If you're making a zombie flick, but you don't have a talented makeup artist, but you do have a talented digital effects artist who can composite the bloody, rotten, festering features of the undead, then maybe it'd be a good idea to go digital with your characters' zombification. A recent tutorial by Ryan Connolly of Film Riot shows us how to use a handful of digital tools, such as After Effects, Mocha, and MonsterFX Undead, to create a believable, decaying, and altogether disgusting zombie for your film.
The great thing about creating these effects digitally is that your actors don't have to spend hours in makeup, both sitting in a chair and walking around a hot set all day needing touch-ups. You can shoot your scenes and deal with the makeup later. However, not everyone likes, or is convinced by, the digital aesthetic, but a good VFX artist, like a good SFX artist, blends the unreal with the real, making the artifice invisible.
Okay, so here are the tools Film Riot uses in the tutorial:
- Rampant Design's MonsterFX Undead Pack -- $99
- Imagineer Systems' Mocha -- $1,495 (depending on what you get)
- After Effects
The MonsterFX Undead pack comes with 575 hi-res drag and drop assets -- textures for eyes, mouths, teeth, limbs, skins, you name it. Mocha is a planar tracking and root utility that Connolly emphatically expresses fondness for, so check it out, get the trial version, and see if it works for you.
Check out the tutorial below:
I think it goes without saying that you have to be sure to continue this process on the neck, hands, arms, legs -- whatever is showing -- on your zombie characters to get the full effect. Otherwise, your zombie will seem less putrid and more -- sprightly -- like he just got back from a nice tennis match.
Do you have any tips on creating digital zombies, or any other monsters for that matter? Any other trackers or asset packs that you recommend? Let us know in the comments?