Special Effects Makeup: The Art of Transfiguration
Special Effects Makeup: The Art of Transfiguration. It’s not just a makeup. This is what allows men to play the role of women and vice versa, to transform a thin person into a fat one, the young actor into an old man, to change the face and body of a person beyond recognition. And that much, so you don’t get the trick to the very titles. The thing that can take us to another epoch without superfluous words. The thing that can be discussed for hours. The thing they award with “Oscar” already for a long time.
We are talking about the intricacies of the stage makeup industry with Anna Chervinskaya, the makeup artist of numerous projects of such TV channels as 1 + 1, New Channel, STB, many production studios (Radioaktive Film, Electric Sheep Film, 120 Seconds Productions, AdShot Creative, etc.) and fashion magazines (Lashmaker Magazine, Pink, Enviable Brides, Gothic Amazing Magazine).
The makeup is as important as the acting. It happened historically that first we make an impression non-verbally and only then we complete the image with what we say and how. This is a strict rule of both television programs and short and full-length films. The work of a makeup artist means a lot. After all, makeup is a complex element of the image and will be remembered by spectators for a long time. This is why, when I create it, I carefully read the script, ask additional questions about the nature of the character – so that every detail I have worked on would help the actor to show this or that state, quickly get into the role. It’s not just an entire industry – it’s a whole world that develops very actively and it is next to impossible to keep the track of all the new products. Every day new materials and tools appear.
For me, as for the artist, the most interesting thing begins with makeup materials for special effects. All the various means for changing the volume and texture of the skin, different pastes, silicones. And also the means that are taken in the frame for sweat, unshaven face, blood and dirt. Incredible amount of materials to create the effect of fresh wounds, burns, scratches and scars. I love working on the set, where there is a possibility to “make out”.
The process of changing the face and body is very laborious. And in order to achieve dramatic changes, it is not enough to use makeup paints. In this case, I turn to the help of a sculpture-volumetric makeup – special pads and stickers, which are made according to a complicated but very interesting technology.
Before this, a cast of the face or of the body part is taken from the actor and a sculpture is created according to a previously developed sketch.
Silicones, foam latex and prosthetic gelatin are used to make plastic makeup, which allows conveying the facial expression of the actor during the act the most. The application and removing of makeup can take several hours.
“City of Suicide” is a film directed and written by Stas Kapralov, in which I plunged into the world of plastic makeup and special effects. The film tells about the whole city, where those people ‘live’, who once committed suicide.
This is an interesting mystical story, which has a deep philosophical meaning about the fact that we should never despair and give up, because we can change everything while we are alive. It was an extremely responsible job, on which depended if the viewer could feel the pain and suffering of the film’s characters. In a short meter there is not much time to explain, it is necessary to have a contact with the viewer from the first minute.
The film got into the programs of such international festivals as New York Long Island FF, Toronto IFF, Palm Springs ISF, and Manhattan SFF. Also this year I was given a great opportunity to work on the same site with Dutch prosthetic makeup artists, whose work can be seen in “The Lord of the Rings” movie, at the shooting the advertisement of “Shadow of War” for Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment. The result of almost round the clock work of our team of makeup artists was the transformation of English stuntmen into the most real orcs. Filming took place in Ukraine in the city of Kamenets-Podolsky and it flew in one go, despite the hard February weather conditions in which we had to work. And for me it was a wonderful experience, where I’ve got a lot of pleasure and inspiration.
When I create images, I get completely immersed in my work, the whole surrounding world seems to cease to exist – there is only me and the object of my work. The shooting has always short terms, and this further stimulates finding new solutions to put the makeup quickly and get a wow-effect. This is, from my point of view, the whole essence of creativity: I often get tasks that initially seem difficult to accomplish, but in the course of work I find the solutions that help to do everything that was planned and even a little more.