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Face Off: Freaks of Nature

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Face Off Freaks of nature

On this week’s Face Off, the contestants mastermind some mutants and I continue to be confused about the judging.

Only six remain! So it’s off to a prestigious FX school (and Neville’s alma mater) to design creatures based on genetic mutations. The cool part of this was that, instead of just sketching, each artist got to work with a Zbrush artist. Zbrush is a 3D modeling program, and it was amazing seeing these guys work.

This gave everyone a much more detailed and interesting “sketch” to base their sculpts on. For the most part, sculpting went smoothly. There was no real mold drama, just some injury time from George. He buckled down and worked through the pain. Michael Westmore did one of his best mentoring walkthroughs yet. I’d love to see an episode where he’s there for an entire day and really gets his hands dirty, does a little sculpting, helps someone with some design, fabricates some wings. I just want to see him work.

“And now I’d like to introduce our judges. First we have Glenn Hetrick, a baron of Clan Toreador…”

A lot of the design ideas this week were really creative. This is often the weak point in a Face Off episode for me, but all the guys were going bonkers with excitement over the mutant challenge, and everyone came through with something pretty original.

Ok, Graham’s moleman was not terribly original. I’d have maybe gone with an umber hulk (I know at least one former Face Off champion gets this reference, hi Laura!). But it was kind of cute and really well-done. I thought he executed what was not a terribly original idea very nicely, and his Mr. Magoo impression of the frustrated moleman henchman was hilarious.

Graham got sent home, and I’m not sure why. One thing Face Off can’t seem to make clear is if the decision is based on that week’s work alone or on overall performance. It really seems like it’s based on past performance, which is kind of ridiculous because it creates a weird handicapping effect where people who’ve done well in recent weeks get way more slack than someone who’s bouncing back from a failure.

And by any reasonable measure, Daran’s panormaic vision creature was worse than Graham’s moleman. I can see the logic of picking “innovative vision poorly executed” over “unoriginal idea executed well” once in a while, but there’s something to be said for doing a simple thing well.

And there’s also something to be said for eliminating someone based on a bizarre cowl with a turtle shell head and weird glued on extrusions that are supposed to be eyes. Not to mention that Daran has done a very similar design at least once already this season, so he wasn’t even being that original. I’m also bugged because the judges always dislike Graham’s work, while I often think it’s quite excellent. And finally, Daran has a black mark in my book for his belittling treatment of Chloe earlier this season.

So anyway, judges, right? Can’t live with ‘em, can’t have Face Off if they spend all their time LARPing Vampire: The Masquerade.

406px-Armadillo_HeadGeorge had impenetrable skin as his mutation, and he went in a sort of military armadillo direction? Actually, I think his overall design ended up too amiless. I couldn’t tell what was going on at the end. It wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t tell an effective story. Oddly enough, there’s actually a Marvel comics character called Armadillo, and some of the early design work George and his Zbrush artist did looked a lot like him.

Rashaad had the old Mr. Fantastic/Plastic Man elasticity power. Here’s a great example of an orignal design, using a mutant octopus man to convey stretchiness. It’s hard to get past the “bendy limbs” aspect of that super power, and Rashaad made some great creatire choices. Real stunner of a paint job too.

Niko put in his best work of the season with another design that really blew my mind. His magnetic mutant looked like he was wrapped in copper wiring. He avoided comparisons to Marvel’s Magneto character by making him look like an actual magneto! Niko’s paint work here was brilliant, making a foam face appear to be made of worn copper. I’d have given him the win.

Not that I disliked Tyler’s fly/bat creature thing. Although the grotesque hands were neat, they were too similar to other hand work Tyler has done this season. The magic here was in the face, which had an awesome evil-yet-victimized look about it. I thought the paint job was overly subtle, causing it to appear flat. It was top notch work, I just liked Niko’s magnetic man better.

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Posted by on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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