Focus Challenge

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Face Off Season 10 Episode 10: Cyclops!

Published March 18, 2016 by vfdpixie

This week, the remaining 5 artists headed back to the lab to find McKenzie with a selection of gruesome, otherworldly eyeballs in apothecary jars.  They had to create their own Cyclops character in the tradition of other Greek mythological creatures like the Kraken and Medusa.  They were all really excited for this Focus Challenge, and would be working with models 6’4 to 7 feet tall for that extra special cyclopean terror.  Their guest judge on the reveal stage would be Douglas Smith who played Tyson the Cyclops in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.

Mel got a more human-looking eyeball and decided to create a human/husky hybrid crossbred for the military.  She had trouble with the eye placement and tried to make it look natural.  Mr. Westmore suggested she veer away from the dog idea, since it could look silly.  He told her to work on the jowls more, and she came up with a more alien look.  She also attempted to create a Mohawk with a bald cap ala Dick Smith and Taxi Driver.  It didn’t quite work, and the eye looked googly.  She tried putting a gloss on the paint job for more dimension, but in her words, it was a “disaster”.  The judges laughed when they saw the character, but it wasn’t supposed to be funny.  There were too many strange shapes for them, and they didn’t like the jowls.  Glenn thought there were too many ideas going on, Neville thought it was silly, but Douglas thought it was an interesting idea.  She was in bottom looks.

Rob picked a brilliant blue eye with a pupil that made him think of an aquatic creature.  He created a cyclops that forged Poseidon’s trident.  Rob used an eye form and screws to create a permanent socket for the eye in the mold.  All the artists used this technique for their creations.  He decided to move the eye to the mouth area,  but realized that it didn’t work.  He had to start over 3 hours into the challenge, and was panicked.  Mr. Westmore suggested he make the mouth bigger and widen the eye.  There was also trouble with Rob seeing the symmetry in the makeup, so Yvonne helped him.  He felt pressured because he’s been in top looks so often he had to maintain his standing.  He was the last to go into the mold room, and Melissa was good enough to help him get the clay out of his mold.  His paint job involved a bright yellow and blue, which he liked, in fact, it was his favourite paint job so far.  He added quills that struggled to stay put, but the final makeup was really great.  Douglas thought the character looked regal and scary at the same time, and the judges loved the colour combo.  Neville thought there was a strong silhouette, form and graphics in the makeup, and this put Rob in top looks.

Walter picked a pink and purple eye.  His son of Hades would be a demigod.  He created wrinkles around the eye so the model could see, but that would come back to haunt him later.  Mr. Westmore suggested a lavender skin tone, and Walter added quills as well to his makeup.  He was first in the mold room, and practiced his painting techniques to get ahead of the game, but the bald cap wouldn’t stay down.  He also had an issue matching the body paint with the face, and took a risk because this was a Focus Challenge for the face, so he wasted time with the body painting.  The judges thought the wrinkles didn’t make sense, and they saw the lifting bald cap.  They thought it was a good attempt, but some anatomical issues made the eye look wrong.  He would be in bottom looks.

Melissa picked a reptilian eye.  She went with a reptilian monster warrior, using the eyelash viper as a reference.  She had always wanted to do a cyclops and a reptile makeup, so she naturally combined the two.  Mr. Westmore told her to keep the base coat of her paint job lighter so you could see all the detail of her sculpting.  She used yellows and greens to lighten up the paint, and also pulled from the reticulated python for a pattern.  She did an incredible job!  The judges were wowed by all the work she did in such little time.  Doug loved the hole detailing on the sides of the character’s face, and Glenn thought the melding of birds and reptile for the challenge was brilliant.  Ve thought it was beyond complex, and with these rave reviews, Melissa was in top looks.

Yvonne’s eye was purple, white and red, so she decided to go a more traditional route for her cyclops.  He was Satan’s blacksmith, and he would have classic devil horns.  Rob had to help her out with the design of the browbone.  She wasn’t pleased with the sculpt but had to move on to sculpting because she was running out of time.  She used classic Devil red and black for her paint job.  The eyelid drooped too much, but she had zero time to address it.  On the reveal stage, the judges thought the colours were monotone, and the horns contrived.  Douglas like that the makeup had full mobility of the mouth as an actor, and Ve thought it was a clean makeup with nice edges.  She was safe.


