technical arts and special effects


Assembling Boudica

Today, I finally brought all of my components together and set Boudica up in the studio. This was a very enjoyable yet nerve-wracking process, as it was great to see everything working together but terrifying in case something went wrong!

Once I had assembled everything, I spent a few hours doing any finishing touches- I spent quite a long time curling and knotting hair to give that all important windswept look!

By the time I had finished, I felt exhausted, but very happy. It really is an incredible feeling to see something that you have worked on flat out for a year come together, and I feel very proud of myself. 


Thursday 15th March 2012: ‘Brave’

I was lucky enough to go to a preview screening of Pixar’s new film, ‘Brave’, and was very much inspired by the conceptual design.

The story follows a young Scottish princess called Merida who doesn’t fit the typical ladylike mould that is expected of her. She rides horses, she uses a bow and arrow, and she likes to explore.

The beautiful design involved in the film along with Merida’s character design has got me thinking about the presentation of Boudica.

The way the hair has been animated is very inspiring- it almost has a life of its own. This brings me back to Dio’s description of Boudica, ’a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips’. I am definitely going to use pictures of Merida’s hair as reference when thinking about Boudica’s! Great inspiration. 

Thursday 23rd June 2011: First Third Year Tutorial...

Towards the end of second year, we were all given tutorials with Allan in order to brainstorm our ideas and decide whether they were practical or not. 

I really felt that my tutorial went well. It took me a while to get all my ideas for the piece across and to be able to come to an agreement about what would be feasible and what would not. I definitely knew prior to the tutorial what I would be comfortable about doing for my third year work, and I was glad to see that Allan agreed with me. It would simply be too much work for me, if I was to create an entire realistic body sculpt, as well as making a costume and having to punch a full head of hair, and so we agreed on aspects that would reduce my workload as well as ensuring I would be able to produce the best work possible. Upon leaving the tutorial I felt very positive about commencing the year to come, and ready to start my work towards creating Boudica.

One of the questions that Allan asked that stuck with me the most was ‘Why Boudica?’, and the more I spoke, the more I realised that my answer was justified:

I want to encapsulate the strength of the female in the form of someone who we can recognise, and who we can relate to. I have chosen the identity of Boudica because she, as a ruling figure, has marked history with her strong battlefield tactics, and how she stood, in the midst of adversity, against such a mighty opposing force.

To condense, some of the issues that I noted down while we spoke were:

Possibilities with presentation and what materials I would use to cast the figure in. Allan gave some good ideas of how I could present my work:

  • Finishing the figure in a bronze style effect, featuring gems for eyes, etc. This would emulate the style of a Classical sculpt- but this I feel would be better if I was willing to sculpt the clothes as well as an entire body. This effect would look very good indeed if I felt accomplished enough to do so- but as well as this downside, I really want to include some factors that involve fabrication and costume making also.
  • Hyperreal Madame Tussauds Waxwork style: This is the path that I would really like to go down, mainly as it would encompass everything that I would like to include in my work for third year. Whilst I would be setting myself a large challenge sculpting wise for the head, I would be minimising my workload in other areas. For example, the body sculpt underneath the costume would not need to be preciously detailed, simply because it would not be seen. The body could be seen as a 'clothes horse’ in a way- it will present the costume in a way that will look natural to the contours of the body. The only factors that I would have to worry about is the extremities of the form, for example: the breasts, the bottom, and so on. 
  • What scale to work on: We spoke about what would be the best for the situation that Boudica would be presented in. Some of the ideas included half life- which I felt would not fully embody Boudica’s stature, quarter scale- which I felt the same about, and more interestingly, larger than life- which would look very impressive indeed, but may limit the amount of detail I could put in, simply because of restraints on time and studio space. Finally we decided that the best size would of course, be life size, in order to capture Boudica’s towering stature. I can imagine Boudica to be quite tall- and so I feel having a life size figure would be quite imposing. 

Allan then put forward another very important question: what exactly are Boudica’s defining characteristics? In choosing a famous historical figure for my piece, I definitely would have to make her identifiable to an audience, and in order to do so, there would be certain deciding factors that I would need to think about.

