Friday, November 5, 2010

Behind the scenes of the 'Devlin' video shoot

Our Makeup Artists worked recently with the Grime Artist 'Devlin' on his latest music video 'Marching through the Fog'.

It was a good example of out of kit bruises & wound makeup that you would learn on our 'Four Week Intensive TV & Film Makeup Course'.


Full music video coming soon

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hybrid nominated for Royal Television Society Award for 'Stoneage Atlantis'.

Hybrid Fx are pleased to announce that they have been nominated in the ‘Makeup Design – Entertainment & Non Drama’ category for their work on the Wall to Wall/ National Geographic Channel programme ‘Stoneage Atlantis’.

This is our fourth nomination in as many years and is greatly appreciated as it validates the company’s aim in creating the highest quality effects regardless of budget issues.

Our thanks go out to the wonderful Makeup Crew that helped create the many different characters for the programme stand out.

The Award Ceremony is on Wednesday 24th November at the Savoy, London.

As the shoot was makeup and wigs only, it is a strong indicator of the valuable methods taught at the school.

Our next school open day is listed below:

A list of our TV & Film Makeup Courses can be found below:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Leeds Studio Course Open Day!

On Saturday 27th November 2010 we will be hosting our very first 'Open Day' where you can pop along to visit the Leeds Studio and discuss any courses you may wish to take.

Both Prosthetic & Makeup Tutors will be available during the 10.00am - 5.00pm slot and there will even be demonstrations to watch..

10.00am Doors Open

11.00am Bald Cap Demo

1.00pm Silicone Appliance Application Demo

4.00pm Q&A

5.00pm Finish

There are only 30 spaces, so it is advisable to RSVP promptly.

Please pre-book (RSVP only) by visiting the link below!

I would like to attend the Open Day!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pro-Fx Makeup Tips - Safety In the Workshop

Hi again, well we're a bit late posting this months tips as we're so busy now with some very diverse projects, as well as prepping our new Makeup department for the 6 week Prosthetic Effects Course starting on the 5th September (still time to book on if you wish !)

This months Tips is a little serious, but good to address now before you start having too much fun with crazy Fx materials...

Health and safety can be taken too far and compromise creativity, but there is a level to which you must ensure you adhere in order to protect yourself and those around you.

Hand protection...

Many of the materials we use are messy and can either dry out your skin such as plaster, solvents etc, stain (inks, paints), bond to your skin (resins, polyurethane foams etc) or even severely damage you such as hot liquid waxes, Gelatine and Vinyl products.

None of this is a problem provided we protect our hands with the appropriate gloves. The simple use of either a disposable latex or Vinyl glove will be sufficient for most of the above. It is however always important to know which materials each type will best protect you from. For example Vinyl gloves won't protect from Acetone or similar solvents but latex ones will. Latex won't protect from White spirit, but Vinyl will. More robust thicker rubber or strong gardening gloves should also be used when dealing with hot materials.

Eye Protection, Dust & Fume Masks...

Likewise, when working with many products where a likelihood of splashing is to occur, safety spectacles or goggles should always be worn. An eye wash station (and First Aid Box) should always be close at hand in case of emergencies. Never be cavalier, it is so much easier to wear some safety specs than spend ages washing your eye clear of some horrible goo, or worse having to go to hospital and maybe even loosing your sight !

Appropriate masks for the products in use should always be on hand and used when needed. Never re-use a mask for too long as they tend to become over saturated with dust or fume. Dust masks should be changed regularly throughout a long process, as should the fume filters of respirator or similar fume masks.


When dealing with smelly or noxious substances such as resins or expanding Polyurethane foams, it is imperative that good fume extraction is available. If it is not, do not proceed with a process, as often just opening a door nearby is not sufficient ventilation !

Extraction can be in the form of a trunk like flexible tube which is able to be positioned over the work, a strong suction fan at the other end draws the fowl air away from the work and expels it to atmosphere saving you from breathing in the toxins.

Spray booths act in a similar way except they have a large filter at the back of a box onto which the extraction tube(s) are fitted. The filter catches any spray particles from aerosols, and again the tube(s) take the bad smelly air away from you whilst working. Extraction can and should often be used in conjunction with a suitable dust or fume mask also.


