Last weekend, I went to the United Makeup Artists Expo - short UMA - at the Business Design Centre Islington. And I really have to say it was absolutely worth it.
Since I am an absolute #FaceOff - Fan, I took this chance to meet both judges, special effects MUA Glenn Hetrick as well as Creature & Concept Designer Neville Page who came from LA to attend this exhibition!
Both gave a great presentation about what they are doing and how they come up with concepts. I totally loved it. :)
So, beware, never judge anyone based on what you see on television.
Neville Page gave a pretty cool talk - I quickly want to share some key concepts with you - for those who want to be a Creature & Concept Designer ;).If you didn’t know, he created amazing creatures in Avatar as well as in Minority Report, Planets of the Apes, X-Men and many many more… To make is simple - he is pretty awesome!
So, which workflow is he going through when he is briefed to create fantasy creatures?
1) RESEARCH: in his words, it is one of the most essential things - he also says, don’t forget to be a bit old school and to go to library - you sometimes find pretty cool stuff as well. On a note, Neville studied all kinds of animals/insects etc, so he knows how animals work. Also, his inspiration is nature as he says, you will be surprised what cool stuff nature has come up with. So, look out for it and get inspired.
2) RESPOND: It’s all about ideas. Generate happy accidents and throw ideas together. Sometimes it can happen that you fall into a pattern and you don’t think outside the box anymore.
3) HAVE A CORE CONCEPT: You need to have a core concept about your creature. If you get briefed by producer, make sure, you give your creature your own spin. Think about how creatures can be mixed together, e.g. a frog and a bat. With the help of animation it will be easier for the producers to imagine it. Also, think about the merchandise which will be produced. As said before, do research and look at inspiration from nature, e.g. for colour concepts.
4) SHAPES & SILHOUETTES: To get the brief right, it helps to look together with the producer at Silhouettes of different creatures to get an idea what they are looking for. Is the creature bulky with big front feet, or slim? Once decided, the concept designer can start work on the details and has an idea where it should go.
5) FEATURES & FUNCTION: Look at how your creatures could walk or behave. Be sure you understand your creature in every single detail. You need to make it real so that it will “be” real int he movie and for the audience. For example, in Avatar, they built real models of the creatures to see if they worked in reality.
6) Humor: Don’t forget to see the fun in the creatures.
7) PERFORMANCE & PERSONALITY: You need to give your creature a character and a background story that it becomes alive - why it is the way it is. How does it live, why has evolution made it the way it is, etc.
To sum up, I think this is a really great insight of a workflow in the life of a successful creature and concept designer. I am pretty pleased that I can share this with you!
On a separate note, Celebrity Makeup Artist Gary Cockerill :D gave a really nice demonstration with a model (Victoria) who could easily be Jennifer Lawrence. Among many other great projects Gary worked together with Star Photographer Rankin. Gary is self-taught and successful. Respect for that! :)
Have fun checking out some pictures which I took during the exhibition - and besides these great guests and talks (I mention only 3 out of many!) - you could also buy loads of pretty cool things at a cheaper price. For professional MUA this was an absolute heaven! And additionally pretty creepy creatures were running around… ;) Looking forward to next year! Many thanks for the Expo and the guest talks, and as I said it was totally worth it!