anatomically correct, I disagree to a point – there’s that fine like between where you can cross over from being anatomically correct (which is a judgement call anyway when you’re creating something completely unreal) to being dull, or to the other end of the spectrum, just being ridiculous looking. The simplest way to look at it is this, does it fit the story? Does it serve the story?  Does it fit with the origins of the thing?In a movie that requires some deep sea monster, don't have it look like a yeti – sure that might feel original, but it also will probably alienate the audience from buying it and look a little stupid.

Werewolves usually tread a thin line of monstrous and ridiculous. "American Werewolf in London" was pretty awesome and creepy as it followed some of the real mythology of werewolves with its design. "Underworld" nothing to complain about really. "Dog Soldiers" a little on the goofy side but the movie was good. And if I recall correctly the original werewolf design for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was pretty silly looking and was changed to the more dog-like design later. Thankfully.

I’ve heard some rambling on about designs needing to be perfectly symmetrical – that’s crap as far as I’m concerned. The more interesting looking designs aren’t perfectly symmetrical – at least as far as creating a “character”, if you’re looking at a crowd of creatures, symmetry is a little easier since you might end up duplicating it a dozen times to make it look like there’s more than really was.

As far as I’m concerned it’s all pretty logical and doesn’t require some “beyond your reach” grasp of anatomy or design – if you’ve got even a small sense of imagination and a couple good hours, or even days, you can easily come up with something decent, might not be original or mind blowing, but sometimes decent is good enough if it serves the movie.

At this point I guess I should point out some other movies guilty of shitting the bed in the monster department of their movie. It's usually more with lower budget or those studio churned out pictures with only one recognizable name in the cast. "Gravedancers" had these goofy grinning ghost or demons (I honestly wasn't paying that close attention to it) that looked like a cross between the creepy kids from "House" and The Gentlemen from Buffy. I could go further back to the 60s and 70s but that's too easy, I'm talking more about recent movies. There's a rash of them with demons or whatever with nothing but "witchy poo" faces, just wrinkled and lumpy versions of a regular human face, this gets tiring.

I mentioned before about “Cabin in the Woods” was a little guilty of this here, not overall, but in the last few seconds of the movie there’s a design that I felt could’ve been freakishly awesome instead was just typical and overdone and dull. I can’t say what it was without spoiling the movie if you haven’t seen it, so I’m leaving this to the last. Shame on you Joss for letting that slip by – which actually leads me to #5. You’ll find out what that is next week.


In the very end when the “elder gods” awake, the entire movie I was thinking it’d be something awesome like Cthulhu – which quite honestly has never really been visualized in a really impressive way in a movie, at least none I’ve ever seen or heard of. Instead we get a big, blackened, charred, cracked with lava looking hand – which has been done to death and just really was a let down when all you’re seeing is just the hand. God of War has done it a few times, Wrath of the Titans and it’s just an old, kind of overdone, not very original design. Sure it’s familiar in a way, but for those last few seconds of the movie, it would’ve been just a little extra bit of awesome if it had been something more freakish and monstrous looking.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Monkey Rodeo Computer Animated Web Series

I've been thinking about this for some time now. I used to do a lot of computer animation, I sort of gave it up as I moved into doing prosthetics and props. What finally really inspired me to tackle this was playing the first episode of The Walking Dead video game - the style was perfect.

Normally when I do CG stuff it's all really hi-res, high poly count stuff and that's great for visual effects and computer generated characters and whatnot, but was just too much effort and work for a whole web series - the sheer amount of modelling and detail work was just too overwhelming to even bother thinking of it for more than a couple seconds.

So when I saw The Walking Dead stylized low(ish) poly stuff I realized it'd be perfect. A couple days ago I started playing around - just testing stuff out for the moment, I'm not diving right in too deep just yet. The first character I started with was Karl Wenham, seemed reasonable since I always wanted to do more with him but hate shaving my face and all to do the makeup. This way I just have to do the voice - which is sort of a muddled English/New Zealand sounding accent.

This is pretty early on - Karl isn't bald, still have yet to really work out how I want hair to look in all this.

I've been debating as well about doing some very rudimentary facial capture stuff for the faces. I've been going through a few tutorials and as soon as I suss out whether it's too much work or not, I'll decide on if I'll do it. Lots of stuff to still think about. For instance, the whole story, but how many characters, locations and all the sets I'll have to build, so it won't be happening any time soon, but it will be happening - how epic or huge it might but, I don't know yet, but it'll be fun designing so really over the top characters too hard to prosthetic work at the moment.

I'll probably post about it every so often as I make some major milestones during pre-production.