Diverse Uses of Life Casting
Life casting is a varied and multi dimensional art that is not just limited to making three dimensional reproductions of the human body as admirable pieces of art. This intricate art form also finds other uses that are quite practical and useful as well.
For instance, life casting enjoys great patronage in the special effects industry. Indeed, all the special effects that you see in movies and television are not always a result of computer animation, trick photography or other effects. Life casting techniques are also used by special effects artists for creating props, prosthetics and animatronics.
In fact, many of the spectacularly real looking special effects in movies like Jaws, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Matrix, Harry Potter Series, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia have been created by using life casting techniques and products.
How is it done?
Prosthetic makeup owes its existence to life casting. In this, a mold of the body part - like face, hand or other limbs - is made and forms the base for the special effects. When the life cast is ready, the artist can play around with it to suit the movie requirements, like adding cuts, wounds, scars, wrinkles, veins, aged features and what not. These techniques are also behind the severed heads, horrific zombies, monstrous faces and alien creatures that we see on screen.
As the life cast has been made from the actor's face, it will fit perfectly even after all the distortions have been done. The trick is to create thin edges so that it can be blended seamlessly on the skin with the help of adhesives and cosmetics. Indeed, any fantastical creation can be brought to help with prosthetic makeup.
Alginate is most commonly used to make a body mold. The cast or mask is made from liquid latex or skin safe silicone. Latex is also useful for adding features and effects on the cast.
The technique of two part molds finds great use in making realistic looking props and costumes for use on stage or on screen. Lightweight guns, swords, body armor are reproduced by making molds and casts of the original items.
Simulating animal and plant life or even mythical creatures with lifelike characteristics (like dinosaurs and robots) incorporates life casting techniques in animatronics.
Still more uses:
Apart from the special effects industry, life casting is useful in the medical field too. It is used for making prostheses, dentures, orthopedic appliances, medical training aids and more. Artificial limbs to replace a missing body part are created and fitted using life casting techniques and materials. Many prostheses are also made by first making two part molds from the human body. Dentures or false teeth that are needed to replace missing teeth also pay gratitude to life casting.
Therefore, it is obvious that life casting has many diverse uses and many fields benefit from by adopting the techniques of this intricate art!