Q&A with TRON: Legacy Lead Makeup Artist Rosalina da Silva Including Looking Like QuorraPosted 12:18 pm on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 by John 'Spartan' Nguyen
The world of TRON: Legacy looks amazing. Other than the cool vehicles and suits, the makeup helps enhance the world of TRON. Here’s a Q&A session with Rosalinda da Silva, who worked as the makeup department head. She has worked on projects like Underworld: Evolution, X-Men: The Last Stand and Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch. Now the next tip I need is how to make a Daft Punk helmet. Anyway, here’s the Q&A!
How does a makeup artist prepare to work on a film? Do you receive guidance from the director or collaborate with the costume designer/art director/key hair stylist on the makeup look?
In my particular case, I was hired by producer, Jeffrey Silver. He gave me a synopsis of the movie, and from there, I created a vision in my head. Next, I gathered magazines, tear sheets, and graphics, through which I could show an example of my thoughts and ideas. In a meeting with Joseph Kosinski, the director, we talked through everything and even explored other ideas. Given his background in architecture, I thought that incorporating strong lines and shapes into the makeup designs would be appropriate in keeping not only with the sets and costumes, but also with his vision. The costume design was definitely a point of inspiration, as well. I then began working with the hair stylist to design and create looks for Joseph’s approval. It was a team effort and it all had to look seamless.
The film was shot in 3D – what key products do you use when films are shot this way and how do the products and technique differ from that which you use in 2D.
Shooting in 3D was a totally unknown technique for me, so it was a process of trial and error for the first month of makeup tests. However, I knew that the work had to be extremely refined and that the skin tone colors were going to be an additional challenge. Because of this, I made the decision to block out the natural skin tones and give the faces very reflective finishes by creating and designing foundations and powders that would help create that type of look. Although some makeup brands have HD specific products, I didn’t use them because I needed extremely heavy coverage.
“TRON: Legacy” was filmed using intricate lighting methods and characters were lit from below – how did that effect the makeup designs?
The lighting was very broad and soft, almost shadow-less. My intention in creating these designs and keeping the palette monochromatic was to make sure that the actors totally fit into the set and became a part of it… assuming and reflecting the ambiance.
How do the lighted costumes and digital elements of the film affect the makeup design?
By keeping the designs neutral and reflective, the makeup embraces the lighting elements of the sets and works with them to complement the costumes.
What research did you do to come up with the bold, geometric looks for the “Sirens”?
Creating the Sirens’ makeup look was a long process with loads of tests and changes. The original idea for these characters had to be simplified in order to become production friendly. Originally, the Siren characters were all supposed to have been created equal and identical, but that wasn’t possible because actresses with different skin shades were cast. I decided to
exaggerate their skin tones and take this contrast to the extreme by making some sirens many shades darker and others much lighter than their natural skin colors.
How does a makeup design contribute to building a movie character?
The characters are built by an entire creative team, and my job is to use makeup as one of the most visual elements to bring the director’s ultimate vision to the screen.
The makeup looks for the female leads, Quorra and Siren Gem, reference the heavily lined eyes at Giambattista Valli’s FW’10 fashion show. What inspired these fashion forward looks?
I looked at so many fashion runways shows! Makeup artist Kabuki’s runway work was a great inspiration for me. The director wanted the Sirens to be ‘sexy goddesses’, so I made sure to emphasize the eyes by adding three sets of lashes and out of this world contact lenses!
Quorra’s look is very wearable for evening. Can you provide step-by-step instructions on how to create Quorra’s look?
- Underbase: M·A·C Strobe Liquid
- Foundation: A full coverage foundation, applied full strength with a foundation brush
- Concealer: A mixture of very light colours
- Cheeks: A shimmery highlight powder (also brushed along side nose into the inner eyebrow area)
- Eyes: M·A·C Paint in Bare Canvas as a base, M·A·C Paint Pot in Quite Natural in the eye crease, and M·A·C Paint Pot in Bare Study to create highlights.
- Eye Liner: M·A·C Eye Kohl in Smolder, blended and smudged to create the eyeliner and shadow. M·A·C Eye Pencil in Ebony, M·A·C Fluidline in Blacktrack
- Mascara: Black, volume enhancing, waterproof mascara
- Eye Brows: Brow gel to shape the hairs, darkened with M·A·C Fluidline in Blacktrack
- Lips: M·A·C Lipstick in Fresh Brew
For the finishing touches, I made my own loose powder with a base of M·A·C Iridescent Powder/Loose in Silver Dusk and M·A·C Set Powder in Invisible with a dash of other pigments and powders. I put them all into a blender and crushed them to create an extra fine reflective powder. This was a staple throughout the movie on most characters. Other staple products included M·A·C Fluidline in Blacktrack, which I used in excess of hundreds of pots, and M·A·C Paint Pots in Background.
The makeup in TRON: Legacy is monochromatic, using a lot of black and white. What effect did you hope to achieve by designing the makeup this way?
I simply didn’t want any color makeup. I thought that color would compete with the sets and costumes, and I wanted the characters to be part of the set, with the exception of Sam. For his character, I wrestled with designing a makeup for a human living in a virtual world. I wanted his makeup to be different and dramatic.
What challenges did you face when designing and applying the makeup?
Perhaps the biggest challenge was to maintain the makeup perfectly all day long. With so many elements working against us, a major issue involved trying to keep the actors cool and dry so that they wouldn’t sweat off the makeup.
John “Spartan” Nguyen is the editor-in-chief at Nerd Reactor and is based in Orange County, CA. He is a graphic designer and illustrator.