Why learn prosthetic makeup?

In the previous article ‘So what exactly is prosthetic makeup effects?’ I explained when prosthetics were born and why it is used in the film industry. In this article I will try and show you why is it essential to learn prosthetic makeup…

Over the past few decades the Makeup industry has steadily grown in the UK, the Harry Potter franchise (which I was part of for 10 years) has had a big influence in the popularity of Prosthetics and Special Makeup Effects. The main reason has been the time. We were given the time to advance the quality of prosthetics and the way they are made. A core team of us have revolutionised the way in which prosthetics are made and glued onto actors. 

More and more films are being shot over in the UK and even though the Harry Potter films have finished, the industry has never been busier. Most big budget films that come into the UK are seen as franchise movies with at least 3 or 4 sequels from each movie. E.G: Pirates of the Caribbean 4 & 5, Star Wars Episode 7,8 & 9, The Marvel movies (Avengers 2, Thor 2, Guardians of the Galaxy), The Universal reboots of The Wolfman, Frankenstein, Dracula & The Mummy. Doctor Who (and its spin off series) Game of Thrones series 4 (there’ll be 5 more series to come).

Even though advances in digital technology means that films like Avatar and its 3 upcoming sequels are being made, they still use Practical ‘lighting models’ which keep prosthetic artists employed for many years, and when Jurassic Park came out over 20 years ago, we all thought that practical effects would become obsolete in fact it’s had the opposite reaction. It’s opened up the doors to make anything now and prosthetics and visual effects go hand in hand. 10 years ago we wouldn’t have been able to do effects like Lord Voldemort with prosthetics alone, and with the help of visual effects we can now achieve greater things.

We still constantly make scanning models for the digital people to use as reference, a lot of the Harry Potter creatures were made that way, it kept us employed for months longer than we would of been otherwise... (And without these scanning models most of the work in the Harry Potter museum would never exist!)

There is also more and more make up festivals happening around the world (Zombie Aid walk  and TV’s Face Off) because of the high demand for make up and prosthetic makeup. Also the fashion industry are using more prosthetic makeup in their fashion shows, going more extreme, wanting to be more creative, modern. What is more, the music industry is using more prosthetics for their music videos (recently Lady Gaga, One Direction) mostly to shock their audience. Adverts are using prosthetic makeup to promote their products, also prosthetics is used more in TV dramas, because of the more dramatic story lines.

Prosthetic work is growing and so we need to train new people to build these amazing creations, I am a prosthetics artists but I also do sculpture, Maquette work (these are small figures that help the director, producers, Visual effects artists see what the character will eventually look like in many months time).

I've worked on the Brad Pitt Zombie film World War Z and even though most people thought that the zombies were all done in the computer that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the last third of the movie we use about 60 actors in full zombie prosthetics every day for months, we had a crew of over a 100 artists who applied make ups every day on this film and kept us employed for a long period of time.

Big movies like Star Wars, Marvel’s The Avengers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who and many, many more will keep people employed for years to come so the demand for more and more Prosthetics artists has never been bigger.


04 February 2017

Old School Bladder FX. 

I’ve been wanting to do an 80’s style Bladder Effect for a while now.

01 October 2016

Back in the summer of 2015 we got a call from local Manchester director Mat Johns, a super talented filmmaker about working on a zombie short film called A Father’s Day.

Masterclass - 1 week
START: 20-05-2019 - 24-05-2019

Injury & Body Wounds - 1 week
START: 03-06-2019 - 07-06-2019

Prosthetic & Make-up Fx - 6week
START: 02-09-2019 - 11-10-2019

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