Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chris Walas's Build-Up Gorilla Bash !....Part 2 !!!

Holy cow gang !
Can you believe how cool this is ?!
Chris continues his incredible Build-Up , and gives his ape some skin !
And I turn over to the capable hands of Mr. Chris Walas !

Chris Walas ;

I had a couple of hours early this morning and got a little further ahead. I finished up the foam on the head;

I'm ignoring the lower jaw now until I have the main face finished. This is so that it will be easier to fit the teeth and jaw when the upper face is a little stiffer.
I'm using cotton batting and latex for the final surface. I start by gluing batting to an area;

Then I butter on some tinted latex. This is thick old latex from another project, but it works fine for this;

I work in sections. It's easier to fit the batting and make sure the overlaps are nice and flat.

The latexed batting can be sculpted to a degree by dragging tools across it carefully. Here's the above batting roughly sculpted into place;

And here's the entire "Non-furred" upper mask covered with more sculpting added;

Once this layer is dry, I'll be adding another stippled coat of latex for thickness as well as adding any other details I may need to. Mogo is coming along pretty well so far. I'm doing the head first because I believe the head defines the scale of size and detail for the rest of the suit. I've picked up a pair of Vans to use for the feet and found an old pair of gloves for the hands. This is going to be one cheap suit!
Bongo here again !
The beauty of this series is that through Chris's generous efforts you'll learn techniques that will give you the skills and know-how to tackle any type of character your imagination can come up with!..Well, within reason of course !
To Be Continued...Same Ape Time...Same Ape Channel !

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chris Walas's Build-up Gorilla Bash !

Boy oh boy !
Huge news ape fans, Oscar winning Special Effects Make-Up Artist Chris Walas Has come on board to bring us the ultimate "How To" series, Chris Walas's  Build-up Gorilla Bash !

In this Hollywood Gorilla Men exclusive, Chris will talk us through the steps he uses to build a professional gorilla suit, using build up methods....and on a budget !
And for the huge surprise...It's Starting right Now !

From here out, Chris will guide you :
Here's the first installment of my "Build-up Gorilla Bash".

Amidst work on real projects, one of the things I'm working on is a webisode puppet series. It's a long term project as there's a lot of stuff that has to be built in my spare time, which I haven't any of. One of the characters is a monstrous gorilla guard from Lemuria named Mogo. He's definitely an old school gorilla, so I'm building the suit out of a couple of really cheesy gorilla costumes I bought off Ebay for $50. The suits had no feet and the faces were pretty much useless. The hands are actually fine for a Halloween costume, but I'm redoing them as I need fingers with better support.
                                                                    The suit;
Normally, I would just sculpt the head, but this time I'm trying something else just for fun. I'm going to attempt to do the face, hands, chest and feet using old-fashioned build-up techniques. My plan is to use one of the suits as surplus fur to add to the other suit to adjust for padding and such. The fur is really pretty bad, but I'm hoping with some paint and treatment, it will be presentable. The good thing is that this is essentially a comedy suit, so there's a lot of leeway. And in its final form, it will be wearing a set of armor of some sort.
I started by using a painters hood as a base for the head construction. I picked up a ton of free scrap foam from an upholstery place off of Craig's list. It's all different colors, densities, etc., but it shouldn't make a big difference… I hope.
Here's a quick sequence of the foam build-up;

The foam is cut out and trimmed to shape with a pair of sharp scissors. It is then glued down to the cotton painters hood with a spray adhesive used for foam and fabric.

Continue building up foam shapes to block in the gorilla's facial anatomy, Don't worry about overlapping the foam, we're just focusing on building up the basic shapes.

Continue blocking in shapes until the entire face is roughed in.
Now start to refine the detail by cutting smaller pieces of foam in shapes that mimic the contours of a gorilla's face. ( you can study photos right here on HGM !) You can make simple bulges by bending the foam and taking a long snip along the bend. The piece that pops out will have a nice rounded effect like the pieces above to the right and left of the nostrils on the muzzle. Spray adhesive on the side you cut with the scissors and apply it to the foam under layer.
I'm planning on a simple opening mouth and that's it. There's more foam work to do, but it's time for my real job, so it'll have to wait. I threw the suit fur on it just to get a feel for how the fur will work with the forms. So far, so good.

Chris Walas puts some skin on this big ape !

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So the Fly and a Gorilla walk into a bar........

Hiya Gorilla gang!
Old Bongo is happy to announce another member to our monumental fraternity of Hollywood Gorilla Men!
This gorilla, while not having seen action in movies, has the heart of a true genius behind him !
If you've ever marveled at the amazing creatures in The Fly...The Fly 2....and Gremlins, then you've seen the work of Oscar Winner Chris Walas.
Chris built this gorilla suit in '78 or '79..  for Rob Bottin and his crew, who were doing a Haunted house in El Monte. Rob asked Chris to do a gorilla suit for one of the rooms. $150 and a couple of weeks was all he had. Despite the budget and deadline, Chris had fun with it. Chris explains ; "This was the only gorilla suit I ever made and it was never used in a film as such. I made a cyclops eye and horn for it for Galaxina and a new head years later for a Donkey Kong commercial (the head is still at Bob Burns house). It's got a lot wrong with it, but I sure loved it at the time! Just thought you all might like a look."
Guess what Chris? Your absolutely right!

