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Blog A Career as
a Special Effects Make-up Artist

A career as a Special Effects make-up artist usually involves transforming people into characters or creatures. When a director needs an actor to become a horrifying mutant, they turn to the talents of a special effects makeup artist. A special effects make-up artist will apply make-up on actors to help in the characters’ theatrical transformations. Good special effects make-up can extremely alter an actor’s appearance; making them look alien, supernatural or brutally injured. Special effects makeup artists spend a lot of their time with cosmetics to create bruises, cuts, blood, old age, deformities, mutations, and other characterizations.

Whether or not you decide to work independently or for a company, as a special effects makeup artists you will interact with directors and other members of the cast to help create realistic characters. Sometimes, it is helpful for a make-up artist to read the script and take notes for designing special effects makeup that matches the scriptwriter’s descriptions. This specialist makeup artist is responsible for creating the desired effect using makeup and prosthesis, which are usually created from latex, silicone, or rubber.

Make-up artists must take the actor’s complexion into consideration to be sure the make-up doesn’t irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. This is important because a makeup artist may need to use rubber, silicone or latex to create masks and other prosthesis.

Although computer created special effects can be amazing, makeup is still important in creating a genuine connection between actors and the environment around them. Realism is the goal of all special effects makeup artists for a true immersive film experience. Special effects makeup artists need all the same skills as traditional makeup artists; however they also need to be trained in other areas. Specialty makeup artists must be familiar with materials such as latex, rubber, fake  blood, and other items that are used to create characters.