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Creature Suit Analysis - Part 5 - Building Patty


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Guest Texas Bigfoot
OklahomaSquatch:

.

What you were asking about was a Muscle Dynamics Simulation Suit (which I called MDSS) and that one, in theory, has physical elements in the suit to actually replicate the dynamics of muscle extension and contraction, the shifting and bulging we see when muscles are in motion. Then, 1967, such a simulation suit was merely a dream, and even today, you'd be hard pressed to find a good example of one that actually works well, and tha's just for one or two muscle groups (like the bicep/tricep group in an arm). Nobody's come even close to a muscle dynamic simulation suit that replicates many major muscle groups in the same suit.

*Bolding was my emphasis.

Bill

In case you missed it. That is what I call the Holy Grail.

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  • 1 month later...

Its just a shame that with the advent of CGI, we'll probably never see special effects makeup taken to that level. Cheaper just to have someone draw a cartoon now than try and make the perfect suit.

I recall reading Fangoria back in the 80 and remember some of the techniques used for special effects makeup, primitive to say the least. Just take a look at what was done by Savini in the original Friday the 13th, and then look at what was done in the later installments, its like night and day.

It would have been nice to see where things could have progressed, but with CGI even being featured in every cheapy Sci-Fi channel movie these days, I think the progression has stopped. **** computers.

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  • 1 month later...

Reviewing the Thread

Repeating portions of my Review introduction from the Part One notes, I feel a review and evaluation of this thread may be of value.

So I decided that I would post an appraisal of each note set, re-reading the original, seeing if I would change anything, based on the comments and discussions, and offering the readers a fresh look at what I feel are the most relevent issues and ideas. Each group of summary notes will be different, but this brief introduction will be repeated first.

Part Five - Rebuilding Patty

Reviewing the full text of the original posting, I didn't see anything I felt requiring a change, so I am confident the notes continue to be enlightening and informative as to methods of suit fabrication.

So in this review, I think the most significant issue to expand upon is this:

"How does anyone today appraise the potential "artistic" talents of another person to build a suit?"

There are lively discussions of who made Patty, if one chooses to believe she is in fact a suit worn by a human performer. When I posted the original notes, I was still on a learning curve as to the whole "backstory" investigation, as well as the people investigating from the skeptical position and the evolving explanations of Patty as a suit. It seems the arguments of old centered around the prospects of some hollywood makeup/creature people doing the fabrication of the suit, on the assumption it took at least a person or persons of demonstrated talent and experience to accomplish such a hoax (if indeed it was one). The "Patterson as lucky beginner/suit maker" idea was occasionally mentioned, just as a mere "what if".

So now, I'd like to review that "what if" idea, but I'd like to review it in a larger, more generalized context. Can a person's ability to make a suit be appraised by investigators today, and if so, how?

I've been reading over the last few months (here and other forums) an increasingly optimistic appraisal of Patterson's "creature-building skills". It started with simple "maybe he could" suggestions and seems to have now blossomed into a full blown and absolute endorsement of his skills, with comments to the effect of "of course Roger could fix the suit. He was an artist, so he had the skills."

I've been silent on most of this discussion, but I guess it's time I put my opinion on the record. The usual argument states that because Roger has some demonstrated artistic skills ( in drawing and sculpture, I believe), he must be artistic enough to make or remodel a creature suit. And this apparent conclusion, that he can make a suit simply because he's "artistic", I now must say is utter and laughable fantesy, a delusional monument to wishful thinking.

What has been lacking in the discussions is the consideration of who can actually appraise Roger's potential skills, and how can they do such in a responsible and credible way? In other words, by what method could an investigator appraise the possibility of Roger accomplishing a task?

So the actual issue is, can people today, investigating the PG Film, determine if any non-professional person (whether it's Roger Patterson or any other person) was capable of making a full creature fur suit, or capable of modifying suit parts acquired from Hollywood professionals. How does an investigator determine who can or cannot make or modify a suit? How does anyone today appraise the potential "artistic" talents of another person?

So I felt it would be appropriate to describe some specifics examples of what qualifies a person to appraise the creature building skills of another person? First is the most obvious way.

