Zombie Goggles

    Zombie Goggles
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    Thursday, October 2, 2014 :: Some samples of various steps involved in the process.


    Recently I was asked how these goggles (from Advice for Young Executives) were made. I said I would provide some kind of information on here about them. I used to teach, so I have a habit of going into excessive detail about whatever the topic might be. But I'll try to keep this as simple as possible.

    These goggles were inspired by a prosthetic makeup concept from "Night of the Living Dead" (the 90's remake - Makeup by Everett Burrell). The idea was that the zombies were given this 'dead eye' appearance by giving the actors prosthetic eyes and goggles instead of using their own eyes and contact lenses. I thought it would be interesting to explore this idea.

    I wanted goggles that you could see through. So I started with vacuforming (vacuum forming) thin sheets of plexiglas over wooden balls (1 inch diameter - roughly the size of an adult human eye). Then I began painting these forms (corneas) from the inside out, so to speak. I picked up on this idea from Dan Rebert a long time ago. Since these are supposed to look like they are decomposing, I decided I'd go with a textured appearance. If I made a few mistakes here and there, they can be attributed to the intended appearance of decay. For a more "living" appearance, a layered process mixing airbrush techniques with fine hand brush work is probably a good idea. The incorporation of a higher percentage of acrylic matte medium gives the paint job a layered, milky appearance.

    In one image, you might see markings with a sharpie. This is to help determine where to paint. These markings are on the outside of the eye. They are easily removed with denatured alcohol. After the inside of the eye is painted with acrylics (avoiding the iris), the insides can be coated with epoxy or envirotex (again, avoiding the iris). It's important to avoid the iris if your plan is to try and see out of these things.

    Next, a copy of a lifecast is made with the goggles in place so that a sculpture of a prosthetic piece can be made, that would fit over the goggles. The attempt again, here is to achieve a deadened facial (lack of) expression.

    Note: It should be duly noted that the objects described here are absolutely not contact lenses and should never be considered as such. If you try to shove objects like this into your eye, thinking you have made a contact lens, I would say you deserve the injuries you've brought upon yourself. The art and science involved in making contact lenses is a special and unique process unto itself and you should never attempt to make and apply your own custom made contact lenses unless you are a certified and licensed professional.

    2013.10.09 - sculpture for prosthetic is roughed in. Then form for flexible mold is sculpted over it. Jacket mold is then made.

    2013.10.10 - some jacket mold images.

    I included some images that describe some aspects of engineering a flexible mold. It's essential to create a facsimile of what the final flexible material (in this case TC-5050 Platinum Silicone) will become and then prepare a casing in which for it to exist. This silicone is rather rigid (it's like a vulcanized rubber car tire), so I am experimenting with using a little less material than usual. This will be about .25 inches thick, whereas I have been making some molds with this material a little thicker (3/8 of an inch). There are ridges along the side to aid in reinforcing the form and also to keep from trapping air. There are keys on the side to help register the flexible mold against the jacket. There are also slots sculpted so the mold can be easily pried apart during the initial demolding process. Popsickle sticks are shoved into the slots, one after the other and eventually, the mold begins to separate. It's important to avoid breaking the mold.

    The flat part of the jacket is an idea I stole from the master, Dick Smith. Forming the one side of a bowl mold like this makes working with it during casting much easier. This area is also going to become a spout for acceptance of mold making silicone. The back of the positive contains a handle (another Dick Smith idea), which makes casting and demolding a much smoother process. Raphael Cordero uses tin foil to separate elements when making molds of this type. I've heard of people doing this when making teeth, so I tried it out and it works much better than saran wrap.

    Note: Ralph Cordero's molds are incredible. His sculptures are really cool too!

    2013.10.19 - adding some more thin appliances before mold making. This other photo shows a cool technique where you melt the clay with a heat gun and then sculpt the rotten parts with a can of compressed air.

    2014.04.05 - An initial experiment involved Michael Davey's watermelon vinyl, a non-toxic water based vinyl. It's interesting, but it does move like a garbage bag. I scrapped that idea and went with the "Super Baldeez" vinyl, which is thinned with alcohol. This one came out almost perfectly. It's a bit translucent, but OK for the purposes I am using it for. The silicone is called DragonSkin, from Smooth-On. It has a plasticizer called Slacker. You can get a bunch of pigments for the silicone and it's a really great, easy to use system. With platinum silicones, you have to make sure you're not incorporating anything into the process that will cause a failure of the silicone to cure, such as tin silicones, sulphur clay (those are the main ones). Other impurities can get in the way sometimes.

    2014.10.02 - Shot video with prosthetic and other elements. Multiple camera angles. Advice for Young Executives: a Public Service Announcement

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