Saturday, 14 December 2013

Face Casting Part One.

Its the start of our second year, the first practical lesson being Special effects where we got stuck straight into creating a face cast! This semester we are lucky enough to be getting taught by the incredibly talented Martin Hanson who is head of the moulding and casting department at Madame Tussaudes!!

Below are images showing the step by step process used to create a mould of my face then following that making a positive of that mould.

In a plastic bowl  i mixed 2-3 spatulas of part A and part B of the silicone rubber, roughly equal measures of both, after mixing this together well it will take about 4 minutes to set. 

Start by applying the silicone to the forehead with a brush, gently roll onto the face and let it naturally come down. Don't apply too much to the face or the weight of it may cause the mask to sag. 
Gently roll the brush over the eyes and try to avoid air bubbles. 
Do not completely cover the nostrils as the model will not be able to breathe.Get as close as possible but do not block them. 

Once the silicone has been applied allover the face, use the plaster bandage to create a case around it.

Always use warm water when using plaster bandage. 
Take a strip of plaster bandage, half it then half it again, dip it in the water ,take off the excess then apply to the face and smooth down into the natural contours of the face. Wherever there is rubber cover it with the plaster bandage. 
One the whole area is covered take one last piece of plaster bandage and double it lengthways, apply this from the chin to the forehead then smooth down and leave to fully set. 
This will take about 10-15 mins to set. 

Use a small wooden tool to break the seal between the skin and the silicone. Get the model to gently blow into the mould and gently move their face around by furrowing their eyebrows,this  will help the mould come away from the face. 

The next step is to take a lump of clay and flatten it down to the front of the plaster bandage section of the mould this will stop the plaster leaking out the nose of the mask. 
Take two more strips of clay and place on a wooden board on either side of the cast, this will help keep it still while you apply the plaster.

Apply vaseline around the edges of the plaster bandages. 
To mix the plaster fill a plastic bowl with cold water, slowly sprinkle the plaster evenly across the water one handful at a time without mixing, do this until it starts to sit on top of the water in little islands, once it's all absorbed, gently mix the plaster till it is all nice and smooth. 

There are two steps to applying the plaster.The first layer of plaster will pick up all the detail in the cast. 
Initially the plaster will resist the surface due to the oils on the silicone. 
Start by loading up a brush and paint the plaster into the mask, gently pushing it around until it builds up a nice creamy even layer until all the green underneath is covered up.
Once that is complete clean your brush and allow the first layer to set. 
After it has set, lightly spray the inside of the plaster the plaster with water, this is  so both layers of plaster stick together and don't crumble.

Using a brush apply another layer of plaster to the positive before adding the first piece of Scrim, this will help to add more strength to the positive. 
Overlap the scrim over the edges of the cast then Using the paintbrush add plaster on top of the scrim pressing into the contours of the face cast ensuring it is covering it completely and not creating and air bubbles. 
Using a brush apply another layer of plaster to the positive before adding the first piece of Scrim, this will help to add more strength to the positive. 
Overlap the scrim over the edges of the cast then Using the paintbrush add plaster on top of the scrim pressing into the contours of the face cast ensuring it is covering it completely and not creating and air bubbles. 
Using between 3-4 pieces of scrim cover the inside of the cast overlapping and covering generously in plaster. 
Leave it all to set for around 30 minutes before removing the positive from the cast. 

I really enjoyed this whole process and getting stuck straight into a new project straight away. I feel we really covered a lot in such a short lesson and i have picked up valuable skills that i can use right through my career. As we had Martin there for every step of the process there wasn't anything i really struggled with, he was incredibly helpful and patient with all our questions which made it so much more enjoyable.