1. Seeing actual creature suits that a person has built is a great start. I'm not aware of any other suits Roger ever made? (and of course we still do not know for certain about Patty, so she's excluded from Patterson's suit-building resume). If there's no evidence he made suits before the PG film was made, then it seems to me nobody can appraise Roger's suit making skills on this basis because there's no documented evidence he ever made one.

However, there are other possible ways the potential talent of another person to make a suit could conceivably be evaluated, under the following circumstances:

2. A professional artist building suits and having those suits used in films, frequently must hire assistants or crew personal, and that Pro will look at the applicant's portfolio of prior work and artistic talent, and then the Pro make a judgment as to the applicant's potential skill to do various jobs. Then, if you (the Pro) hire the applicant, you see first hand how good they actually are, as they work for you. This experience certainly qualifies a person to appraise the artistic skill potential of another person. I've done this many times over the years.

Finally, another process requiring the estimation of a person's talent potential may be through teaching people the craft.

3. Teaching people a skill or craft, such as training makeup artists, does require you to appraise the applicant's talent or artistic potential, based on any preliminary material they submit. Once accepted into the training program, a student 's skill, progress and potential for rising up to master the more challenging aspects of the makeup craft are constantly appraised by the teacher, and a teacher can reasonably be considered qualified to appraise the potential of an "artistic person" to learn the more complex skills of the craft, such as creature suits and prosthetics.

I was director of a makeup school for 7 years, and taught over 1000 students during that time, appraising them constantly as to who could do what, and I monitored their skill development. And once I returned to doing makeup work for movies, I hired many of my former students, and they assisted me in making suits and prosthetics. So I think I can reasonably say this process is a fine experience to qualify a person to appraise the suit-building potential of another person.

As far as I know, people saying "of course Roger could fix the suit", these people have none of the above qualifications sufficient to make any judgment on Roger's potential to make a suit, or even modify existing parts of a suit. They appear to be pulling this appraisal of Roger's ability out of thin air, an argument of pure wishful thinking, not reasoned analysis.

Another issue a true artist would understand, and a non-artist often misunderstands, is the matter of what specific artistic things an artist can actually do. Real artists have niches of activity where their talents seem to bloom, and other artistic things they simply cannot do. Some people are masterful at sculpting real fine living likenesses of actual people, to replicate a particular person, and other artists cannot. Some artists are great with wildlife subjects, and don't do people or costumed figures. Some artists work successfully in one medium, such as watercolors or pastels, while failing miserably working with oils or airbushes. Some artists are versatile while others are very narrowly focused on one medium or process only. A true artist would easily appreciate that the assumption any person can easily be assumed to do any creative task simply because that person is "artistic", this assumption is pure falicy. Even true artists are in fact limited as to what ways they can be "artisitic", and we never assume someone would be successful in an artistic medium until we actually see some solid evidence of the person's proficiency in that exact artistic endeavor.

There is simply no reasonable expectation that a person who has sculpted figurines or done some sketches is also automatically a natural to build complex creature suits.

In the interest of covering all possible options, there is the "beginner's luck" hypothesis. What if Roger was simply really talented and gave it a try and it just turned out good? Well, we can look to the makeup industry and see a fine example of "beginner's luck", with an artist who is undeniably talented. Rick Baker is indeed one of the industry's certifiable geniuses, and his extraordinary gift for creature work was evident to anyone who met him, right from the start. And his first fur creature suit, his "beginner's luck" suit is imortalized in the film "Schlock", where Rick made John Landis into the apelike "Schlocktopus". It's as good as anyone could expect from a first time try by a largely self-taught person, and a person who's sheer raw talent is truly extraordinary. And it's not as good as Patty.

A final consideration is that people with no true skill in doing this work fail miserably to grasp the matter of how this skill develops, or even how artistic skills in general develop. The naive ones think you just get the instructions, or somebody just tells you how, and you just do it. No big deal, they think. How hard it is to operate a needle and thread, or a squeeze bottle of glue, or a single edged razor blade, they may ask?

