We were recently tasked with constructing a zombie torso rod puppet for a film project, and as with most of our projects we wanted to share the creation process with you. (Especially with Halloween right around the corner) This is more of an overview of the creation process than a tutorial, but please feel free to post any questions below.
We were recently given an interesting challenge: Create a rat prop that has basic articulation, can be ripped apart at the midline, and would look realistic on a dimly lit set while being devoured by a hungry zombie. Normally this would be an easy task: Sculpt the rat, make some molds, cast the rat, build an armature, articulate it, and add the finishing touches (hair, teeth, claws, etc). The challenge was that we had less than 3 days, working only 2-3 hours a night due to our existing workload. We love a good challenge!
The clay we used For this project was Chavant NSP soft. This softer clay does not hold a lot of detail, but allows for quick sculpting of a basic form. Because time would not allow for great detail, we went for speed. The body and head were sculpted first, and the ears, feet, and tail were added later.
As some of you may know, we are in the process of creating a zombie animatronic for an upcoming zombie film. This weekend we kicked off construction by sculpting a zombie tongue in Chavant NSP clay and pouring up a basic plaster box mold. This week we should run the first casting of the tongue in a special blend of latex. Once the latex tongue has been cast, it will be servo articulated and ready for installment in the final animatronic. Here are some photos of the initial sculpt.
We were recently on the set of a zombie film doing special effects makeup on several characters. This post will show some behind the scenes photos we took while on set, and briefly cover the makeup application for one character.
Here is a quick look at our makeup kit all laid out at the start of day 1. Things will not be this organized again until the start of day 2. If you have any questions about anything you see in this kit, please feel free to ask them in the comments below.
As those of you who follow us on Facebook may know, we recently purchased a golf cart from Disneyland in a Cast Member auction. Our plan is to convert the vehicle into a fun art car that can be used at public events.
Here is our first draft of the “Evil Clown Ice Cream Truck” (proper name to come later. Suggestions welcome!) conceptual design. This design would have outward facing bench seats on either side in the back, fluorescent fur upholstered interior, internal black lights, color cycling lights under the vehicle, a sound system for music, and a PA system for sound effects and evil ice cream truck tunes.
We also plan to eventually put a fire-breathing clown head on the roof, but that will be a later addition.
What else do you think we should add?
Stay tuned for further updates on this project, and please let us know what you think!
Today we have released the Beta version of “Ghost Steps,” a web-based application that will allow you to create sequences of ghostly footprints that can be projected on any surface.
With this application you can have a ghostly apparition walk up your wall and across the ceiling, or wind through your creepy graveyard scene. Once your projector is setup you can quickly plot where the ghost will walk. You can even have the footprints move around obstacles, or start and end at specific landmarks.
A full overview of this application’s controls and interface can be found here.
Many of the features we previously planned on adding (saving and loading sequences, triggering the sequence via key-press or a timer, custom colors, and different footprint styles) have already been added. We will continue to update this application with bug fixes and new features based on your input.
This application is still in Beta, and its functionality will continue to expand based on our testing and guest feedback.
Please let us know what you think!
Ghost Steps by Vex FX is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.vexfx.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be obtained by contacting us at http://www.vexfx.com/contact/.
If you don’t see a product style or color you like, let us know and we can easily add more options!
Corpsing is a technique for transforming a skeleton or skull prop into a corpse by adding tissue, ligaments, veins, or other anatomical details. This tutorial will cover some of the basic techniques we used when corpsing several skulls for one of our projects.
First you need to decide what style of corpsed prop you want to create. This usually depends on cause of death, timeline, and environmental conditions. A skull that has been soaking in a swamp for 3 months will look quite a bit different than one that has been mummifying in a desert for 20 years. Once you have picked a basic style you can determine color pallet, textures and materials.
Gathering the Materials:
The materials you will need depend on the style of the prop you will be creating. This example will cover a basic skull in the mid-to-late stages of decomposition, with teeth and a single eye.
- Model skull – The skulls used in this tutorial are the Lindberg pirate skull model
- Acrylic denture teeth
- Glass or plastic taxidermy eye – optional
- Cotton balls – the type that can be unwrapped
- Cyanoacrylate glue – AKA Super glue, Zap-a-Gap, etc.
- Tissue paper / Paper towels
- Liquid latex
- Acrylic paints
- Chip brushes
- Detail brushes
- Sculpting tool, pallet knife, or popsicle stick.
- Foam makeup sponges
- Hand-held rotary tool- Dremel tool
- 2 part “5 minute” epoxy – I suggest a brand that dries clear
- Safety glasses
One of our projects for 2011 was a custom Plague Doctor mask. Because we have received so many questions about the construction of this mask, we have decided to release a tutorial that covers the basic steps for creating such a mask.
It is with great pleasure that I announce the official launch of VexFX.com.
After months of quietly coding and designing, VexFX.com is finally ready to be seen by the world. Please feel free to comment below and let us know what you think.
Now that we have finished building the site, we can focus our efforts on generating more content and building our product base, so stay tuned for some exciting updates!