Ever wondered how filmmakers and make-up artists bring your favorite characters to life? From clothes to make-up, films like Guardians of the Galaxy or Harry Potter have created unreal characters like Dobby the Elf, Gamora, or Zombies! This unique career is called special effects makeup. Special effects makeup artists are extremely talented who either make you look like the most beautiful person in the world but also the scariest, half-eaten creatures or even ghosts. If you are someone who is amped up about getting into the world of entertainment with your make-up skills then this blog can help you explore how to become a special effects makeup artist (aka prosthetic makeup artist)!
This Blog Includes:
- What is Special Effects Makeup?
- Eligibility Criteria to SFX Make-up Artist
- Career as a Special Effects Makeup Artist
- Indian Colleges Offering SFX Make-up Courses
- Foreign Colleges offering SFX Make-up Courses
- List of Online Courses
- Syllabus for Special Effects Makeup Courses
- Skills required by a Special Effects Makeup Artist
- Special Effects Makeup Kit
- Salary of a Special Effects Makeup Artist
- Job Prospects
What is Special Effects Makeup?
A special effects makeup artist is a person who is a highly skilled professional who is called upon when something unusual has to be done. Special effects makeup is also called prosthetic makeup which is used to create advanced effects by using prosthetic sculpting, molding, and casting techniques to make fictional characters like Zombies and Ghosts come to life. SFX makeup artists work tirelessly on making the unreal believable; from faking gunshots to creating monsters like Medusa, they can achieve these feats with the use of make-up!
Eligibility Criteria to SFX Make-up Artist
Although there are no rigid eligibility criteria to become a special effects makeup artist there are certainly other factors and qualifications that one must observe:
- A diploma or certificate in professional makeup/cosmetology
- Obtaining on-the-job experience
- Post secondary certificate in professional makeup/cosmetology(optional)
- Basic knowledge on cosmetic applications,wigs, masks,hairdressing,temporary prosthetic applications and costuming.
- You should have a creative mind with a steady hand, be good at decision making and immaculate communication skills and passion for the theatrical.
- Lastly, and most importantly, you should take formal training and strive to have many years of practice to master your art as a special effects makeup artist.
Career as a Special Effects Makeup Artist
The evolution of the makeup industry has been unreal. Over the years makeup and its application have not only changed but also now the makeup industry has opened up a pool of opportunities and jobs for creative and hard-working minds. Now that more sci-fi and superhero films are being made, hence has increased the demand for skillful special effects makeup artists.
A special effects makeup artist applies prosthetic makeup on actor’s bodies and transforms them into their on-screen characters. The directors and scriptwriters explain what has to be done and the special effects makeup artist delivers( sometimes they even read the scripts themselves for inspiration). These makeup artists can work independently or with assistant directors. Being a special effects makeup artist only offers a large scope in theatre, television, film & fashion industry, concept shoots with photographers, themed shows for designers, ramp makeup but also provides you an opportunity to display your artistic talent.
Also Read: Know All About Bachelors in Fine Arts
Indian Colleges Offering SFX Make-up Courses
Indian cinema has also evolved to a point that the need for special effects makeup artists is increasing by the hour. The best schools in India that are specializing in teaching these courses are as follows:
- Euro Chroma Institute of Cosmetology
- SMA Makeup Academy
- Lakme Academy
- The Institute of Makeup Artistry
- ISAS -International Beauty School
Foreign Colleges offering SFX Make-up Courses
Some of the best colleges offering Special Effects Makeup courses abroad are:
- Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas
- La Belle Beauty School
- La Belle Beauty Academy
- Joe Blasso Makeup Artist Training Centre
- Elegance International
- Cinema Makeup School
- Avi Career Training
- Stanford University
- Harvard University
List of Online Courses
There are many institutes that even provide online courses for certification as a prosthetic makeup artist. Some of the schools are:
- Makeup academy professional course international specialFX makeup
- Academy of film fashion and design- course in special effects(FX) from udemy
- Global edulink – special effects advanced course
- Tom Savini’s masterclass
- Londom academy of freelance makeup
Syllabus for Special Effects Makeup Courses
Some of the basic concepts that are covered under a special effects makeup course are:
- Bald cap fabrication and application
- Theatrical makeup(colour theory and anatomy)
- Blood tubing
- Hair laying,dressing and construction
- Prosthetic design ,fabrication and application]
- Cuts,wounds and burn effects
- Character aging makeup
- Working special FX
- Special FX photoshoot
Skills required by a Special Effects Makeup Artist
Apart from all the technical and practical skills, a special effects makeup artist also has to have some extra soft skills in general which helps with the character and confidence-building of an aspiring special effects makeup artist. Some of these soft skills are:
- Artistic excellence in understanding the perspective of directors
- Good communication skills
- Good imagination and an intuitive mind
- Keen observation
- Immense patience
- High professionalism
- Hard working attitude
- Positive attitude towards constructive criticism
Special Effects Makeup Kit
To become a successful makeup artist it is important to be particular and disciplined when it comes to working ethics. First on the list of being disciplined is to have a well-organized makeup kit with all the essentials required and not being a miser when it comes to makeup products. To begin with, the makeup kit of a special effects makeup artist has prosthetic products like wax, latex, artex, bald cap, a good selection of makeup brushes, and applicators.
Molding clay and blood are the most important component of the kit to make fake blood and bruises on an actor’s face. Lastly, some form of glue is needed for sticking accessories to the model’s faces.
Salary of a Special Effects Makeup Artist
The salary of special effects makeup artists depends on various factors like work- experience, demand, and customized rates for freelancing. But let’s look at the average structure.
|Years of experience||Salary|
|0-1||$200-$500 (INR 14,838 to INR 37,095)|
|3-5||$500-$1000 (INR 37,095 to INR 74,190)|
|Many years of experience||$69000-$100,000 annually (INR 51,19,158 to INR 74,19,020)|
- Movie Makeup Artists
- Special FX artists for production companies,theaters,medical institutions and theme parks
- Special effects makeup assistant
If you have a creative eye and enjoy doing makeup you should definitely go ahead to pursue a special FX makeup artist as a career. This line is very dynamic with a good payroll. Not everybody is capable of being a special effects makeup artist so if you have got the talent for it, you should definitely monetize it by gaining knowledge and experience. Do share with us if this blog was informative for you or not. For more exciting career opportunities, follow Leverage Edu on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and LinkedIn.