When in the workshop, it is advisable to wear clothing that you are not too concerned about getting messed up with spills etc. Disposable plastic aprons are always helpful for particularly messy times, or even full disposable paper boiler suits if really necessary. However, there is no substitute for working cleanly and professionally, so always try to organise all your work in a safe and sensible way, and try to work cleanly and methodically wherever possible, messy workshop projects don't have to take over the whole workshop, careful controlled containment of your processes is always the safest approach to all Special makeup Fx creation tasks.

If you've been working in a particularly fumy atmosphere for a long day, always ensure that you wear fresh work wear for the following day. This prevents contaminated clothing being against your skin for too long, and prevents the risk of allergies and sensitisation developing. It is very easy to develop eczema and similar skin conditions if you over expose yourself to moulding products and solvents etc for long periods of time without changing contaminated clothing, and equally always keep the workspace well ventilated.


Look after your skin, particularly your hands, which will come into contact the most with the materials you are using. After working on a project, or wearing protective gloves for a period, before taking a break or moving onto another process always wash your hands with a mild soap, preferable one with a moisturiser and PH balanced ingredients.

Have fun, enjoy your work but do look after your hands, they are your best tools and you need them to earn a living !

Monday, July 26, 2010

‘Harry Potter' SFX Makeup Artist joins Hybrid Fx School

We are proud to announce today that Branimir ‘Barney’ Nikolic will be joining us as a guest tutor, beginning with our 6 week Prosthetic Makeup Course this coming September...

With the last four ‘Harry Potter’ films in his credit list and an unmatched expertise in ‘Hair & Wig’ work, he brings a wonderful range of skills and experience to our award winning team of tutors.

Please visit the ‘Tutors’ menu option to learn more !

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pro-Fx Makeup Tips - Introduction to Lifecasting - Part 4

Introduction to Lifecasting – Part 4

- The magic of Silicone.

Way back in April’s Fx Tips, we began to outline the wonders of Alginate. Now although Alginate is a great product, as old as the hills, cheap, fast & safe it does have its down sides.

The first is that it’s not very strong, it can tear easily. The second is that being water based, we are limited to what we can cast into it, basically Plaster is the main material here. Most resins don’t like moisture much, or will certainly reproduce copies from Alginate with a less than perfect finish. And the third problem is that Alginate shrinks very quickly once set. This means that wherever you are on a job, a plaster positive has to be cast into the mould as soon as it is removed from the client, which is more work, more time, more materials to carry, more hassle !

So what we need is a synthetic alginate substitute, and that material is now Silicone. There are of course a great many types of silicone out on the market, most are utterly inappropriate for lifecasting with, only one is really and truly safe and viable as a lifecasting material, it’s called ‘Lifeform’. It has been specifically developed for the market, and although it is somewhat more expensive than Alginate, the advantages are tremendous.

Not much sticks to silicone, making it great to cast almost all materials into it. It is dimensionally stable, strong and tear resistant. Also, from a good silicone mould we can make multiple copies of a lifecast. It is lighter than alginate as it can be applied much more thinly, and as such has less tendency to alter the facial features as it does not pull on the skin under it’s own weight and the action of gravity.

Mixing is quite easy too. Because it will stick to itself easily, you don’t need to worry about covering a large area in one go, or having to bond layers together etc. You can mix in small manageable batches and build up exactly the layer you want quickly and easily.

There are two parts to the product, each is a different colour and is mixed equally until an even colour is achieved.

One other really great thing about ‘Lifeform’ is that unlike other silicones which have been made for lifecasting in the past, this material does not grip to hair, so again in that it is much like Alginate, making this a truly versatile product.

Once applied the material will set in a few minutes and will peel away cleanly, capturing really fine detail. There are fast setting and slow setting versions too.
No Hessian reinforcement is needed, and a plaster bandage support case can be applied to the Silicone in just the same way as we outlined in June’s Fx Tips.