Below I've put two photos from my own portfolio, two gorilla head sculptures. The one on the top I made around 1976, when I had been in the business for over 6 years, and having already recreated several classic makeup effects and suits to rival the originals in quality (including a complete Creature From the Black Lagoon suit). That gorilla head was my best effort, after 6 plus years full time doing makeup, and pushing myself to master the highest skills of the business.

The photo at the bottom is a gorilla head I did in 1983, seven years later, the best I could do at that time. See any difference? In terms of technique and material skills and fabrication processes, everything I knew doing the second head (at bottom) I also knew years before when I did the first one (at top). What changed, allowing my second gorilla head to be so much better than the first, was the maturing of skill, the slow but sure manner in which a physical skill is developed. It doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen reading a book or just talking to others who have done it.

Is there any evidence that Roger devoted years of hands-on experience to developing sophisticated suit/creature building skills? If not, then any expectation that his skills simply bloomed overnight is a truly simplistic flight of imagination. Real fabrication skill develops from years of actually doing the task, real-world hands-on experience.

So now, each time I read somebody's remark about "of course Roger could, because he's an artist", as if it were well proven, I just laugh. His supposed "artistic talent" isn't even remotely enough to argue that we should believe he could make or modify a fur creature suit. You can say "what if" as you like with Roger or anybody else, as a simple hypothetical option. But you cannot rely on that "what if he could build the suit" to prove anything, or even substantiate other arguments. There simply is no basis to rely upon.

If anybody wants to "prove" Patty is a human performer in a suit, I would seriously recommend they focus on some explanation that includes a person or team of true professional suitmakers who built the suit and at least some of their team went to the location to assist while filming the footage. Then, their arguments would at least start with some credible foundation, which the "of course Roger could do it" theory completely lacks.

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Guest Crowlogic

All of which leads us back to the present. Youtube is littered with Bigfoot of every ilk and none of them work. Even the ones where the camera is shakey like the PGF don't hide the fakery. I maintain if nothing else that the PGF was supported by serious talent. The skeptics who champanion Roger Patterson as the jack/master of all trades, arts, crafts are delusional.

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All of which leads us back to the present. Youtube is littered with Bigfoot of every ilk and none of them work. Even the ones where the camera is shakey like the PGF don't hide the fakery. I maintain if nothing else that the PGF was supported by serious talent. The skeptics who champanion Roger Patterson as the jack/master of all trades, arts, crafts are delusional.

This hits it right on the head. Nothing comes close the Patterson/Gimlin film. It is either a man in a monkey suit or it is an unknown primate. If it is a monkey suit, it is one of such high quality that it cannot even be duplicated today. The suit was well beyond the capability of Roger Patterson. And the large man that was in it was extremely stupid for being in such a realistic monkey suit with a man pointing a gun at him scared to death. This is my take.

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Bill

Rebuilding Patty - An exercise in digital art speculation.

My review of the thread described issues of artists, their niches and their training and development. One curious thing I forgot to mention was their inspiration and exploration. Creating art ( even if it's done commercially, commissioned by clients, as many makeup effects, prosthetics and suits are) requires an intriguing mindset that includes curiosity. We get to thinking about something and some "what ifs" start popping up in our heads, and we act of those "what ifs", just for the sheer joy of creating something. These creative exercises also provide us with the hands-on experience we need to develop or sustain our skills, a sort of "use it or lose it" proposition.

When I was working on the study of Patty's head shape in profile, which is posted in the review of the thread for Part 6 - Comparative Anatomy, I began to wonder if I could model a "fleshed out" Patty head and face. Now this wasn't a scientific issue, just pure speculation, pure "what if". Suffice to say, any other artist can make their own "patty" their way, and it will likely look very different. So please don't think that what follows is more correct or "authentic" than another person's impression of what Patty might look like. I, as an artist, just thought I'd give it a shot, and see how it might turn out.

In the Review notes, I mentioned artists have niches of what they can do and what they cannot. Sometimes it may surprize you, which is why I suggested caution in appraising Patterson's theoretical skill to do anything connected to a creature suit. People who are undeniably fine artists actually find many artistic things they can't do, because their brain just doesn't process the needs and methods of a particular medium or artistic process.

