Frequently asked questions (the FAQ)

What’s here?

Over 16000 images of actresses whose looks have been transformed by prosthetic or other makeup effects taken from over 1000 movies and TV shows. In most cases there are both before and after images and whereever possible I have included images of the makeup process.

What do you mean by makeup?

As far as this site is concerned, it’s makeup if it’s painted onto or stuck on to an actress’s skin. You might find the occasional body-suit (eg fat makeups) or animatronic effect but they’re not the focus of the site. Having said that I’m well aware that some effects are achieved by a combination of makeup, body-suits, animatronics and CGI effects: so sometimes I’ll illustrate different aspects of how an effect or transformation was achieved. In the disguises section you’ll also find a whole sub-section devoted to the ‘mask trick’: an effect akin to conjuring which attempts to make you believe that you’ve seen a makeup effect where there (often) was none.

How can I navigate the site?

I’ve put a lot of thought into this: there is no single easy or fast option to trawl through a 330MB website (when I last counted, there were over 2000 HTML files and nearly 18500 images) so I’ve come up with a number of options: I hope that you find a route that works for you

If this is your first visit, take a quick dip by looking at my favourites. If you are a returning visitor, the images from the last couple of months are clickable from the listings in the updates page.

The Bar at the top of each page – as I implement it – will provide a link to the each of the major sections.

The actress index lists all the actresses featured and the movies from which the images are taken. To compliment this there is a makeup artist index to enable you to find work by individual artists: but the credits are problematic and by no means all the makeups featured are listed.

Visit one of the sub-sections of the site to view a particular type of makeup (eg aliens in Sci-fi movies or young actresses made-up to look old) and browse the thumbnails to select individual movies.

Why don’t you have bigger images?

A number of reasons. But mainly I am trying to provide the best use of browser space within the constraints of a 1280×1024 screen resolution. So the largest images are 840 pixels wide and usually not more than around 700 pixels high (though a few are up to 900 pixels high). I know that many people use higher screen resolutions (I use 2560x1440) but I’m trying to achieve a balance between image size and accessibility. Also not everybody – me included – wants to use their browser full screen.

Why haven’t you got any makeups by … ?

The answer is that I’d love to. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of credits which are especially difficult on movies like The Grinch (I’ve got a set of female ‘Whos’ but I don’t know which makeup artists worked on them). Sometimes – especially with horror films – there are great makeups where all the artistry just can’t be seen because of the way the movie has been shot. Sometimes it’s availability – especially with old movies and others that never made it to DVD or Blu-Ray. Oh, yeah, and there’s this little thing called the backlog of over 150,000 image captures.

I’m really grateful for comments and images from Greg Cannom, Barney Burman, Jamie Kelman, Dick Smith, Doug Morrow, Neill Gorton, Tony Gardner, Robert Rebele, Nahush Pise, Pierre Olivier Persin, David Marti, Charles Porlier, Odd Studio, MastersFX and SodaFX amongst many others.

If you’re a makeup artist who thinks your work from a movie or TV programme ought to be here and isn’t please email themakeupgallery.

Why haven’t you got images from … ?

See above …

Why haven’t you given the makeup artist credits?

I do as far as I can but attribution is by no means easy. Steve Johnson once commented that if they remade The Exorcist today they’d probably get him to design Regan, Dick Smith to age Father Merrin and Stan Winston to do the spinning head gag: and those effects houses employe a floating pool of freelancers. On TV many credits are incomplete (‘Fat Monica’ from Friends). Credits a particular makeup to a particular makeup artist is often either impossible (unless someone tells me ‘I did that’ or a nightmare.

Why are some foreign films given English titles and others not?
Generally I try to respect the title that the movie was released with, but sometimes where a film becomes internationally famous I’m pragmatic. Also where a movie originally has a Chinese or Russian title etc I'll use the international title (or fall bad on the IMDb title or similar).

Why don’t you have any horror effects?

The short answer is that splatter and gore don’t interest me a whole lot. What I’m fascinated by is that movie magic whereby a makeup artist (yeah, and the hairdresser and the costume department) helps an actress transform herself into a very different character.

If makeup artists are so good why are some makeups so bad?

Well, you generally get what you pay for. For mountain bikes components you can pick any two from light, strong, or cheap. With movie makeup the trade-offs are between time, cost and quality: hence TV makeups have tended not to be as good as movie makeups because the time and cost pressures are greater.

But I think there are a number of other factors that have great potential to screw up a makeup. Firstly, the studio. the director or the star may have other ideas (eg the studio reportedly wanted Helena Bonham Carter to look more attractive in Planet of the Apes; the director rejected Dick Smith’s makeup for Karen Black in Burnt Offerings; and Lori Singer reportedly had problems with Carl Fullerton’s makeup for her in Warlock): not to mention decisions on lighting etc. Secondly, change: eg a makeup is designed and costed for a quick moving middle distance shot in a ill-lit room and the director says ‘Hey that was great now let’s to a closeup and get some more light on her so we can see her expression’; or like in Highlander the makeup is all designed, the moulds made etc and then a different actress shows up on set.

I’ve got images from (a tape/DVD of) … : are you interested?

