Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chris Walas's Build-Up Gorilla Bash !!!.. Part 9...Time to face...Da Feet !

Holy Ape suit Gorilla Gang !
If you've been following along thus far, Academy Award Winning, Special Effects Make-up Artist Chris Walas has taken us through a step by step process of constructing a build-up gorilla suit.
With the head, Hands, and lower Arms out of the way, it only makes sense to take the next steps into some gorilla feet !

Now, without further ado...Mr. Chris Walas !!!

The Foots.

The feet are pretty straightforward and if you are attempting to try this yourself, you should be at a point that you feel fairly comfortable with the build-up technique by now. I won't be adding much detail of the bottoms of the the feet as I really want the base of the shoe to be hitting the floor, not a layer of foam padding.
I start with a rough outline of where I want to go with the feet. Normally, a gorilla stands and walks with his/her "thumb toe" straight out, or perpendicular to the side of the foot. This gets a bit clunky when wearing big rubber feet so I'm making the concession of angling the toe in a bit.

I'm cutting the toes out in blocks rather than build them up individually as I did with the fingers. Chances are there won't be a lot of close-ups of these feet. In fact, they'll likely never been seen in the intended use. I draw out the basic approach on a block of foam for the toes;

I trimmed this out and made sure it roughly fit around the front of the shoe.

I'm doing both feet at the same time, largely because I'm in a rush to get these done to clear space for other projects! But also to keep better tabs on matching them. Both sets of toes are formed to the same level of finish.

Once they are glued on, I add a piece of 1/2" foam to fill in the top of the foot.

Here's what they look like from the bottom, I've already added a coat of contact cement to the sole of the shoe so that the next coat will adhere even better.

On to the batting. I'm trying to cover as much as possible on the bottom in one piece. This is to keep it even. Lumps in the batting will be felt when wearing the feet, so I'm working from the bottom tot the top.

For the sake of speed, I'm covering the entire foot with batting so I can speed up the latexing.

First coat of latex goes on and some detail is drawn in;

Most of this will actually disappear under subsequent layers of latex. Feet get a lot of wear and abuse , so it's going to take a number of coats of latex to get these soles thick enough.

The top will take a bit more detail and I'll be adding toenails later.

Once the feet are dry. I simply use some batting to form cuticles for the nails.

Once they've been latexed and dried, I add some batting cut to shape for the nails.

I used a spatula to apply and smooth the latex for the nails, then drew in a crack or two.

I've been adding many layers of latex to the bottoms all along and now it's time to do the furring.

I like to use two overlapping pieces of fur on feet like this. The first piece covers the back of the foot.

While the second, larger piece covers the front half of the foot and overlaps (but is not glued to) the back section of fur.

This technique allows non-stretch fur like this to be brought up higher and closer to the ankle than you can normally do. And it also allows the fur to be folded over to make putting the feet on quite a bit easier;

SO… now we have a head, a pair of unpainted hands/forearms and a pair of unpainted feet for this gorilla.

So much for the easy stuff. While doing the mouth is the most demanding in many ways, the main body of the suit is certainly the most cumbersome and awkward to do.
So that's what we'll do… next time.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Chris Walas's Build-Up Gorilla Bash !!! Part 8...Fearsome Forearms !!!

OK gang, Lets rejoin Chris Walas in putting together some massive monkey forearms !
Finishing the arms.

So we have the hands done and now all we need to do is attach them securely to the forearms. The forearm foam form is a simple tube. I've done detailed, muscled forearms and the detail was completely lost once furred, so a simple tube will do. The tube should be a good, snug fit so that it holds firm even when you're covered in sweat.

I would give you measurements for this, but yours will almost certainly be different. Just put one of the gloves on and measure the distance from the base of the hand to the very end of your elbow. Now glue the base of the glove to the inside of the tube and glue the bottom of the hand foam to the top of the foam tube.

