We've all watched a zombie movie or all 37 Saw movies (or so it feels like that many), but while we enjoy the thrill of it, have you ever wondered how these zombies look so frighteningly real?
The magic behind it is SFX makeup!
If you're hearing this term for the first time, don't worry, you're not the only one!
In this article, I'll tell you all about SFX Makeup for Beginners and tips to help you get started with SFX Makeup.
So, keep reading! I promise it gets more interesting.
But before I go into further details, let's talk about what SFX makeup is all about.
What is SFX Makeup?
SFX makeup is used in movies, TV shows, and stage plays to mimic injuries and supernatural transformations, e.g., werewolves and deformities.
There are SFX makeup artists dedicated to this task, and these transformations usually take hours to complete. All that dedication makes the makeup look so realistic.
The artists use a combination of cosmetics and prosthetics like silicon and rubber. The next time your favorite character gets shot in a tv show you're watching, look at the wound. That's all SFX makeup. Shocking, right?
If SFX makeup is for you and you're ready to learn more, you've come to the right place! After reading this, you'll be closer to becoming a pro!
I've got 5 tips to get you started. Let's dive into it.
5 Tips to Start SFX Makeup
1. Educate Yourself
You must be thinking: do we have to study here as well? Well, duh. It's critical to learn SFX makeup professionally. I'll tell you why.
Much of the stuff used in SFX makeup has chemicals that could and will harm your client, your friends and family, and most definitely yourself! As an SFX artist, you NEED to know which products are safe to use and which aren't.
Also, people can be allergic to some ingredients used to create SFX looks, most notably...latex. If someone has a latex allergy, there are so many effects you cannot use. It's always best to know what all the ingredients are and what they do to avoid something like this.
There are lots of online makeup classes available to start learning about SFX makeup and becoming a pro at it. In-person courses are more challenging to find, depending on where you live. Los Angeles and New York, I would say, have the most I've seen in one area
2. Watch Tutorials!
Trust me on this; there's no better way to start learning SFX makeup quickly than watching tutorials. It's a proven fact people learn faster through visual learning! This is where the bulk of my training came from at the time of this writing.
The best thing about tutorials is they are readily available on YouTube, TikTok, and more, and all for free, too! All you have to do is pull out your SFX products and follow the tutorials step-by-step. The best thing is you can stop and rewind over and over and over and over and over...I mean, if you're like me anyways.
Online is also great; if you're self-conscious and shy about practicing in front of others like me. This way, you can practice in the comfort of your own room.
Many video tutorials are available, ranging from simple SFX looks to complicated ones created from scratch. Learning sure has been made 10x easy and more convenient through social media channels!
3. Invest in a Makeup Kit
Special prosthetics makeup can be intimidating for beginners, but don't worry, you don't have to start with those. You can start learning and creating looks with standard cosmetic products as well!
When learning something new, it's always a good idea to start with the basics and eventually move on to advanced makeup tools and techniques.
A common mistake beginners make is thinking they will learn more if they have more products to use. False! A lot of SFX makeup products can be costly as well.
Also, starting with advanced tools is NOT recommended as you may need help to handle them properly, which risks harming the client. (This is something I discuss in detail in the Educate Yourself section above!)
Not to mention these products can be expensive. Instead, invest in good-quality cosmetics you can use in your daily lives and for SFX practice. Save your cash! Buy extra blood and yellow pus. You'll need it!
4. Practice, Practice, and yep...Practice.
This totally sounds like a given, but I have to emphasize it. No matter all the tutorials and online classes you take, you will only improve if you practice the skills you've learned.
One of the best ways to practice is to ask your friends and family to take a little bit of their time for you and pretend they're your models! I am always asking everyone I know.
This way, you'll learn about different skin textures and how to apply SFX makeup on each skin type flawlessly. Believe me, this will come in handy in a world full of diverse skin types.
5. Build Your Network
This is important for a beginner in any new field, and the world of SFX makeup is no exception.
Two determining factors when hiring an SFX artist are their experience and portfolio. This could make it difficult for beginners to kickstart their new careers.
This is why networking is crucial for you. Not only will you connect with many professionals with years of experience, but you can also learn different tips and tricks from established artists! How cool is that?
Moreover, networking can help advance your career as well. Now, that's a win-win.
I hope you found these tips helpful and feel prepared to start learning SFX makeup.
It is a time-consuming skill to hone, but with patience and dedication, you can become an SFX professional, which could open many doors for your career!