I can sculpt wonderfully in 3 dimension, but I can't draw on 2D (flat art) to make it look like 3D. Even in my digital work, I do better building something in a 3D modeling program than I do in Photoshop with 2D painting skills. The methods I am showing you in these posts are an example of how Artists actually work around their limitations to achieve results, because we all do have limitations.

That said, I just felt like trying to make a portrait of Patty, and if it turned out well, to share it here. Suffice to say, if it came out terrible, I'd keep it well hidden. But it didn't. It came out well enough that I decided to put it up for others to see. And I put in in this thread because it is in keeping with the theme of the thread, Rebuilding Patty.

As you have probably figured out by now, I like to share with others the behind the scenes info, how things are done. So I'm putting up a step by step look at the reconstruction process. Please remember that each artist has his/her own methods, and don't take my methods here as anything special. Others may do the whole process differently, and end up with as good or even better results.

And as a note about the posting of these, I still have not figured out some of the quirks of the forum software's image positioning protocols. It seems when several photos are put up, the software sometimes positions them sideways across the post, and makes it far wider than the viewer screen, and then formats the text by those margins, making the reader have to scroll sideways to read each sentence. That happened to me on some threads I started, and more recently, it happened to the thread Colobus started about the Heryford Casts and tracks in the General Discussions section.

Since I don't know exactly why the forum software does this, and if it does, there seems to be no way to fix it after the post goes up, I decided to defer to caution and put this post up in three sections, with one image in each, so the post formats to read easily. So there will be three posts in a row for this topic. The first shows some basics I used to arrive at a set of basic head shape outlines. The second shows how a reference 3D head was reconstructed as a rendering posable reference model. And the third is the finished portrait.

So, to begin, I used the head profile I described in more detail in the Notes, Part 6 (where I studied putting a human head inside). Here, there's no human head inside, just a method for estimating shape, front view and side view.

So the profile already established was used.

To estimate front views, I took five of the near front view "look back frames" (with true frames numbers in red) and did green outlines of my estimation of the head in each one.

Then, I set the five green outlines one on top of the other, aligning them by the estimated eyes. And then I finally drew a composite estimate head outline, in red.

The next part was to try and get a more "straight on" view, so I copied the red drawing, mirrored it, and aligned the eyes of both. Then I simply drew a symmetrical approximation of both head and facial contour. Please keep in mind these methods are more artistic than scientific, and another artist could certainly do this all differently.

Once I had diagrams of a front face contour and a head contour, I rotated the profile outline more "chin up" until I got a similar height of eyes, brow, and top of head. This allowed me to connect the two front outlines to fixed positions on the profile outline. And finally the profile outline in purple had two vertical red lines drawn to indicate where the two front cross sections should go.

This finishes part one of this project, and the chart is below:

Part two of making a portrait of Patty.

The next step was actually building a 3D reference model of the face. The chart has text explaining in a simplified way the parts assembled, but in essence, I constructed a profile head object and then attached the two front cross section contour objects, sort of the way one might build a boat, with a keel and then some contour ribs.

Then eyes were positioned, an ear shaped object was put in place, and finally I used basic mesh objects as portions of the face. The software program I used is Bryce 5.0, a 3D graphics software I have used for 10 years now and really like, so mesh modeling is very easy for me in that program. Since I'm only making a reference head shape, not a finished 3D character mesh object, this simplified method worked well for me and was incredibly quick.

So I made an assortment of terrain objects (meshes) as parts of the face, like a upper lip, lower lip, nose, brow, etc. and then scaled and positioned each according to the profile and cross section face diagrams.

What this gave me was a simple 3D working reference to the key facial features, and they would hold their 3D relationship when I rotated the head into various positions. So I wouldn't have to guess how much of the far eye was covered by the bridge of the nose, for example, or guess exactly where the ear was when the head is rotated and tilted. And by making a seperate group of meshes for the torso and shoulder mass, and another for the arm, I could pose these three elements (head, shoulders, arm) to match a specific frame from the film, and then use that film frame for lighting reference.

