Photo 2: In the original meetings, Felicia expressed that she envisioned this scene to be just a transition, and thought that we could keep everything small, close, and nondescript. But I felt that it was an important visual introduction to her world, and our first glimpse into the lifestyle of the Qunari. After reading her final script, the setting definitely grew into a ship's hold.
Photo 4: "Planks" of luan were stapled over that, leaving a gap between each one so the separation would read on camera. Hollow beams were suspended over the set, and foam ribs were carved for the walls.
Photo 6: The Athlok was a butcher, and the Qunari are giants, so I wanted to make sure there was plenty of meat around! It's completely impractical to use real sides of beef as set dressing, so I bit the bullet and ponied up the money to make a full scale mold.
Photo 7: Rob "The Kid" Lindores made a fiberglass matrix case over the finished sculpt, and here he attaches cardboard tubes over holes he drilled so about 20 gallons of silicone could be poured in to make a highly detailed impression of the sculpt.
Photo 9: The finished meat was coated with an acrylic gloss to make it look fresh, and we sprayed them with water during filming to keep them extra shiny. The set floor was covered in hay, and the ship's hold was ready to shoot!
Photo 10: BioWare used a lot of specific patterns in the Qunari aesthetic, and I drafted as many of them as I could into this set. I would venture to say that this is the most detailed construction of any set we built for DA:R, although it ultimately gets the least amount of screen time. John Bell helmed the overwhelming task of getting this one built.
Photo 11: Here are the Qunari cutlery Athlok uses during the fight scene. Every weapon we made had a hero copy, pictured, and a stunt copy. The stunt looked the same at first glance, but on closer inspection, you would notice rounder corners and duller edges, for safety.
Photo 12: But Felicia was feisty as the Elf slave, and used more than blades for weapons. This is the leg bone she beats Thom Williams with. The one on the left is made from rigid urethane foam, the other an exact copy, but made of a soft, flexible polyfoam. Both copies were safe for stunt fighting, but the rigid looked better close up, and the softer one allowed Felicia to put more effort into the swing with no risk of hurting Tom.
Photo 14: I was pretty excited about the opportunity to recreate all things Dragon Age, but when BioWare sent me this screen capture of a Qunari Warrior, it quickly rose to the top of my list.
Photo 15: The first thing I did after studying the 3D models BioWare sent me was a quick mock-up sculpture. Usually when designing a character make-up, I would do a full "maquette", but "designing" is a difficult word to use in terms of DA:R. I was the production designer, but in a sense, the production was already designed! My main job was to take all the elements of the game and figure out how to bring them to life. I was more like the Production Engineer!
Photo 16: After I figured out how I would accomplish the make-up, the next step was to figure out WHO would wear the make-up. Qunari are hulking beasts, hardened warriors. So many members of the Dragon Age cast were friends, but Kim Evey, Felicia, and I wondered who we knew that could play a muscular giant. J. Teddy Garces instantly came to mind. He was hilarious as Brusier in The Guild Season 3, and that guy definitely works out! He was perfect.
Photo 17: Teddy agreed to do the role, and the next day we did a full head and torso cast on him. He is so massive that I was actually able to climb INSIDE his body cast to work on the seams!
Photo 19: I'm blogging in order of appearance within the episodes, but I actually sculpted the Qunari Warrior prior to the Saarebas. I really wanted to try and capture that screen shot first, and then work backwards to the mage. I also wanted to figure out the horn placement, as Teddy's would be massive and placement would be more critical than Doug's sawed off nubs.
Photo 21: The horns were so big they needed extra armature to support them in clay form. They kept shifting while I was working on them, so I restrained them with a wad of plaster bandage. When the sculpt was complete, the horns needed to be cut free. For some reason, the bandage grabbed onto the pipe like it never has before, so I had to cut through the thick armature with bolt cutters. After a week of sculpting, it was a bit nerve wrecking. I thought art department coordinator Pooja was going to have a heart attack as she watched me!
Photo 22: The horns were completely removed to be molded separately, and the head got a silicone matrix mold.
Photo 23: I used everything I knew about how Rob Bottin made the Darkness horns for Ridley Scott's LEGEND to make the Qunari horns. I laid them up with a lightweight epoxy and angel hair fiberglass cloth. They were 3 feet long, but only weight ounces. They were glued onto a skullcap cast over Teddy's head, which was lined with mole skin.
Photo 24: The finished horns, complete with animatronic eyebrows. I installed servo controlled mechanisms into the horns to get broader expressions out of the Qunari brow, since I sculpted the forehead so massive. I operated them off camera by remote control.
Photo 25: I painted the Warrior skin using the same methods I did for Saarebas.
Photo 26: This is the SPFX make-up trailer. Teddy's warrior appliance waits for him to arrive. It appears lighter here because it was coated in baby powder to protect the paint during transport and application. On set, a layer of KY jelly is applied to bring out the color and create a moist, fleshy appearance.
Photo 27: Here's Teddy in the first stages of make-up application. He's showing off his favorite snack!
Photo 28: After the face was glued down, the horns were slipped on and the foam latex mask was attached to them. The next hour was spend painting Teddy's torso, arms, and hands with PAX, and airbrushing Skin Ilustrator to match the veining pattern on the foam. Finally, Erika applied the hair as I set up the animatronics.
Photo 29: Teddy was put in full costume, and walked to set. I'm not sure if I'm telling the photographer to keep quiet, ripping a piece of tape with my mouth cause my other hand is holding the animatronic battery, or eating the world's largest string cheese in this picture.
Photo 32: The Qunari release the Athlok, allowing her to once again become Tallis, a highly trained assassin. The price for her freedom? Capture the rogue Qunari mage, Saarebas.