The designer has just handed over the final sketches, and it's up to you, the sculptor, to make them three-dimensional. You get to use specialized tools and create in clay your interpretation of the creature asked for.

The sculptor is important because it is this artist's work, ultimately, that ends up on the screen. What the final product is intended to be determines how the project is done. If you are going to be sculpting a large hand puppet without much facial activity, you may need to do just some basic foam carving.

Small creatures are much more detailed and are usually sculpted out of clay. Since they range anywhere from several inches to three feet or more in height, the sculptor usually uses some sort of skeleton or armature in the approximate shape of the creature on which to anchor the sculpture, then builds the clay up around that.

If your task is the full-size body suit for some alien from a distant galaxy, then your methods will be slightly different. What you'll be doing is sculpting a clay skin, lighter in specific details but more accurate in the details you do choose to show. You'll still use clay, only a lot more of it. Your internal support could be anything from a cardboard mock-up to a fiberglass cast shell taken from the performer who will be wearing the suit.

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