It doesn't produce a finished portrait itself, more of a simple posed "artist reference model", a starting point for a Photoshop portrait. But it provided all the essential facial features in correct position to one another, since as I noted before, that was one thing I always had trouble with in doing flat art, getting the 3D proportions correct. So by working in actual 3D, the way my brain is wired, I had a basic 3D face posed and ready for the fur and skin detail painting, which I do better with in Photoshop.

So this second chart shows how the 3D reference model is built, and then how it was posed and lighted for a comparision to Frame 370 of the film, my first test portrait. And with this set up, I can do portraits taken from other frames as well, for a possible portrait set.

Once again, the forum's software protocol seems to be formatting this in a way I can't control or predict. So apologies if it is a bit hard to read, or formatted too wide.

Part Three of making a portrait of Patty.

The top part of the attached chart here shows the actual render done in Bryce, with the reference frame seen in the render, so you can see how I referenced the film frame to the posed and lighted object. Once that was done, the actual render was 2400 pixels high for a nice large format base image of the Patty figure, so I'd have a nice scale for detail in Photoshop, and if it came out well, a good print resolution for making a nice final print.

Some artistic choices were made, such as using a darker woodland background than the frame background, for a nicer compositional balance. And with the face, the nose is the most speculative feature because the film frames define the real nose so poorly and there is discrepency from frame to frame.

Below shows the reference render, and the final portrait. Suffice to say, I'm sufficiently pleased with it to show you how it came out. This display print is 1/4 of the actual artwork resolution.

Once again, a disclaimer that this artwork was simply my speculation of how Patty might look. Other artists may see her differently. And nothing in this exercise argues for the whole "real vs fake" debate either way. It simply was an artistic exercise satisfying my curiosity of whether I could make a portrait of patty, based on my studies of the film.

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Guest Remember November

Bill:

very interesting. Not what I was expecting at all. I love the step by step, what an interesting way to turn a 2D object into 3D.

I'm curious, why did you make the nose more flat? And the lips, you thinned them out.

face.jpg

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Bill

RN:

You are referencing another artistic perception. The artist who did the other image you posted chose to intrepret the face differently.

Bill

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And as a note about the posting of these, I still have not figured out some of the quirks of the forum software's image positioning protocols. It seems when several photos are put up, the software sometimes positions them sideways across the post, and makes it far wider than the viewer screen, and then formats the text by those margins, making the reader have to scroll sideways to read each sentence. That happened to me on some threads I started, and more recently, it happened to the thread Colobus started about the Heryford Casts and tracks in the General Discussions section.

You can manually position your attachments one on top of the other, keeping this from happening.

Use your post preview feature to check placement before adding your reply if necessary.

The Heryford cast thread, as well as your contributions to the forum are among the most interesting for me to follow.

Unfortunately, I get a major headache trying to read them and usually give up before taking it all in.

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Bill

Mkianni:

"You can manually position your attachments one on top of the other, keeping this from happening.

Use your post preview feature to check placement before adding your reply if necessary."

Actually the most recent one above (with the portrait) I tried to do as three seperate replies, and the software still kicked into "edit" mode and put them in the same post, and still ignored my "post text, then chart, post text, then chart" order for adding material, and still put all three posts one after the other, and all three charts one beside the other below the text.

So I just take whatever I get, and apologize for the sometimes strange formatting.

Bill

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Sorry Bill, I've never seen that happen.

I'm going to run a test in the test thread to see if I can duplicate what you're talking about.

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Guest Crowlogic

Bill I have the feeling that an actual 3D figure is soon to be forthcoming. On what did you base the 3D rendering's ears. I've never been able to see Patty's ears. Was that a guess or are there frames that show her ears?

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Bill

Crow:

"Bill I have the feeling that an actual 3D figure is soon to be forthcoming. On what did you base the 3D rendering's ears. I've never been able to see Patty's ears. Was that a guess or are there frames that show her ears? "

There are a few frames with a pattern shift sort of suggestive of an ear rim, and it's about where an ear should be, so I took a guess based on those two considerations.

Right now, I'm experimenting with frame 353 of the look back sequence, setting up the basic reference figure.

:D

Bill

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