So the other night, I'm
watching TV, and a familiar actress appears in front of me. I know her voice,
but I can't place the face. The words she's speaking are sad but her face is in
this odd limbo between a smirk and a grimace. Am I supposed to be sad? I think
the writers want me to be sad, and I know the actress wants me to be reacting
emotionally, but the only emotion I feel is anger. Ladies in Hollywood, listen
up: stop mutilating yourselves for your art. It's not necessary and it's
getting in the way of your performance.
It's becoming harder and harder
to suspend disbelief because all of my time is spent trying to figure out, "who
the hell is that? Was she in a terrible car accident, thrown through the
windshield and sewn back together?"
Lola VFX in Santa Monica has
the right idea. They specialize in
"Digital Cosmetic Enhancement." You might remember their work from X-Men: The
Last Stand where in a flashback sequence, they digitally shaved off years from
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.
"We do cosmetic fixes," says
Lola's Guy Botham, adding that they worked on seven of the top 10 movies last
year. "We do puffy faces, crow's feet, we've changed women's figures."
Lola uses Flame and Inferno, so
their technology isn't proprietary, but their technique is. They actually
retain a plastic surgeon, who tells them what the aging process is like and how
it affects the face. Botham says "their digital process is more natural than
surgery" and reports that they are often called on to digitally fix bad
Ok, I think we've found a way
to keep these actors from going under the knife, so I ask excitedly if their
process is in any way automated because it seems to me the industry can do some
good here. Sadly, Botham reports that it's "absolutely not an automated
process. We do a facelift and that would be impossible to do automatically." He
says the amount of time it takes "depends on the fix." To help speed the
process they use a library of digital skin.
He believes that if actors
built digital fixes into their contracts, "we can extend their careers. They
wouldn't have to go under the knife."
Lola is definitely doing its
bit for the better good, but what we need is an easy-to-use and fast digital
solution. As simple as hitting a button and letting the 0s and 1s do their job
automatically. No blood, no fat being shot from someone's buttocks into the
cheeks, no pride being lost, just digits!
So I'm using this space as a
call to action! You, post production industry, can stop these 35-year-olds from
disfiguring themselves. Get to work, so we can all grow older gracefully!