Want to learn more…

Book onto our ‘One day Intensive Facial Lifecasting’ Course, or
The ‘6 Week Intensive Prosthetic Makeup’ Course

Next month…

Protect yourself - Working safely with materials in the workshop (and on-set).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pro-Fx Makeup Tips - Introduction to Lifecasting - Part 3

Introduction to Lifecasting – Part 3

- Plaster bandage Support cases.

Hello again, hopefully you’ve been keeping an eye on the previous digital demo delights, and now we come to the final part of the basic lifecasting process, the support case or shell, usually made with Plaster bandage.

This is exactly the same material used in Hospitals to support a broken limb while it heals.

It often comes in rolls of varying sizes, or even sheets. For faces and general mould making work, lengths of around 10 to12 inches (250 - 300mm) are very manageable, from rolls around 6 inches or 150mm wide.

2 ply thick (2 pieces laid on top of each other and used as one) is good for use on small detail areas such as the face, hands etc, and 4 ply thick for larger moulds and bodies.

For transportation it’s good to pre-cut all the lengths you may need and fold them up, storing them in a seal top plastic bag ready for use.

For this demo, we’ve cut two small pieces, these are dipped together in a bowl of room temperature water and immediately removed.

The excess water is wringed out of the bandage and it is then applied to the alginate and smoothed into place working well into all the surface details and forms that will be present when doing a larger lifecast area.

You will note that we have applied to the alginate a layer of reinforcing Hessian again. The other reason for this is that the plaster bandage will also bond to the Hessian, giving us a mould which will all stay together as one, so the Alginate does not fall away from the support case, maintaining accuracy.

Next month…

Part 4 of our Introduction to Lifecasting – The Magic of Silicone…

Want to learn more ?

Book onto our ‘One day Intensive Facial Lifecasting’ Course, or The ‘6 Week Intensive Prosthetic Makeup’ Course

Pro-Fx Makeup Tips - Introduction to Lifecasting - Part 2

Introduction to Lifecasting - Part 2

- Slow set Alginate and how to make the un-stickable stick… to itself !

Here we are already speeding along into another chapter of what could become a very large almanac indeed if we didn’t keep wrestling with the heaps of techniques involved, & keep them all contained and orderly in the huge treasure chest of informative goodies in which they reside; Only allowing a few snippets of joy out to play here on these modest pages of the World Wide Web…

Having left you last month with a little insight into Alginate, we mentioned the Hessian reinforcement used and how it adds strength and assists in later stages of the process (see part 3 next month).

Here you can see how well the Alginate locks into the Hessian (as it was applied to it while the Alginate was still in paste form).

This is what is known as a mechanical bond and is very helpful to us. Generally alginate doesn’t stick to much, including body hair, or indeed itself. Sometimes however, when doing a large lifecast we need to apply a second layer for strength and to thicken up any thin patches, so we need to somehow make the alginate bond well to itself, this is how…

This time we’ll use the slower set lifecasting Alginate which sets in around 8 minutes as opposed to the 2 or 3 minutes of the coloured Dental Alginate.

Mixed in exactly the same manner as before, powder 1st, add water and mix to a smooth paste. Not too runny, but not too thick as it will then be difficult to apply and may trap air bubbles.

So, if your 1st layer of Alginate has set on you, and you’re needing to add some more, simply paint the Alginate with a light coating of this magic blue liquid and work it in until you see the surface of the alginate begin to dissolve a little.

The Magic Blue liquid is called, most appropriately ‘Alginate Bonder’, and is actually a specific form of washing soda dissolved in water. It can also be used as a retarder to slow down the setting of Alginate when mixed into a batch in specific proportions.

Straight away you can mix up another batch of Alginate and apply that to the 1st layer. When set you will find that they are as one !

Next month…

Part 3 of our Introduction to Lifecasting – Plaster bandage Support cases.

Want to learn more ?

Book onto our ‘One day Intensive Facial Lifecasting’ Course, or The ‘6 Week Intensive Prosthetic Makeup’ Course

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hybrid Fx nominated for 'Team of the Year' at the Royal Television Society Awards

We are happy to announce that our Prosthetic & Makeup team for the hit BBC2 show 'Undercover Dads' have been shortlisted for the prestigious award.

It is always nice to be up for an award but this one is special as it focuses on the team involved in the show, from frontline makeup artists to the clever and talented people that design, sculpt and fabricate our lifelike silicone disguise work.

