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.
Makeup for our main villain starts with a vinyl bald cap. Here you can see the cap being fitted before application.
Once the bald cap is secured, and its edges blended into the skin, it’s painting time. First we cover the entire bald cap in red PAX paint. This creates an opaque layer over the transparent bald cap and provides a good base for skin-tone makeup. The bald cap is then thoroughly powdered.
The bald cap is now stippled with skin-tone makeup and blended into the actor’s skin. Once everything is blended, the bald cap is powdered once again.
With the bald cap completed, it is time to create the character’s many wounds. All wounds are individually sculpted in a 2-part platinum silicone on the actor’s body. Then the actor is off for a full-body airbrush treatment. During the airbrush process the actor’s body is painted white, anatomy is highlighted and shadowed, the entire body is speckled with different colors to break up the skin-tone, and many small veins are painted in.
Next we start painting all the wounds. Alcohol activated makeup (Skin Illustrator) is used to color the wounds and the surrounding skin. All wounds are then filled with gel blood, and a special drying blood (that dries crispy and cracked) is stippled and splattered around the edges.
The veins painted on this character are thick and contrasty to stand out under our filming conditions. If this were a photo shoot with studio lighting we would have finer skin detail like the final touched up photos below. Such fine detail would have been lost during filming.
And now… a finished zombie!