If it’s off a DVD or Blu-Ray and it’s not already stuck in my backlog probably yes but I’m pretty much done with tape generated images as the quality was just not that good – so if it’s tape probably no unless it’s really rare and special. I have got a wants list but it’s only a fraction of what I’m looking for. I’m really grateful for the contributions I’ve had from friends all round the world. I’ll happily receive images or tapes (and I will return the latter). If you do want to send me images, please email themakeupgallery first or send a sample image.

Where do the images come from?

Most of the images on the site are either my own captures/scans or contributed by makeup artists – or press offices. The captures are mainly from DVDs though as far as possible new ones are from Blu-Rays. The scans come from a variety of movie/movie-making magazines that I have collected over the years – I have found Cinefantastique, Cinefex, and Make-up Artist Magazine to be particularly fruitful sources – or from TV guides and similar.

I try not to use images from other Websites except for the ‘before’ images which are often from one of the actress’s fan sites or one of the actress image messageboards. I do not knowingly use any images from makeup artists’ websites or from how-to videos produced by makeup artists though I do use images generously supplied by some makeup artists (eg Neill Gorton, & others).

Why do you do this?

I love movies and I got fascinated by how do they do that after seeing The List of Adrian Messenger and Kind Hearts and Coronets when I was a kid.

How do I get into movie makeup?

Sorry, I’m not the one to ask: I’m not a makeup artist. There’s a lot of makeup artist sites around now and some of them answer this question. Michael Key at Make-up Artist Magazine has the best standard answer that I’ve seen.

Are many people interested in this stuff?

I have no idea. But after being chosen as a Yahoo Pick in January 2003 daily page-views went up from about 6000 a day to a peak of 55,000 a day; in the 2006 the site had a million visits; in 2008 the site served 750,000 pages in a month for the first time. But mostly I tend not to bother to look at the stats.

How do I … ?

Sorry, I’m not a makeup artist and I can’t give you advice how to achieve a particular makeup effect well or safely.

What is the copyright situation for the material displayed?

Many images have been supplied by makeup artists who have given me permission to display them on themakeupgallery. Other images are captured from DVDs or Blu-Rays and the advice I have is that their use is covered by the provisions of UK copyright legislation covering fair use for criticism or review as: 1) movies and TV shows been made available to the public; 2) the source of the material is acknowledged 3) the images are accompanied by some discussion or assessment; 4) the amount of the material quoted is no more than is necessary for the purpose of the review.

However, on the rare occasions when an actress or a makeup artist have had an issue with a particular image, or set of images, I have I have been happy to co-operate.

Can I repost the images in another site?

See above: I do not own the rights to these images so I do not have right to give you permission. However, should you choose to do so then I would be grateful if you would cite the source and provide a link back to this site. I do think it is discourteous present images that someone else has laboured over as your own.

What browser and screen resolution is it designed for?

I would like the site to be browser-neutral and it based on HTML5 and CSS3 standards. I write the minimum necessary browser specific code to achieve the design I want. But the compatibility with CSS3 standards varies between browsers and even using browser-specific code variants some aspects of the design degrade – hopefully harmlessly – on some browsers . No attempt has been made to modify the website for mobile devices but – allowing for the comments about Safari below – it resizes automatically on my iPhone.

Fonts are particular problem as each browser seems to render them slightly differently, and there is a wide variantion for what should be standard typographic features (eg small capitals, non-lining/old style numbers, ordinal numbers etc) especially in Safari. Using Adobe Typekit gets away from using those same boring fonts as every other website but brings it's own glitches (eg dodgy word-wrap in Chrome)

As to screen resolution: it probably needs 1280×1024 as a minimum to see the largest images on screen.

What do you use for capturing the images?

A lot of the early images were captured using a $50 Hauppauge WinTV card but now I mostly use DVD & Blu-ray captures. I still capture occasional stuff from satellite broadcasts using a Freesat HD decoder with a hard disk but generally the quality isn't comparable and it’s too much of a hassle unless there’s a really good reason..

I started building this site on a 266MHz Pentium II with 128MB RAM and 20GB hard disk space: some six PCs later I’m now using a 27" iMac with 64GB of RAM and some 30TB of external storage hung off it for the image processing & design. I mostly manage and process the images using Adobe Bridge & Photoshop CC. In its original incarnation the site was built using SoftQuad’s HotMetal Pro5, but I now use Adobe Dreamweaver CC.

Is this an adult site or is it suitable for kids?

No it’s not an adult site. However, there is some nudity where this is essential to show the makeup. There are a few makeups that can only be illustrated by full-frontal nudity, including actresses portraying pre-op MTF transsexuals.

And there may be a few scary monsters in the undergrowth of the horror makeups.

I can’t guarantee that the links are all child friendly.

Have you got an email address for… ?

This site is not sponsored by or connected with any of the makeup artists or actresses featured. I’m happy to know a few of the actresses and makeup artists featured here but I do not give out personal email addresses – if they want their email addresses to be publicly available then they will have published them on an official website (see the makeup artist listing for links to official websites where available).

Oh yes one other thing. I thought it was patently obvious that I am not Charlize Theron, Anna Mouglalis, Hannah Herzsprung, Kirsten Dunst or anyone else featured here. But the slow stream of adoring, obsence and plain pathetic emails intended for various of the actresses seems to indicate that computer literacy is no guarantee of the existence of intelligence. In the faint hope that some these poor souls might actually read this: I am not the object of your obsession or admiration: I do not want a love letter from you and I will not forward it.