Now we have come to my favourite part of my work! If you build a face up in 3D you can be really creative! With foam latex, gelatine or silicone you are free to create just about anything.
You start off by making a cast of the actor with a material called alginate. It is the same material that dentists use to cast teeth.
The very first thing you do when making a life cast is to prepare the actor for what they are about to experience. I usually show them a finished life cast and a sample of cured alginate. I think it is extremely important to make the actor feel as comfortable as possible and then hopefully they won't feel claustrophobic. I usually don't have any problems with actors freaking out because I have explained the process in detail.
The technique I use when casting is very simple. I just smear the cold alginate over the actors face, always making sure his nostrils are free so he can breath. When the alginate has hardened it is time to put a couple of layers of plaster bandages on top of it. This will make it stable when you later remove it from the face.
I usually put some of salt in the hot water I dip the plaster bandages in. This accelerates the hardening process.
It's very important that you make sure that the mold
will come loose easy. If you cast the whole head the plaster mold
must be made in two halves (or more depending on the mold
s shape). When everything is dry you carefully remove the mold
and it's time to fill it with plaster.
Here I am smearing alginate over the actor Patrick Bergners face during the preparations of a show at the Angereds Theatre, Folkkungasagan.
Then you fill the mold
with dental plaster (no plaster of Paris, it's too weak) Moldano and Ultracal 30 are both good brands. I always put in some kind of handle in the back for easier handling later on. When all of this is ready it is time to decide how the rubber piece should look.
This is done by sculpting it on top of the finished plaster cast with Roma Plastelina or Chavant clay.
When you're happy with the look of your sculpture you must build walls and overflow streams that keeps the next plaster layer from dripping all over the place.
Then you can build a 3-4 cm thick plaster layer on top of the sculpture. For strength I always reinforce it with hemp or burlap. When the plaster has hardened and if you are lucky it will be easy to separate them.
If not, start over!
Now it is time to fill your mold
s with foam latex or any other soft material like gelatine or silicone. The making of foam latex is sadly quite a difficult process that often fails. Due to this many stop trying.
I promise that when you succeed you will feel it was well worth the effort.
If I should try to describe the feeling of a good piece of foam latex it is very difficult. It is silky smooth and in my opinion almost sensual. It is extremely elastic which makes it follow the actors own skin perfectly once it's glued on.
Both gelatine and silicone are both great too as they reassemble the translucency and feel of real skin.
On this picture I have glued a piece to the temple and ear of Tomas von Brömsen.
Unfortunately this makeup didn't make it into the movie "Juloratoriet" because of time reasons.
To glue on a piece like this takes about 2 hours and after that you must touch it up throughout the day.
Other bigger makeup's can take as long as 4-5 hours to put on.
So you have to get up early in the morning when you are working on a film.
For a more in depth look on how to make your own makeup appliances you should read my 6 page course on how I made Dr Miracle.