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Special Makeup Effects


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Click here to enter the Special Effects Makeup Book contest


In the world of film and theatre, character transformation takes a lot of work, skill, and creativity…Dedicated solely to SFX, this book will show you tips and techniques from an seasoned SFX makeup artist with years of film, TV, and theatrical experience. Not only will this book take you through the many genres that need a special effects makeup artist, like horror, fantasy, and sci-fi, but it will also tell you about the tools you will need, how to maintain your toolkit, how to take care of the actor’s skin, how to airbrush properly when HD is involved, and all about the exclusive tricks of the trade from an experienced pro who knows all the latest tips and techniques. The author shows you how to sculpt and mold your own makeup prosethetics, focusing on how human anatomy relates to sculpture, thus creating the most realistic effects. Case studies feature some of the top makeup artists of today, such as Neill Gorton, Christopher Tucker, Miles Teves, Jordu Schell, Mark Alfrey, Matthew Mungle, Christien Tinsely, Vittorio Sodano, and Mark Gabarino. You will also learn about human anatomy as it relates to sculpture and will be able to profit from lessons from today’s top make-up artists that are highlighted.

Author Bio

Todd Debreceni has worked in the entertainment industry for nearly 30 years, and before starting his own small effects shop in Colorado did work for TBS, 20th Century-Fox, Warner Bros. and Disney. He is a past recipient of a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and a Denver Post Ovation Award for Special Accomplishment in Makeup Effects. Today he is a working makeup effects artist, teacher and writer. He works internationally and regularly conducts workshops and classes in special makeup effects for film, television and theatre.



“Crammed with cutting edge information on materials and techniques, formulas, suppliers, how-to’s, and more, this is a book I wish I had when I first started!?- Christopher Tucker, Emmy award nominated & BAFTA winning Special Effects Makeup Artist



Introduction The Industry Anatomy and Design Bones Muscles Surface Anatomy Proportion Distinctions of Age, Sex and Race Taking the Lifecast Teeth Face Head and shoulders Hands and arms Making the Positive Stone (Ultracal) Hydrocal Plaster Resin Sculpting the make-up (appliance/prosthetic) Positive Preparation Tools Clay Teeth Face Head and shoulders Hands and arms Breakdown of the sculpture Making the Mold(s) Silicone Molds Fiberglas/Resin Molds Stone Molds Casting the appliances Materials ? Foam Latex, Urethane Foam, Gelatin and Silicone Painting the Appliance Applying the Make-up Appliance Adhesives Techniques Skin Care Hair and Wigs Lace-front Wigs Facial Hair Laid-on Facial Crêpe Hair Removing the Make-up Appliance Removers Techniques Skin Care

Cleaning and Storing of the Appliance Appendix Glossary


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The Rules of Film Noir

Use of "venetian blind" lighting wou...

Use of “venetian blind” lighting would become a stock-in-trade film noir look (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Dark rooms with light slicing through venetian blinds, alleys cluttered with garbage, abandoned warehouses where dust hangs in the air, rain-slickened streets with water still running in the gutters, dark detective offices overlooking busy streets: this is the stuff of film noir–that most magnificent of film forms.”

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The Long Take

English: Steven Spielberg at the 2011 San Dieg...

English: Steven Spielberg at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Film School – The Long Take

The long take, or the “oner”, is a filming technique that is used carefully, by master filmmakers. In many cases, the camera follows a character or object, as it travels from one spot to another. Sometimes, the camera follows one character, then shifts to a different character, mid shot, and follows the new character. It is a familiar technique, for those people who have gone to film school, where they study the works of Alfred Hitchcock, and Steven Spielberg.

It somehow gets the audience more engaged and they pay close attention, in anticipation of what will be revealed, as the character moves about. Isn’t that what going to the movies, is all about?

The purpose of the long take is very subjective. But, in my humble opinion, it takes the audience on a ride, like they are part of the action. It somehow gets the audience more engaged, and they pay close attention, in anticipation of what will be revealed, as the character moves about. Isn’t that what going to the movies, is all about?

According to Wikipedia: long take or oner is an uninterrupted shot in a film which lasts much longer than the conventional editing pace either of the film itself or of films in general, usually lasting several minutes. Long takes are often accomplished through the use of a dolly shot or Steadicam shot. Long takes of a sequence filmed in one shot without any editing are rare in films.[1]

Poetics of Cinema

Bringing together twenty-five years of work on what he has called the “historical poetics of cinema,” David Bordwell presents an extended analysis of a key question for film studies: how are films made, in particular historical contexts, in order to achieve certain effects? For Bordwell, films are made things, existing within historical contexts, and aim to create determinate effects. Beginning with this central thesis, Bordwell works out a full understanding of how films channel and recast cultural influences for their cinematic purposes. With more than five hundred film stills, Poetics of Cinema is a must-have for any student of cinema.

Rope – by Alfred Hitchcock

Do yourself a favor, and rent this film, right now. Watch it for fun, the first time, then watch it again, and take notes!


The Steadycam

The tool, of choice, to perform the long take.




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