Big thanks to Dawn, Ricky and Suzanne for pulling long shifts and still managing to create awesome looking 'Mega Nannies'.

The award dinner is on June 14th.

Prosthetic Designer Mike Stringer creating a brand new fingertip for one of the Dad's.

Makeup Artist Suzanne Bates 'veeting' like a dervish.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hybrid Fx School expands to London and Essex!

We are proud to announce that we are now offering several of our courses at two new locations around the country.

The stunning 'Tres Health & Wellbeing' Centre right next to Chelsea Bridge Wharf is our London location and the first course dates start from Saturday 17th July.

Second up is the 'Greenwoods Hotel & Spa' in Stock, Essex which starts later in the year from October.

The majority of the week long courses will always be run at our Studio as it is our main facility but we will open up more courses at these new locations as soon as feasible!

We have also updated the website to reflect these changes, please choose:

'Studio Based Courses' for Studio Courses in Guiseley.
'London Based Courses' for London Courses.
'Essex Based Courses' for the Stock, Essex Courses.

Finally we recently added a 'Facial Lifecasting' Course which we reccomend to any makeup artists looking to really learn how to perfom perfect lifecasts. It's a skill we feel is poorly presented in the industry and now is the time to polish your technique.

Details are available via 'Studio Based Courses' menu option.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pro-Fx Makeup Tips - Introduction to Lifecasting - Part 1

Hi, we’re a little behind schedule with this months slice of Fx Tips, we’ve been so unexpectedly busy this year so far, the months are flying by…

So, I thought we should start to introduce a few materials into the mix, and offer a little insight into the techniques we use in the industry and offer on our specialist courses.

Introduction to Lifecasting – Part 1

Lifecasting is one of the key skills that underpins much of what we do as Makeup Fx Artists.

There are a great many techniques one needs to develop and practice in order to be a skilled, safe and accomplished lifecaster and these can only be learned as part of one of our main courses and with good practice.

Here we will just touch on some of the very basic aspects and materials involved…

As mentioned in the past, being organised and laying out your equipment in a clean and tidy way is very important. You will not always be able to perform the lifecast at your place of work, often you will need to travel to the client, either at their home, a Hotel, their agents office or similar.

Protecting surfaces of the place in which you are working, as well as the floor is very important, as the lifecasting process can be a little messy.

The standard base material for making a lifecast is Alginate, which is a very safe, Seaweed based product and is available in 2 types; There’s a fast setting, usually coloured & flavoured (mint, fruit etc) version used mainly in the Dental industry for making teeth impressions. There’s also a slower white odourless version specifically for facial and larger body lifecasting.

Alginate comes in powder form and is mixed with water to form a smooth paste.

When applied to any body area it will set to a firm rubber in a few minutes.

Often we will reinforce the alginate with a layer of Hessian to prevent it tearing, and also to aid in the next stage of the process…

When set, alginate peels away from the skin very easily and cleanly, and pics up perfect fine skin details.

Next month… Part 2 of our Introduction to Lifecasting

Want to learn more ?

Book onto our ‘One day Intensive Facial Lifecasting’ Course, or The ‘6 Week Intensive Prosthetic Makeup’ Course

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Course launched - One Day Intensive Facial Lifecasting

Starting from Saturday 3rd May 2010 is our highly intensive Lifecasting course.

Covering every aspect on how to safely perform a professional facial lifecast, it is limited to four slots only.

Throughout the day at our Studio, attendees will perform a lifecast under guidance from Award Winning Prosthetic Designer Mike Stringer and then also undergo the same process to fully understand what it feels like.

This will allow the attendees to confidently discuss the process to any future Actors or Celebrities they may be casting at a later date.

Please Click Here if you wish to learn more.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

'On the (Makeup Kit) Case'

Hello everyone, sorry this is a little late, been a really busy month...

I think this will be the last of the basic introductory tips, I'm hoping next month to start to look at some of the interesting products and materials we use in the trade.

Anyway, to conclude the general advice theme we started on, I thought we'd just dip into the world of makeup cases, boxes and the like.