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The winner this week was Melissa for her incredibly detailed, set-ready work.  The person going home was Mel.  Her makeup didn’t come together BUT the judges decided to use the one-time immunity on her!! She was super grateful, and was warned to make it count.  She could now join the ranks of the other stressed-out artists as they make their way to the finale.


Face Off Season 10 Episode 4: Secret Agent Time!

Published February 4, 2016 by vfdpixie

After Yvonne’s confidence boosting win, and Walter champing at the bit for his own win, the gang headed back to the lab where it was transformed into Command Central.  McKenzie briefed them on their “mission” disguised as a Focus Challenge.  In honour of a new show called Hunters where agents must hunt supernatural terrorists by wearing undetectable disguises, the artists were assigned their own agents and had to create disguises for them.  Mr. Westmore was their advisor for this one since he worked on robbers, the L.A.P.D. and Michael Jackson alike to keep them incognito.  He stressed that they pay attention to face shape and details like freckles which could make all the difference.  Since this was a Focus Challenge on the face, precision and beautiful edges were key, and guest judge Gale Anne Hurd, producer of Hunters, would be on the reveal stage.  I must say, this was the toughest challenge in some time.  Some of the artists really struggled with the concept of a disguise, as well as skin tones (don’t get me started…).

Njoroge’s agent was a blonde woman and he chose to disguise her as an Asian man.  This was risky, but he went for it.  Mr. Westmore told him to tweak the eyes.  Njoroge was pleased with his work, and lay down hair for a beard and moustache which was way too dense, and looked borderline offensive when he applied it.  He realized his appliance edges weren’t great, but was happy with it anyway.  Gale still saw a girl under the makeup and a racial stereotype, and the judges hated the edges.  the hair was also too stiff, and too many appliances made for too many edges.  He was in the bottom looks.

Anna turned her agent from a clean-shaven man into a chubby hipster.  It was ok, but the judges thought it was bizarre looking and heavy.  Walter took his darker-skinned model and made him a fair-skinned biker.  That worked after he fixed the cartoony jaw, and the judges liked his edges.  Yvonne turned her agent into a heavy metal musician with a full facial appliance.  Johnny created an “African descent” person, which was just terrible, and Mel changed her agent into an elderly old man.  She spent a lot of time sculpting, and did a great paint job.  These artists were safe.

Katie turned her agent into a darker, older man.  Her troubles started with the paint job.  It looked like what she called a spray tan, and got progressively worse as she tried to fix it.  She ended up with shiny, red-toned finish.  The judges thought the eyebrows and moustache were good, but the paint was too plastic looking and too dark.  The whole makeup called attention to the agent instead of disguise him.  She was in bottom looks.

Rob decided to turn his dark-haired agent into a ginger hillbilly type dude.  He used texture stamps to create realistic skin, taking his time.  He applied a seamlessly blended baldcap, and impressed the judges with his nondescript character.  He fulfilled the challenge by creating a person who blended in.  Gale thought it didn’t read as a makeup.  He was in top looks.

Robert turned his female agent into a dorky “Bulgarian electronics man”.  He was the first in the mold room, and used tape to lay hair on backwards so it would look natural.  His makeup looked great, and the judges thought it looked better without glasses.  Ve loved the hair, Gale thought it looked like a guy, and this clean makeup put him in top looks.

Kaleb turned his agent into and East Indian woman, and it did not go well.  He had trouble with the skin tone and the edges of his appliances.  It looked rough.  His edges peeled, the paint was too dark, and the judges were unimpressed with the mild racial stereotyping.  He was bottom looks.

Melissa turned her young female agent into an older one.  She was familiar with disguises since she dresses up as Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  She used plastic sheets to put texture on the skin, and punched in the eyebrows but they were a little wonky.  The judges liked the neck, but felt the makeup was confusing overall.  She was safe this week.

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This winner was Rob for his intelligent approach, smart decisions and ability to change his model’s most prominent features.

Njoroge would be going home.  His makeup was flawed technically and creatively.  He wasn’t discouraged, and vowed to keep working in makeup.

If you can take anything away from this episode, it’s to learn how to mimic skin tone.  It’s so basic and so, so important as a makeup artist.  I’ve ranted about this before, so I’ll spare you, but it is really key to have an eye for matching a person’s natural skin tone, and if you’re changing a skin colour completely, watch the undertone or else you’ll end up with a ruddy mess.


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