More often than not, my inspiration comes from the popular culture -movies, tv-shows and comics. Whenever I see a visually interesting movie trailer, I can literally hear my brain turning trying to figure out how the look was done. If I’m not sure if I can do it, I usually end up trying it out in one of my own projects. This was the case when I saw the first trailer of the upcoming remake of “Ghost in The Shell”, a movie based on popular Manga comics and first released in 1995.
The visual element that catched my eye this time was the creepy appearance of the Robot Geishas. Would it be possible to reproduce the look of these lifeless humanoid characters with my artisan friends and my retouching abilities? Challenge accepted.
First, you need the costume and a model capable of filling the geisha slippers. I pitched the idea to my friend Iina (Mae-Rye Cosplay), who has realised some amazing costumes for my projects already before. Secondly, I needed somebody to perfect the character with makeup, and turned to another trusted ally of mine: makeup artist Kiki Kameleontti. Finally, we needed a 6-8 hour makeup-and-photoshoot-sunday-afternoon to get me the material to work with in the after production. Having a network of skilled people around me proved again to be a valuable asset; all this took only some phone calls, a pretty please and a hot pot of coffee.
However, it was the post-production that took me by surprise. I started with making the skin look like it is made of separate parts of hard plastic. It took me some trials and errors to perfect the techniques, particularly how to speed the process and improve the workflow. The robotic look was there, but I was still looking at just a picture of a shiny geisha. I continued with painting Iina’s eyes black, and there it was -it was like the life was sucked out of her. She became that lifeless and soulless Robot Geisha, no doubt. Mental note for myself -the essence of the character -and humanity- of the person is in the eyes.
Here are the results of the photoshoot -spooky, isn’t it? I hope these images serve as a tribute to the movie I have watched many times. I’ll make sure to check out the remake version as soon as it hits the theaters!
Some BTS material what went into the photoshoot.
PS. Thx also to Lassi Pentikäinen with the 3D reflection blender scene.