Gelatin vs. silicone


So before coming to Stan Winston I worked exclusively with gelatine...sculpting and casting small prosthetics. I'm learning the basics of using silicone, but I'm wondering....why does there seem to be such a dismissive attitude about gelatine compared to silicone. It's super inexpensive, bad castings can usually be remelted in minutes to be reused, it works really well with prosaide or silicone adhesives, it can be precolored in bulk, and it paints eaily with PAX or alcohol activated paints.

Sure, water is its enemy, and it's got a funky smell. 

However, those two drawbacks are the only two marks against it. Why, then, is gelatine so often dismissed?


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    Hi Barry,

    Gelatin is awesome, but it does have some limitations that make it less common in the industry than silicone.

    Compared to silicone, gelatin is not as flexible, does not hold up to abuse/heat/moisture as well, can shrink/deform on you if not properly cared for, does not have as long or predictable a shelf life post-casting, size and thickness limitations, can not usually be re-applied or repaired as easily, etc.  Life on set can be very hard on a makeup.  

    That's not to say you should not use gelatin. It's great for makeup applications where you don't need the flexible range, durability, or reliability of silicone, and it can be made quite beautiful.   It's especially good for photography where it does not need to move as much, is not typically under harsh conditions, and is not worn for too long.  It's also great to use as test material in your first runs of a mold that you plan to later cast more expensive materials in.  And the ability to melt down and re-use gelatin adds to its versatility in the lab. 

    Every tool and material has its own strengths and weaknesses, and none should ever be disregarded.  

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