You'll notice the outer side of the hands stick out over the tube. This is where I'm widening the hand, so I add a section of foam to make the tube match the hand. Then I cut a wide open dart in the wrist. This will be covered with fur and the opening will allow easier wrist movement:

After that, I do the batting/latex down over the joint between hand and wrist. This adds a little more strength to the joint.

I'm using two cheap suits to build one slightly less cheap suit here. Not surprisingly, the arms of the suits are too small in diameter to work so I'm forced to use a section of the legs of one of the suits. (I'm going to be so upset if I run out of cheap suit!!). I marked the pattern on the fur piece in chalk first. I'm going to be gluing the underside of the forearm first so that the very last bit of the top section overlaps the lower section for a more natural look. I'm also allowing a good inch or two of extra fur at the bottom so that the fur can be tucked and glued over the elbow edge and into the tube to help disguise the joint. I won't be doing this , though, until I have the suit together, just in case I need to make any emergency changes. You'll notice in the photo below that I also trimmed the bottom of the tube to round it off.

I'm using an industrial grade spray adhesive for the larger areas of fur, but I like to glue down all the edges with a strong contact adhesive.
Just glue carefully and slowly if you need to, especially at the overlap sections. If all goes well, you're hands/arms should be done (except for paint!)

Next we'll move on to the feet and hopefully get a start on the main suit itself!








Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chris Walas's Build-Up Gorilla Bash......Part 7...A change of mood !

Reworking the face.

I think of build-up techniques as the finger painting of monster making. Just as in finger painting you can smooth colors around, add more paint, scoop some off, etc., build-up allows you to do a very high degree of reworking.
Now the face that I had done was just fine for the character and there was really no need to redo any of it… however, Drying latex on the hands gave me "waiting" time. I get terribly impatient waiting and so I decided to play a little more with the face on Mogo. It started when I decide to trim down the hair on the top of the head like a lowland gorilla. I found that I had a big empty spot over the brow. Well, I decide the make the brow stand out a little more by sinking the area just above it, so out came a section of latex and foam.

Once I had reworked the top of the brow, it was too late. I was having too much fun so I decided to make some other changes. I chose to sink the entire eye area and bridge of the nose and to add a little more to the center bottom of the brow, again to add a little more menace. So I just hacked out a whole area.

A bit of foam under the brow and it was onto the batting.

I think the changes help and the folds under the eye are a little more balanced and natural.

It may not be that much of a difference, but I think it helps and it kept me busy while I was waiting.

As you can see, Mogo now looks extremely angry. Take note of the more realistic folds under the eyes also. Compare to the mask, from two installments before.
Mogo was still angry, but not nearly as grumpy as he above.



   Up next, Chris will tackle Mogo's monstrously muscle-y forearms !


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Chris Walas's Build-Up Gorilla Bash !....Part 6!!!! Get Your Stinking Paws On !

OK gang, we've got the head and mouth shaping up nicely now. We'll take a break from his fearsome face, and move onto the hands!
As you've already seen, Chris Walas is an absolute master of his craft, one of the best in the world in fact.
We, are so very fortunate to have Chris share this amazing project with us as a tutorial, and we can't thank him enough for his generosity !

But lets not delay a minute longer, and we'll rejoin the master !

Hands are a lot of work, regardless of whether you sculpt them or build them up. It's a lot more area than a face and there are two of them, so realize that a pair of hands will potentially take longer than a whole head.
I've picked an old pair of garden gloves and stuffed the fingers with heavy paper. the pare allows for a slight amount of possibility and I'm giving the fingers a little bend to work with.

I want these hands to be on the big side as this character will be interacting with other characters a lot and the larger hands will be more intimidating. I'm forming the hands out of polyfoam and once the rough size and shape looks good, I razor a slot out of the palm side of the finger so that it will sit over the existing glove finger.

The fingers should completely cover the glove fingers on three sides. As I don't want to add too much to the thumbs, I've only added some mass at the base of the thumb.

