In the world of video game production, there's a lot of time that goes into elements such as designing landscapes, people and the wardrobes, which is a major part of bringing characters to life. Makeup artist Kelton Ching is responsible for creating all of the wardrobes and masks for the upcoming Lovecraft-inspired open world game from Frogwares, The Sinking City, during E3. What goes into wardrobe for video games? Is it much different than wardrobe design for film? Kelton answers these questions and more.
PH: How did you get involved with The Sinking City?
Kelton Ching: I got involved with the project when I was contacted by Reiko Kondo of Day O Productions and she did most of the communication between the client (Big Ben Interactive) and myself.
PH: What's your process when starting a new project? For this one, did you have an idea of what you wanted the masks and wardrobe to look like?
Kelton Ching: Generally my process for a new project involves collecting reference images, and studying the character I have to recreate or using the reference I have gathered to come up with a design for myself or the client.
For this project, the client provided some reference images with a clear outline of the type of creatures they wanted for their booth. From the beginning, there was not a lot of guesswork with the designs for the characters.
PH: Where does a lot of your inspiration come from?
Kelton Ching: A lot of my inspiration comes from books, video games, movies and music. My favorite genre is horror so some of the authors who really inspire are ones like HP Lovecraft and Clive Barker. Artists that inspire me are HR Giger, Hans Bellmer and Michael Hussar. I also am very into mythology from different cultures so I tend to reference that in my work.
PH: From this project, did you have a favorite look? What was it and why?
Kelton Ching: I really liked both the creatures I created for this project - the male and female denizens who inhabit the world of The Sinking City. They were both humanoid creatures with fishlike features since the game is Lovecraftian inspired. My favorite would have to be the bride though as I really enjoyed the black gown she has on with the veil and white bloodied flowers. She's also a lot more grotesque and her skin is covered in boils and flaps of skin so that was very fun to sculpt.
PH: Are there any tricks or tips to remember when designing for a video game?
Kelton Ching: When you are hired to design for a company, the most important thing is to give the client exactly what they want. A lot of back and forth communication is essential in order for both parties to be on the same page. Most of the time the client and I are not in the same location so correspondence happens over email or the phone. Having a good eye for detail is also very helpful.
PH: How is this different than creating the wardrobe for a film?
Kelton Ching: It's not any different for creating a wardrobe for a film. Generally, you go back and forth with the director/project manager (in this case Reiko) until you get a concise picture of what the client is looking for. I usually provide them with work in progress of the sculptures I'm working on so things can be added or changed.
PH: What are some upcoming projects you're looking forward to working on?
Kelton Ching: I'm looking forward to working on some new films and new makeup projects with clients I have lined up! Most of my work is confidential though so I am unable to share any information until the project is completed and made public.
PH: Anything else you'd like to add?
Kelton Ching: You can see my FX makeup work in Jon Knautz's film The Cleaning Lady – I designed the makeup for the title character and did all sculpting and application. There are also some fun gory scenes in the film. If you would like to see more of my work, visit my website and my social media it is KeltonFX for Facebook and Instagram and KeltonCFX on Twitter!