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The Art of Making Fake Faces

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Added by Mel in Variety


Take these stories at (fake) face value. In this reel, we learn how artists restore the faces of the deceased, craft mind-blowingly realistic masks of faces belonging to the likes of Walter White and Mike Tyson, breathe life into the mugs of puppets from “Star Wars,” and build emotive alien and gorilla animatronic faces.





Video Script:: 

[Music] embalming students have to understand the importance that every face is different Morgan Freeman square face Abraham Lincoln oblong face Kanye West oval face my name is James Edward Smith jr. I'm an instructor and clinical director at Dallas Institute a funeral service and I currently instruct restorative art restorative art class provides a skill set to be able to take a deceased person who has experienced trauma to the head and/or face and restore those features in that face so that the family may have an option for an open casket viewing or visitation in a fifth quarter the students are tasked with reproducing a sculpture of a person that they choose and the anatomy has to be accurate students generally picked celebrities you know they're popular faces and students tend to want to try to recreate those from our restorative art project I did Jennifer Aniston Jack white Viola Davis Frieda calif i decided to do david lynch taking on the assignment requires each of the students to understand the proportions for the features of the face here in school because it translates to what may happen in the actual preparation room it is an acquired skill the more you practice the more proficient the better you're going to become the expectation of the family is that this is something we can sometimes do right away but we have to take into account the amount of trauma that the face has sustained we need to have as much care when handling the deceased as if they were in the hospital under the care of a doctor I am very passionate about restorative art because I believe it's important for people to have the best memory picture possible when it's time to say goodbye we're tasks as in Bombers to help families have the option no matter the cause of death to say goodbye to mom or dad or brother or sister [Music] faces are the most important subject matter in art it's a never-ending source of material when you put on one of my masks you become somebody different you start to embody that character and have a lot of fun with it my name is Landon Meyer and I make disturbingly realistic masks I never thought I was gonna make a living doing masks I was a picture framer loan officer pizza delivery driver and then I got laid off I've always been interested in doing something that's like really surreal and nightmarish so it was more or less an experiment that took off I am the only person out there that's doing hyper realistic lightness masks I'm kind of this weird mad scientist down in the basement I start off getting lots of reference material the hardest part is doing the sculpture that can take anywhere from four days to a year but once the sculpt is done and I have a mold it's about a one week process to make a mask they were ungodly expensive they ranged $500 and up and sometimes even high as $7,500 over the years I've made approximately 25 different designs and I've produced with my own hands over a thousand masks what I make I like to consider wearable art these are super realistic sculptures you can put over your head and where people just seem to have this astonished reaction to masks that's what I love about him it was a dark time for Star Wars when CG characters started popping into every corner of the series but before George R stumbled into our collective consciousness Star Wars was all about puppets which brings us to this guy I'm Dave Barclay I'm a puppeteer and puppet builder an animatronic effects supervisor you might recognize Dave better under 200 pounds of fiberglass and latex because he was one of the puppeteers inside Jabba the Hutt but to play the most notorious gangster on Tatooine you got to start somewhere and Dave well he got his big break with a little green man [Music] Notah was famously puppeteered by Frank Oz the legend behind Cookie Monster and Grover show you here and far but Yoda was a complicated puppy and it took four to five people working different body parts to bring him to life Dave's job was controlling Yoda's eyes and ears there's a sequence when Yoda is flooding mark with a stick saying where he was what he was doing and I'm doing a little squint and and subtle control on the eyes yep right there that's me doing the eyes there towards the end of the filming on Empire Strikes Back Frank Oz was performing Yoda and it became clear if he'd had to move on to another film and he wasn't going to be available so they needed someone to take over from Yoda and Frank nominated me I was 19 years old so suddenly there I am with with Yoda even a 19 years old Dave's Yoda scenes blended perfectly with Frank Oz that was Dave did you guys see that let's take one more Dave did such a good job they called him back and asked him to run a new puppet called jabba the hutt jabba the hutt was probably the most complicated and sophisticated animatronic puppet that anyone had ever tried to build and it took six to seven people to operate inside Jabba was very claustrophobic very close one person doing the left hand the head movement and the tongue another puppeteer doing the mechanical tail another puppeteer doing the breathing on the air bladders I did Jabba's right hand and I did his jaw and then I provided the voice onstage my voice doesn't make it to scream but if you turned up on set will hear this sort of voice where's my talk as a child they weren't really any movies that had puppeteers in them there was a little bit here and there but there were no solid characters like Yoda and being part of the Yoda team which really was the first performance animatronic in movies was the start of this huge growth that lasted about twenty years and as a puppeteer and the puppet maker and someone who loves the movies it was I was in there exactly the right place at the right time I've had a wonderful career doing what I adore so I'd feel very lucky and privileged [Music] was our first feature of Point Break did we do that before rumors not officially yet right so as a company tremors would be the first technically the cash future but gasps I don't know someone should Google that are you going to ask us questions or did you want us to start talking did you introduce each other I would love to I would like to introduce you to Tom Woodruff jr. who is the co-founder of amalgamated dynamics I'd like to introduce you to Alec Gillis he's the co-founder of avi home of the oscar-winning creature effects team when people think of practical effects creatures you think of non computer-generated characters we've been lucky to be involved with some of the biggest and best of those types of monsters we did the worms and tremors we did the fat makeups of Tim Allen in the Santa Clause all the practical animals in Jumanji we've done the alien we've done the predator with our ship troopers I wasn't done you can keep going buddy and of course there's always the gorilla cut right now that's perfect right now we cut putting the gorilla costume we started performing own creatures because we both have this sort of observation of stuntmen despite their talents and their skills them going into a creature suit and not really knowing how to make a creature suit work I would be very weird for us to just say we're gonna build something and then bring it to set and say now what are you hungry that's some foodie you hungry if you're a digital animator you build the character and you follow through and you make it move and you bring it to life so that's our philosophy is the final step is performance because that's where it lives you want to try a little tiny piece here go ahead what do you think you want some more hey hey hey listen listen I could get you fresh bread I could I could get you fresh bread tremors is an example of a film that was from the pre-digital era and if you look at it the practical effects they've stood the test of time and we're proud of them digital effects can do things that we can't possibly do practical effects have a presence to them that even the best CGI work gets close to but doesn't completely achieve in other words there's more emotion I believe to a practical creature than to a digital creature wave to the camera and say goodbye bye bye bye [Music] he's so temperamental


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