I'm doing both hands as much at the same time as I can so that I can keep a better eye on matching.

Next, I wrap the hand in 1/2" foam on the back and palm sides. What I don't have a picture of is some foam padding I added on the outer sides of the palms to make them larger.

Then I added some knuckles;

While it's not necessary, I sliced a few lines into the palms of the hand as guides;

To keep the finger I'm working on from sticking to the finger next to it, I've simply rubber banded the next fingers together.

It doesn't really matter where you start, but I chose the little finger to begin the batting/latex coat. I used two sections of batting, the first covered the under- or inside of the finger and the outer layer was layer over that. I tried using some latex sheet as fingernail material, but I wasn't happy with it and only used it on a few of the fingers before I switched to just forming the batting as nails. This is not the finished finger!

Just in case there's anyone out there who is not familiar with cotton batting, it's one of the materials quilters use inside a quilt. It's almost like a very soft, thick felt in texture.

After the little fingers, I did the thumbs and the base of the hand.

Yes, those gray Vans will become the feet. You'll notice that I have brought the work all the way down to the wrist. This is because I want to be able to glue the base of the glove to the inside of the forearm foam form later.

A little bit more work and the entire hand has its first coat.

Once this is dry, I'll add another entire coat of latex and then an additional coat on areas that will get more use. Then they will be ready to attach to the forearms and get furred!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Chris Walas's Build-Up Gorilla Bash !...Part 5...Things are getting a little Hairy !

Hiya Gorilla Gang,
As we continue Chris's amazing build-up gorilla, we are now moving off of the skin for a while, and we'll turn our attention to the fur !

Back to Chris Walas !...

Now I'm going to glue the basic fur onto the head. I'm using the fur that was on the original mask to the cheap suit and it's not a lot of work to adapt it.
But first I'm going to glue on a section of 1" foam to the back of the head to add size and also to make the mask fit snugly enough that no straps will be necessary… I hope.

It worked out well and the mask is a nice, snug fit. I may have to make adjustments later for whoever winds up wearing the suit, but hey, that's show biz.
Normally I would cut the fur into more sections for easier assembly, but the existing fur was already fairly close to what I needed, so I merely cut it into two sections: a front and a back.

I glued the back on first and carried the leading edge just up over the crest line. I only glued this piece down along the side and top edges, about a two inch band. This is in case I need to make any adjustments later on down the line, I'll have access to the center section to add or subtract as needed.

Here's the back already on and the forehead section about to be glued down. This entire section is glued down to help stiffen this part of the mask. So I've started at the top and I'm going to work my way down the sides next. A lot of the faux furs available use a white thread in the backing that shows horribly when it's cut, so I just use a black sharpy and darken it before gluing. In this next photo, the upper edge is as cut and the lower edge has been Sharpied.

Now the tricky bit: The upper edge of the cheek fur must be glued only along it's leading edge. This is to leave room for some movement in the jaw as well as allow access under the fur to replace the rubber bands when necessary.
With that much of the fur glued, the mask looks like this:

The fur on the lower jaw still needs to be glued, but I need to allow for the opening of the mouth. The simplest way I've found to deal with this is to prop the mouth open at least as far as it will be able to be opened by an operator and then glue the fur solidly in place right up to the edge of the lip.

I've done this a number of times now and almost always, the fur finds the right place when the mouth closes:

So the above shot is where I'm stopping on the head fur. There's still plenty of work to be done, but I prefer to wait until I have more, or even all, of the rest of the costume together to do the finish work. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do on the forehead and brow; whether to shave the fur down short, leave it long, fur the brow, leave the brow bare. I'll figure it out later.
Just to help me visualize the proportions of the suit, I threw the existing suit around the base of the head to get an idea of mass:

I'm beginning to think this guy may turn out OK!

Next time, we set the head aside and start all the other work, so get ready!
You heard the man Gang !
Be here next time when we "Get a Grip".