This is great, as there's no rules here at all, it really is personal choice, and to be honest, it hugely depends on the kind of job you're doing, products you'll be using etc as to what kind of 'Kit Case' you need.

There are a whole host of different designs, some made especially for makeup, and some are simply boxes which are quite handy for our particular purposes.

These are a small selection of some I've tried, and my thoughts on each as to how useful you may find them...

Case 1 - The classic Cantilever box, looks great, very robust and folds out to reveal lots of compartments. Really good for small jobs etc, but sadly the box is quite heavy to start with, so if you're walking a long way, you may wish to think again. I always found it difficult to fit everything I wanted in this one, as the compartments can tend to be a little shallow. Also, be aware, when it folds out it takes up a lot of space, however it is very quick to open and close in a rush to get at your supplies, and that can be really handy, particularly if you're in a hurry on set !

These cases can be found all over the place in a range of normal high street shops, DIY stores etc, be careful, you don't need to pay a lot for them !

Case 2 - A nice compact makeup case, held together with two little twist fasteners and Velcro sides. A little tricky to find your stuff quickly as it has a lot of compartments, but some are clear which helps when locating small items in a hurry (or at 5:00am when you're half asleep and about to start a long day). As it's nylon, it's light weight, strong and fairly easy to clean, but suffers from being black as it will tend to look dusty and messy fairly quick. We used these cases quite a bit for a while, they take quite a lot of products, including tall bottle which is handy, however getting into them quickly can be tricky, and again they take over a fair bit of space when opened out.

These types cases can usually be found at good makeup suppliers.

Case 3 - This larger case really covers a bit of Case 1 and 2 above, it's fairly light, carry's lots of stuff and has a removable cantilever section for loads of smaller items. It tends to be a little bulky, and again I couldn't always find a space for all the bottles of colour I was carrying, but depending on what' s in your kit, this can certainly be a useful companion.

These types cases can usually be found at good makeup suppliers too.

Case 4 - Ok, I know it's not really a case, but it goes hand in glove with any of your Kit needs. There's lots of different sizes & shapes of these kind of clear flexible plastic pouches, great for brushes, small makeup items etc. They really are helpful just to separate up various items or brands of product within your chosen makeup kit. Clear is often very useful !

These types cases can also be found at good makeup suppliers.

Case 5 - And talking of clear, here we are... the humble clear tool box. I've gone through quite a few boxes, cases and kit carrying devices in my career so far, and in reality, I've reached a stage where I find a simple box like this one of the easiest units to use. They look clean, are easy to access all your items, some have great lids which have little compartments for smaller things, and others of course have removable trays inside also. You can gets lots of different sizes, even giant ones on wheels, which are also great. Of course not all are clear/translucent, but whenever I find one that is, large or small I pick one up.

These cases can be found all over the place in a range of normal high street shops, Art & Craft stores, DIY stores etc.

Ultimately, as you develop your career, you'll find that the best option for you is to have a range of cases on hand to suit each job. Sometimes you'll want them all with you, some for holding stock products and spare equipment, some for in the makeup room, and some for on set work.

Much of this will also depend on whether you are working on location, or on a fixed studio shoot. The best thing is to always keep your eyes peeled for that little gem which you think will be just perfect for your next job.

See you soon in April.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pro-Fx Makeup Tips - 'Thinking outside the (Makeup) Box '

There's never enough hours in the day, and every little technique, trick or device we can employ to help things along saves time as well as a little stress.

This month, I'm looking at useful items to have in your makeup kit that don't take up a lot of space, don't cost much, but are really helpful to have around.

Like many interesting things, these are usually available from Art/Craft suppliers, in this case near the Fine Artists section, brushes, paints etc.

1. 'Fold up' Brushes and Tool pots.

They come in at least 2 sizes and are sold as water holders. However, they are great to pack down and carry with you for putting a whole load of other things inside besides water once you've set up !

2. Clip on Liquid Holders.

They are small and made of metal, designed for clipping to the side of an Oil Painters palette I believe, but they also clip brilliantly onto the lid of your Tattoo or any Alcohol activated ink sets. This gives you a ready to hand supply of Isopropyl Alcohol for working with your makeup inks, especially good when you're on the run, on set etc. You can also keep 2 or 3 clipped onto your kit so that you can cover a range of colours/shades at once without having to do too much pot cleaning.

