it’s place, but it’s a profoundly overrated tool. You get the feeling from this CG stuff that these guys are arrogant. They seem to lack any sense of what they’re not capable of. But I have to admit, a large part of my negative reaction is due to my bias toward physical fx. I grew up on films with makeup and makeup fx work, and that’s what I’ve studied and love. If CG is used to augment the other effects techniques like models, makeup, etc, it can work well. Certainly there are things they can pull off that are difficult, though not necessarily impossilbe, to pull off with traditional effects. From what I’ve heard, the best CG stuff has come from teams that included people who are/were physical fx guys. In "The Lord of the Rings," makeup artist Gina Acevedo used a sort of virtual airbrushing application to color some of the CG models. He’s considered one of the best airbrush artists in the makeup fx world, and that expertise really augmented the CG work for the film. Also, you’ve got to remember that most every CG creature starts out as a 3D sculpture. The CG people get a lot of credit for work that sculptors, actors and others are doing. People just lump it all together as "computers" when that’s only a part of it.

Q. Can you tell us more about the Monster Lab forum?

I started a message forum and website for Makeup effects, and related topics, in the Spring of '02. There had been several message boards and sites on this stuff before that, but they had some pretty significant drawbacks (too many adds, no picture posting, etc). My dayjob is semi webrelated, and I'm stuck infront of a computer 8 hours a day, so I figured that it was about time for me to see if I could get an
active forum going that could make up for the deficiencies in what existed.

So I put together an site, linked up an ezboard, and things took off. What started as a core group of 20 or so has turned into an international gathering spot for hundreds of hobbiests and professionals. It's pretty much the main place on the web for makeup effect. We also get many known professionals to stop by, which surprised me. And the information flow is just unbelievable. There's more information on that board that probably anywhere else. We've also attracted participants from the UK, Canada, Spain, New Zeland, Brazil, France, Italy, Denmark. All over the place. And a lot of these guys are fantastic artists. If you take a look at the "Gallery" section of the site, you'll see some pretty awesome work.It's become this great, supportive group where you can find just about any tech information, or get real insightful critiques on projects.

I'm still amazed at how successful it's become. Unfortunately, I don't make any money from all the work and money I put into it. I can't imagine not having it as a resourse, but it can be a bit of a burden sometimes.