Lord of the Rings Makeup

Lord of the Rings Makeup

Posted by Chris Baker (Dr. Alginate) on Oct 24th 2018

WETA Workshop in New Zealand did the most of the special effects makeup for the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

They used Accu-Cast alginates to make the head casts of the principle actors on which to build the amazing prosthetics. They used our BodyGel (880) formula primarily because of its ideal working and setting properties.

With Accu-Cast, the molding and casting process was the easiest bit. The real art comes in imagining and sculpting the prosthetics. Here's how its done:

1. A concept artist does a detailed drawing of the character.

2. The sculptor uses clay to sculpt the final shape of the character's face/head/neck onto the head casting.

3. A silicone mold is made over the clay sculpture.

4. The silicone mold is removed and the clay is scraped off the head casting.

5. The silicone mold is placed back on the head mold, leaving a space where the clay used to be.

6. A latex foam is injected into the space.

7. Once set, the silicone mold is removed.

8. The foam appliance is removed from the head casting.

9. The appliance is painted and hair is applied.

10. The foam appliance is glued directly to the actor's face- usually multiple pieces go into the final outcome.

This process can take up to 4 hours and must be repeated every day of shooting. No wonder these films have such astronomical budgets.

WETA Workshop deserves enormous credit for their landmark vision and work- including having the good sense to work with Accu-Cast alginates.

WETA's other credits include "The Hobbit", "District 9", "Thor Ragnarok", "Spiderman2", "Narnia", "King Kong", "Blade Runner 2049", "Elesium", "The Ghost in the Shell" and "Thunderbirds". Be sure to visit their website if you are into this sort of thing. 

https://www.wetaworkshop.com