3. 'Six Up' Palettes.

So, you've got your Clip on alcohol holder, and you want to work with a range of colours from your Makeup/Tattoo Ink palette, but you don't want all the colours to run together on the lid which you usually use to mix on ! Drop one of these on the lid of your Inks and you can contain any of your mixed colours easily. Better still, if they dry out, you can re-activate later with more alcohol and they're ready to go again. Also great for continuity, and keeps your Ink Kit lid clean and professional looking.

4. Water Brushes.

I've not made as much use of these as I should, but they are brilliant for keeping a ready made wash of any alcohol based colour in for doing makeup/prosthetic Fx work. I find them really useful for continuity, and they save having to carry a whole palette + alcohol around, especially on set, and particularly if you may only need 2 or 3 colours. Really great for casualty work, quickly darkening in wounds, adding dried blood effects etc.

5. Tool Holders.

Available from Tiranti's, these little plastic telescopic tubes are perfect for putting tools, sharp items, odd brushes, or even straws for your actors (for when they're drinking and wearing full prosthetics).

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pro-Fx Makeup Tips - 'Laying out your Kit'

‘The Smallest of problems can turn into mountains if you are not mentally and physically prepared on a shoot. For me, this means starting at the very beginning.

Laying out your kit in a tidy and professional manner so that everything is in reach, leaves you ready to face whatever obstacles production may throw at you!'

Problem - If you are ill prepared and rushed in setting up your kit, then the rest of your makeup can suffer.

This is not a good layout...

Brushes need to be clean, all adhesive pots and other vessels should also be clean, screw top lids easy to remove, not sticky and locked up with detritus from the end of the last shoot ! All labels should be also tidy and easily readable.
This not only aids quick recognition for use, but is also a matter of health and safety so that it is clear what each product actually is. Miscellaneous clear liquids in gummy messy bottles is not acceptable.

Likewise, any colour palettes etc should also be clean and presentable. All this is not just for your personal benefit, though that should be reason enough (a tidy space is a tidy mind and all that), but equally, if not more importantly, it's a matter of hygiene too !

The work you will be doing is on another human being, often an actor, and more often an actor of some standing. They will always feel far better (and safer) about whatever you may be applying to them if it appears to be done cleanly, and in turn professionally.

Solution - First off, arrive at least thirty minutes before your call time. Have a coffee or tea and mentally go through your makeup role for that day. Hopefully, before you set off for the shoot, your boxed kit was already clean and organised ready to go, preferably sorted the night before !

Using a wet pipe or similar, wipe down the work surface you are about to lay your kit out on.

From your box of tissues lay several out on the chosen work surface. Begin to lay out your colours, sponges and general tools required for the work.

Also any powder you may be using during a prosthetic application should be tapped out onto a tissue for easy access when de-tacking blending edges etc.

Brushes for applying and colouring can then be laid out separately.

Clear disposable plastic cups should also be kept handy, these are used to decant a small amount of adhesive at a time, + required thinners etc for use during any prosthetic application. Each cup should be labelled with a marker pen for safe and quick identification. When a cup gets gummy or messed up, you can easily throw it away, get a fresh one, and make a clean start.

This can also be done for Prosthetic Makeup Remover, such as liquid Pro-Clean. Decanting a little at a time will save costly spillages !

Always ensure lids are kept tightly on your main liquid materials.

This not only saves you money if anything's spilt, but equally, it is really difficult (and time consuming, not to mention embarrassing) cleaning up a lot of spilt adhesive, and if that was all you had with you, it could be very difficult to finish your prosthetic application without some glue !

Any Prosthetic items required for the makeup such as Bald Caps, Teeth or actual Prosthetic pieces should also be prepared, trimmed as required and laid out ready for application or test fitting.

Lastly, food, snacks, drinks etc should be kept safely away from the working area (not only your own but also your actor's !)

Tada! A clean and professional layout that will help you work more efficiently, make you stand out from the crowd and put your client at ease :)

Next Month: Coming Soon