Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Making Aria - Asari Headpiece - Part 2

Alright!  So now that we've got a mold, we need to actually make the headpiece!


Tools required:
Your new mold!
RD-407 Casting Latex  (I use about 1/2 quart per headpiece)
Chip brushes
Small paintbrush
Dish soap
Baby powder

So I don't have a ton of pictures of me actually casting the latex, since it's a 2-hand kind of job.

I always start by cleaning out any dust and dirt from the mold.  An air compressor or hair dryer works really well for this.

Put a small dab of dish soap on your small paintbrush.  This will help keep the latex from sticking to your brush.  Dip your paintbrush in to the latex and carefully coat the mold walls of all the tentacle tips.  It's really important to make sure the entire tentacle wall is coated with latex, or else you will have holes in the tips of your tentacles.

Once you've coated the tentacles, you can take a larger chip brush (again, mix some dish soap in to the dry brush) and start coating the rest of the mold.  I use a combination of brushing and stippling at this point.  Make sure you avoid getting any air bubbles in the latex, as these will be visible on the finished headpiece..  Wait for the first layer to dry, and then I put 3-5 more layers on.  You want to make sure that around the forehead and the neck isn't too thick (3-4 layers should be good, but you will have to make that judgement!), otherwise it will be really hard to blend the seam line in to your skin.

After I've got a good coating of latex around the whole mold, I pour some additional latex in to the mold and swish it around.  When I say "swish" I mean "Let it ooze around really slowly while my arms are ready to fall off from holding a really heavy mold".  I make sure to let some latex slowly fill up each of the tentacles (Slowly so that I don't get any trapped air bubbles at the tips) and then I set the mold down to cure.  I aim a large electric fan at the inside of the mold to help the latex dry faster.  I also keep checking the mold every 10 minutes or so to make sure no latex is pooling in any one location.  If it is, I use my paintbrush and move the latex around so there's an even coat.

You'll know the latex is dry when it changes color.  I usually let it cure in the mold for 24-48 hours, because the tips of the tentacles can take a long time to dry, and if you pull it out too soon you'll have misshapen tentacles.  Better safe than sorry.

When pulling the cast out of the mold, use baby powder to powder the inside of the mask.  This will prevent the latex from sticking to itself and ruining your hard work!  While you are pulling the mask out, make sure you powder the whole mask really well.

After you've carefully extracted your headpiece, place it back on your lifecast head overnight.  As the latex finishes curing outside of the mold, it will remember the shape it cures in.  If you fold it up and set it aside, your mask will retain that shape.  So keep it on your lifecast for the time being!


Tools required:
ProsAide (Prosthetic adhesive)
Acrylic Paint
Rubber gloves
Paintbrushes (assorted)

Now that you've got a fully cured headpiece, it's time to paint it!  Before doing so, take it over to the sink and give it a good scrub.  I've seen some people clean their latex with citric acid saying it opened up the pores and made it more ready to accept paint.  I didn't have any, so I just used some vinegar and a scrubby brush.

The basecoat you apply to the headpiece needs to be flexible, so that the paint doesn't flake off the latex.  For this, we're going to use PAX makeup.  Calling PAX makeup is a bit of a misnomer, since it is literally acrylic paint and Prosaide prosthetic adhesive mixed in a 50:50 ratio.

Prosaide, black, "brilliant purple"

Mix up your acrylics to get your desired basecoat color.  I mix the basecoat to match my makeup (fun fact!  Liquitex Basics "Brilliant Purple" mixed with a small amount of black matches Mehron Paradise AQ "Purple" really well).  Once you've achieved the desired color, mix the Prosaide in.  The Prosaide is white while liquid, but dries clear, so it won't affect your paint color once dry.

Wearing your rubber gloves, sponge the PAX makeup all over your headpiece.  Fair warning: PAX is super sticky, so avoid touching it when you can.  Do 2 coats if necessary.

Basecoat: Complete
Now that you have your PAX basecoat, you can use regular acrylics to finish the detail work.  The adhesive will cling to the future layers of paint you put on, and keep everything nice and flexible without flaking!

I started off by doing a dark wash of really watery paint, and painted this over the entire headpiece.  The goal is to get the wash in to all the cracks, crevices and textures of the headpiece.

Dark wash: Black and Dioxazine Purple

After the dark wash had dried, I did some dry brushing (Brilliant Purple mixed with a tiny bit of white) in order to lighten up the raised texture.  With dry brushing, you dab your dry paintbrush in the paint, and then wipe off 95% of the paint on to a papertowel.  Then lightly brush the raised texture.  The effect is subtle.

Once both dark wash and dry brushing is complete, I start using the airbrush to add some highlights and shadows.

I start off by adding some shadows in all of the crevices.  I used a combination of purple and black acrylic airbrush inks.

I then added highlights on all the raised surfaces (along the centers of the tentacles).  I used light purple and white watered down acrylics for this.

I added some subtle stripes/mottling with a blue/purple watered down acrylic mixture.

