Special makeup effects turn imagination into a career

When it comes to special makeup effects, the fantastic must meld with the realistic, creating fantastical worlds that have all the edge of reality. Whether your doing special makeup effects for a movie, a theater production or a Hollywood-theme party, you want the result to not only look like it’s leaped from a horror movie or a comic book, but to maintain a hint of realism that keeps us believing in the make-believe.

Learning how to do special effects with makeup can be both an exciting and a fulfilling career. It’s a job that thrives on creativity, turning imaginations into real assets that create magical worlds of fantasy. Like any craft, it relies on several standard techniques that once mastered can turn anyone you’d like, from your friends to your production cast, into realistic images of your imagination.

Creating realistic bruises are a great way to begin to hone a talent for special effects. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol, patting it dry. Take nose or scar wax, being careful to touch it as little as possible as oils from your skin will gum up its quality, and apply to the “bruised” area, blending it to form the shape of a bruise with possible scar tissue. Add makeup to conceal the presence of the putty, and then coloration to make the wound realistic.

Age can be added to someone’s face by simply drawing lines with a makeup pencil or brush. A sponge can be used to create stubble or liver spots, and extra lines should be added around the mouth and the eyes to enhance the technique. This is a great trick to try on your friends just for fun, getting good practice and a good laugh when you see how old everyone can look.

Prosthetics can be created from foam or latex into any kind of creature or facial shape. They can be applied with adhesive which is then covered up with makeup. Practice on your friends, as the more you work to form prosthetics, the better you’ll be. Learning to make your own parts from foam and latex is an important skill in the special effects business, as it allows you to virtually make just about anything, and you are only truly limited by your imagination.

Learn to play with special  makeup and have fun. The more experience you get, the more apt you will be to solve creative dilemmas that may take place on a set. The key is creating a world of fantasy that still has a realistic feel. With all the various tools and techniques available in the field, the creativity is limitless.