In being able to use Dio’s description and some obvious facts that I thought about when considering the appearance of a typical person from the Iron Age, I was able to choose some main points that I could incorporate into my piece:

  • Multicoloured tunic. I could definitely think about factors like including tartans and basic patterns into the fabric that I choose. I definitely need to make the fabric chosen look as if it is handmade, and therefore believable that this is an Iron Age costume.
  • Including expensive items such as furs would denote Boudica’s royal status. I could definitely bring in trimming and a large collar to a cloak, perhaps, in order to include fur. I need to look into tracking down real rabbit/fox skins, and what would have been typical of the area of the time. Ideally (depending on budget) I would like to include as much fur as possible.
  • A strong stance. Going by Boudica’s story, I need to be able to portray her as a formidable woman, and I would be able to depict this by the way she is standing, and her facial expression. 
  • Wielding a pike/spear. This definitely goes back to Dio’s description. I do not want to overarm Boudica with weapons, as I feel this will take away from her strength. She definitely does not need an arsenal of weapons in order to appear strong, but, on the other hand, I would like to include the use of a spear in order to add to Boudica’s stance. I think this would allow me to be able to change her stance into something quite fluid in motion. I am definitely thinking about how I do not wish Boudica’s positioning to be rigid, and one way to combat this would be to have her stepping forward, one foot in front of the other, using the pike as a balancing tool. The back foot would be lifted, with just the ball of the foot upon the floor.

Questions then moved on to how exactly I was going to make the figure, and we both agreed that the best way to combat this was by combing a variety of techniques and materials:

  • Very much mirroring Tussauds’ techniques, the best combination of materials for the body would be casting the clay sculpt of the body in resin, and using wax for the head and the hands. 
  • The making process wil combine both sculpting and life casting. This is partly to speed up the process, and also to minimise on the amount of sculpting where it is not necessary. I will not need to worry about a huge amount of detail on areas that will be covered by costume- I just have to worry about making the sculpt of the visible neck areas and the head as good as possible.
  • Along with this, maybe thinking about sculpting on top of a plaster face cast in order to bring in a seamless quality to the sculpture. I am not so keen on this idea because I would really like to try my best at sculpting at least some of the face. I know that this will not affect my final mark, but I do want to set at least some sort of sculpting challenge. When I sculpted a head in second year, I really enjoyed the process, and I wish to carry this on again, making the sculpt this time stronger. 
  • Hair: I can use a combination of hair punching and the use of a wig to minimise the amount of work I have to do for the hair. I can punch in the hair line that will be visible, thus blending in a wig further back upon the head.

All in all, I left the meeting very optimistic and looking forward to working towards starting my work. I feel as if i I can realise this piece of work if I work hard enough, and now I am eager to start something!


4th day of portrait sculpting. We’re being taught by Steve Swales, principal sculptor at Madame Tussauds (the guy in the first picture), from now until christmas. I’ve never sculpted like this before and it’s very exciting and interesting. I’m learning a lot and I  feel that I’ve started to capture our model’s likeness a bit :)


Wednesday 16th November 2011: Head Sculpting

Today I drafted in yet more of the head sculpt, and so far I am very happy with the results. I need to pay attention to the positioning of the chin, and of the cheekbones. I do want Boudica to look imposing, but I do not want her to look manly!

I also added some eyeballs that were easily made by using some Polytek fast cast resin in a pre-made silicone mould. This is for me to be able to sculpt the eyelids easily directly onto the eyeball.  

I added the blue fabric to allow me to visualise how the hair will fall around the face, further into the making.

Click on the photographs above for a larger view, and use the keyboard arrow buttons to cycle through the images. 

I’m starting to get really excited about “the design and make-project” that we’re going to start after christmas which basically translates to “make whatever the fuck you want-project”. We get to work completely individually as well so it’s all up to us sdfghjkl god damn it yes I need this.

I don’t know what I want to make yet tho, but I’m really starting to like the idea of getting into prosthetic make-up.

it’s weird because I’ve never been into prosthetics before but doing all of this sculpting I’ve kinda started to enjoy the feel for clay and altering the human form/face etc. Wow think about all the cool costume possibilities aahhh!

