Face Off: Flights of Fantasy
The last Face Off elimination episode results in four bird-human hybrid designs, and I didn’t like any of them.
A trip to the airport and a meeting with some wildlife specialists reveals this week’s challenge: create designs based on a particular species of bird. I like that idea in theory. In practical terms, it didn’t turn out so well.
Tate’s design is based on the Egyptian vulture, and has a huge one-piece sculpt encompassing the entire head, chest, and most of the arms. He seemed concerned that his concept was going to be too much for him to handle in two days. I like how Tate’s “drama” was just him quietly standing there contemplating his clay with a cotton swab in his mouth. Mr. Westmore made a great suggestion to fit in a piece of plastic to help the lower jaw move better. Tate spent some time on this, but they never showed the model moving the beak.
Roy made the interesting decision to mold the chest and arms/wings instead of making them out of fur and feathers. It worked better than I expected, but there was a lack of underlying musculature. It looked sort of formless across the chest. It didn’t help that Roy dropped and broke his huge mold, so the fact that it worked at all was fairly impressive.
Miranda sculpted and sculpted and sculpted tiny wrinkles into her birdman’s face. She really undersold the “cask,” that huge thing on top of her bird species’ head. That was the most distinctive part, the whole reason you’d pick that bird. Seems she should have emphasized it more.
Laura had the idea to make her bird look aged and molting, a clever way of sidestepping some of the problems with trying to incorporate feathers into the design.
All four artists did some excellent work this week, but all of the final designs looked ugly to me. Imagine watching a movie about bird creatures or the kingdom of the birdmen, and one of those birds popped up on screen. You would just laugh out loud (except for Tate’s vulture). They all just looked kind of goofy. It would have been cool to see someone use a female model and try to create a bird-inspired beauty make-up.
Of the final designs, Miranda’s was obviously the weakest. The judges raved about the sculpt job on the face, but I was less impressed. It was solid, but bland. The paint job was almost nonexistence, and the hand/arm/wing situation was laughable.
Roy’s bird overall looked pretty cool, though the super obvious seam where the face and cowl transitioned to the chest was distracting. But it really looked non-human in the face area and had an interesting silhouette, despite the black lines the judges disliked.
Tate’s vulture was definitely the best, but I still didn’t love it. Tate’s biggest strength is the amazing detail he’s capable, but here it became too fussy and busy. It was hard to see what was actually going on. It was largely due to the paint job, as Ve observed. That was frankly a terrible paint. It was just undifferentiated mottled yellows and reds all over the face and chest.
Laura’s bird looked pretty hilarious in that giant, shapeless fun fur suit. But the face was eerily expressive. She created the most effective and realistic blend of human and bird facial features. I still thought it looked ugly and unappealing, but not due to any lack of technical skill in the execution.
So Tate, Laura and Roy are the finalists. We probably could have predicted that eight episodes ago. They absolutely deserve it.