$150.00 and two weeks to make this ? Nothing short of incredible !

To further endear Chris to our crowd, he also sculpts mini busts of legendary Hollywood Gorilla Men !
Years ago Chris sculpted these amazing busts of Charles Gemora, and George Barrows in their ape form.
The likeness's are keen and the sculpting is top notch.
These were released as resin castings.

As you can plainly see, the detail is awe inspiring !
If Chris were to ever continue this line (hint, hint) then you can count on old Bongo to let you know !
Let's all take this great opportunity to welcome Chris into or HGM family !

Sunday, June 2, 2013

So you want to be a gorilla man...part 1

This is it folks !
This will be a step by step guide to creating your own "Classically Styled" gorilla suit.
This won't be a Rick Baker suit you can't tell from the real thing, but more along the lines of Crash Corrigan and Charlie Gemora.
There will be several routes to take with this process, and we'll try to cover them all.

In this first instalment, we'll take the simplest route. We'll modify an off the shelf costume.
The costume I'm using in this demonstration is from,
This is the "beige" gorilla.
I'm using a light colored suit, as it photographs much better to demonstrate the steps.

This demo will cover the most important aspect of the suit, from an acting standpoint..the eyes !
Most off the shelf masks have eyes, or eye holes that protruded a distance from the face of the wearer.
Our objective is to make the mask look like part of your face, rather than something that is just sitting loosely on your head.

To begin, you need a gorilla mask ! I recommend a mask that has a neutral expression with the mouth closed, or nearly so.
 You need a face form of some type , to do your build up work on..
I've used an old life cast of my face in this demo, but you can also use a prefabricated head form.
If you are unable to acquire a head form of some type, don't panic ! You can also use one of those inexpensive plastic masks from a craft store, (and) a Styrofoam wig head.

You will also need the following supplies:
Liquid latex rubber
a small piece of foam robber, or polyfoam. 12" square is plenty.
Canvas material, from a fabric store. This needs to be untreated . (not waterproof ! )
Cotton balls
Very sharp scissors.

Got everything ?
OK, lets start !
First, stand in front of a mirror and put the mask on. Look closely at the the eye holes fit snugly to you face ? Probably not.
The mask I'm am using here is the worst possible scenario, just to show you how dramatic a change we can make with this technique. The Mask I'm using has molded on eyes !
I forgot to get a close-up of the mask with the eyes still in place, so this is the same mas, but in black.
The face itself looks pretty good , but those molded on eyes have got to go!
Using the scissors carefully cut the eyes out of the mask if it has eyes
put the mask back on and check it again.If the mask has what looks like eyelids, they too have to go.

Now you should have fairly decent sized openings. While wearing the mask, us your fingers to push down the eye holes so the rubber of the mask, touches your face. If any part of the hole covers any part of your eye, trim it away. (With the mask OFF so you don't injure yourself !!!)

Now set the mask aside and we'll start on the next step.
We'll need your face form for this.
Cut the canvas cloth into small strips and squares of various sizes. (around an inch or so.)
Then take small strips and squares of canvas (or similar) fabric and dip them into liquid latex. Place these all around the eye area of the head form. Use a lot of layers, and overlap them as you go. Allow to dry.

This will build up a thick, fairly rigid mask that will fit your eyes very snugly. Trim this Eye mask to even it up all around, and trim out the opening for your eyes to look through. Test fit it to your own face, and adjust where necessary. Once the fit to your eyes is good with this mini-mask, apply a coat of contact cement to the front of the eye mask, and to the inside of the eye area of the ape mask.
With the eye mask on the head form, carefully put the ape-mask onto the head form being careful to not touch the contact cemented surfaces together yet. Line the eyes of the ape mask up with the new eye mask. Starting from the center of the nose between the eyes, gently press the ape mask down so it sticks to the new eye mask. Position the ape- face into a position that conforms to the eye plate and continue pressing down.
What all this does is to permanently glue the ape mask down to a inner mask that fits your face nearly exactly.
Once the masks are glued together, use scraps of foam rubber to "fill in" any voids or open areas.
Then you can use liquid latex to laminate cotton down to the foam . Wet the foam first with the latex (use Q-tips for this). Then stretch the cotton out flat and tap it down to the foam. Using a rolling motion, wet the cotton from the center going out, re wetting frequently to keep the Q-tip from sticking.

Once this is smoothed out, (you may need to laminate toilet tissue down in little torn bits to smooth the surface)you can stipple more liquid latex over the area to blend it all together

As a final step, you can mix a small amount of acrylic paint with liquid latex, and "stipple" this colored latex on the rebuilt area with a piece of the foam rubber.

If all went well, you should now have a mask that fits your eyes very closely .

The Moving Mouth !!!