Oh, I think one of the reasons for not liking prosthetics is because I’m allergic to latex, and growing up I’ve just always been bitter about not being able to wear any (since most of them are made with that material). But now I can make my own in silicone omfg! Suddenly I’m really excited about this stuff <3

handpainteddream  asked:

Hey so I'm applying for the course you're doing this year and I wondered if you had any advice? Particularly about portfolios D: Also I love your work xXx

If you don’t have any sculpture-type work in it then consider maybe getting some clay/paperclay/plastelina and making some small models/sculptures (of the human figure or aliens or animals or skeletons or w/e you like really it’s up to you .3.) and stuff! If you can show that you have a passion for making and have some experience with it through your portfolio that is great :D Also progress pictures and sketches that shows your idea from concept to finished c:

When I applied I included pictures of cosplays and props and things that I had made before, as well as some other works. Really anything that you’ve done that is related to model-making, prosthetics, molding/casting, puppetry/puppetmaking/, sculpture, replica-making, props, armour/weapon-type things, woodworking, maybe jewellery even?, etc. As long as it’s creative it might be relevant. 

But keep in mind not to have like a million pages. Include the things that you’re happy with c:

look-behind-you-torak  asked:

HI, slightly weird but I think you're doing the exact course that I'm looking at for next year and I was just wondering what you thought of it? :3

(okay I’ll answer this one because aaa <3)

That’s really cool! I can just say that I’m really happy to be doing this course and if you’re like me and have a passion for making then def consider it!

it’s not too stressful of a course and the atmosphere is very chill compared to a lot of other Uni’s. You have a lot of freedom to choose when you want to come in and work, or you can even work on your projects at home sometimes (as long as the work gets done, and this will only work for some projects!). It’s easier to get stuff done at Uni though were you have more resources available, so I do recommend going in every day if you can.

The course itself is very prestigious (?) I think, like it is highly recognised in the sfx industry and most people who are established professionals are or have colleagues who are linked to the course or done it themselves. It’s been around for many years and the tutors there are very skilled and friendly people.

The only drawback is it is terribly expensive as you have to cover all of the tools and materials yourself. But if you’re ready for it and willing then go for it!

If you have more questions about the course feel completely free to ask <3

Monday 13th February: Dissertation Completed!

I think it is important for my Dissertation to be taken into consideration when understanding my studio work, and so here it is, after months of work and many sleepless nights. 

I am really proud of my dissertation, and have taught myself a lot in terms of being able to contextualise Boudica correctly, as well as being able to stand her against another famous female character, Grendel’s mother.

I have learnt that before I engaged in study, a lot of my misconceptions about both Boudica and Grendel’s mother were largely the stereotypes that I have gone on to discuss and deconstruct in this dissertation. This project has vastly changed my understanding for the better, and furthermore, in the discussion, I discuss how propaganda has lead us to these misconstrued beliefs about both Boudica and Grendel’s mother.


Monday 27th June to Monday 5th July 2011
Trip to Turkey- Visiting Ephesus

When I was on holiday in Turkey, I visited the ancient ruins of Ephesus, on the Western coast. It was great to see some classical sculpture in its original setting, and despite not having a huge amount of relevance to my work because of time differences and location, it taught me a lot about the presentation of classical sculpture. 


Saturday 23rd July: A Trip to the Saatchi Gallery
“The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture" 

It is always a good idea to visit new exhibitions, and so along with some friends, I visited the newest show at the Saatchi Gallery. The show features up and coming sculpture from new artists, and it was interesting to see.

I am not a very big fan of modern art, and I found quite a lot of the exhibits tedious. I felt as if a lot of the work seemed to appear as if it was not complete: the finishes chosen were not particularly well polished, and I feel as if they could have been done to a higher standard. The photos above are a selection of works that I did indeed find intriguing, despite them not bearing a lot of relevance to my work. 

Out of all of the exhibits, I found the large scale figures of the two men the most interesting because of the use of scales that had to be used . They are not hyperreal, but they are not abstract either. It was intriguing to see how the garments had to be upscaled, and how they remained believable despite their size.  


Thursday 14th July 2011: A Trip to the Science Museum

Although I knew that I would not find a lot of things that would be of much relevance at the Science Museum, I was really pleased to find a range of faces depicting basic human emotions. 

These models were made by scanning an actress’s face in 3D.

I definitely need to think about what emotions I will portray when I sculpt Boudica’s face.  

solgaleo20  asked:

What is your field of study in uni? I'm sorry if this was answered before, but I just see you doing so many different things and it's a tad confusing sometimes uvu

this is the course I’m doing c:

Some of the things we do through the years is replica work, puppetmaking, lifesculpting, portrait sculpting, molding/casting, woodworking, metalworking and prosthetic makeup :D

Basically things that involve the making of stuff and fabricating things for movies/theatre/advertisement/art purposes etc. All the kinds of special effects and props that are not CGI haha 8)