Finally, I used masking tape to section off where Aria's facial tattoo extends on to her lower tentacle, and airbrushed the stripe in.


Voila~  The finished headpiece!

Makeup & Application

Tools required (Items in brackets are the brands I used, but shop around for what works for you!):
Wig cap
Astringent (Witch Hazel)
Craft glue stick
Baby powder
Rubbing alcohol
Prosthetic adhesive (Prosaide or Telesis Beta Bond Plus)
Prosthetic Adhesive remover (Isopropyl Myrisitate)
Make-up sponges
Liquid Latex (Ben Nye)
Barrier Spray (Mehron)
Face/body paint (Mehron Paradise AQ in "Purple" or PAX Makeup)
Eyelid Primer (Neutrogena Crease Proof Eyeshadow Primer "Stay Put Plum")
Eye Liner
Eyeshadow (Your choice of colors for eyes, plus a varying palette that matches your face paint color for contouring)
Eye/Lip liner matching your facepaint (Optional: for lips)

Left to right: Craft Glue Stick, Prosthetic Adhesive, Ben Nye Liquid Latex, Isoproply Myrisitate, Baby Powder,
(in front) PAX Makeup, Mehron Paradise AQ Purple (with sponge and spray bottle), Barrier Spray

Left to right: Black Eyeshadow, Purple Palette, Neutrogena Crease Proof Eyeshadow Primer ("Stay Put Plum"),
Black eyeliner, Purple Eyeliner, assorted brushes

I made this snazzy video to show you how I do my makeup!

Some notes on face and body paints:

There are three options that I was considering for Aria, and here are the pros and cons of each:

Water activated make-up
Sample Products: Mehron Paradise AQ, Kryolan Aquacolor.
Pros:  Readily available at costume shops, Easy to apply, easy to remove, affordable
Cons: Smudges with wear (Anywhere clothing is rubbing), smudges with sweat and tears
Comments:  I use Mehron Paradise AQ in Purple for my Aria makeup.  I really like that it's easy to apply.  I use lots of barrier spray with it to keep it from smudging too much, and for the most part it works.  I get a little bit of rub-off on my body suit, and on the straps on my side.  It mostly comes off where the buckles on my costume rub against my skin.

PAX Makeup
Sample products: Commercial varieties available in limited colors, but better to mix your own with prosaide and non-toxic acrylic paint
Pros: Stays put really well!  Semi-waterproof, can last for days with minor touch-ups.
Cons: A bitch (and sometimes painful) to remove.  Application can be tricky without an assistant
Comments:  This is super durable.  I have used PAX on my sides and chest for Aria before.  Some people do use this on their face as well, but I didn't want to risk it since my skin can be pretty sensitive, and I was aware of how difficult it is to remove.
I was able to shower without this coming off, sleep in it, and then use it again the next day with only minor touch-ups.  During application, after each layer dries you need to powder it with baby powder.  Because it's made from adhesive and paint, it is extremely sticky until you powder it.  I did have some issues with the paint sticking to my buckles and peeling off me at the end of the day, but the damage was minor and easily fixed for the next day.  More baby-powder probably would have prevented this.
If you do decide to use PAX, make sure you get a remover (Isopropyl Myrisitate is what I used).  The issue with removal is that the paint doesn't really wash off....It scrapes off in little balls of paint/adhesive.  Sometimes the little balls get soggy in the bath/shower, and instead of coming off easily, they smear around more pigment on your skin.

Alcohol Activated Makeup
Sample Products: Body Illustrator, Kryolan BIC, Temptu Duracolor
Pros: Stays put extremely well!  Completely waterproof, lasts for days, doesn't rub off on clothes
Cons: Limited color palette, expensive, can be difficult to remove (needs 91% or 99% alcohol for removal)
Comments: This is the only make-up of the three that I haven't tried, though I came really close to buying some.  Alcohol activated make-up uses 91% or 99% alcohol for application, and needs the same alcohol for removal.  Because of this, it's completely waterproof, extremely durable, and doesn't rub off on clothes.  Unfortunately, it's not available in a wide range of colors.  Temptu Duracolor is one of the very few brands that offers a wide range of colors sold on their own; other brands like Body Illustrator only offer pallets of a variety of colours more geared towards things like gore makeup or creating bruises, etc.  The really big downside to these make-ups is they are expensive.  A 4oz bottle which would be enough for about 1-2 body applications costs $31.50 online.  I personally haven't tried the Temptu because they didn't have a color that was right for Aria, and I would have had to spend $60+ to get 2 different colors to mix, which I wasn't willing to do at the time.  However, if you have a costume that you just can't risk the color rubbing off on to, it's definitely worth the investment.


l'école des ours said...

every time i check this tutorial I feel like doing a Cosplay of Liara!
Believe me when I say these tutorials (and your live recording on Youtube) are helping a lot, so thank you so much !!!

Unknown said...

I flow your blog because is really learning.I love it.I learn many think about face care from you.If any one want to take an air compressor visit

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