The amount of time and effort, sweat, and tears that go into making movies is impressive. Just take a look at the intricacies required in applying special effects makeup on Hollywood actors. Even characters who we think don’t need any professional makeup can take hours and hours to get ready for the set. Not to mention how much effort goes into making fantasy and sci-fi characters look believable.

To show you just how much work it takes to do Hollywood-tier makeup, we’ve collected some of the best before and after, as well as step-by-step pictures. For example, who knew that making Thorin Oakenshield look like, well, Thorin Oakenshield was a very involved process? And here we thought that putting on a wig was all it took!

Keep on scrolling, upvote your fave face transformation pics, and share them with your movie-loving friends. When you’re done, have a look at Bored Panda’s previous post about incredible pics of actors before and after applying special effects makeup.

#1

Naomi Grossman, American Horror Story Series

Naomi Grossman, American Horror Story Series

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ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 year ago

unbelievable

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#2

Robin Williams, Mrs Doubtfire

Robin Williams, Mrs Doubtfire

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Ania O
Community Member
1 year ago

<3

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#3

Eddie Murphy, Coming To America

Eddie Murphy, Coming To America

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desert29rat
Community Member
1 year ago

That's an amazing transformation.

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The life of a Hollywood movie makeup artist is difficult and involved, even if it’s exciting and purposeful. But makeup artists aren’t one homogenous group of professionals.

You have 4 main movie makeup artist roles. Starting with key makeup artists who design the makeup looks worn by the lead actors. In other words, they take care of the famous actors.

They also come up with the more complicated and intricate makeup designs and oversee other employees to make sure that there’s visual continuity and consistency in how the makeup looks throughout shooting the entire movie.

#4

Richard Brake, Game Of Thrones

Richard Brake, Game Of Thrones

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Kaisu
Community Member
1 year ago

I can't even imagine how long this must've taken!

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#5

Charlize Theron, Monster

Charlize Theron, Monster

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varwenea
Community Member
1 year ago

She was unrecognizable. What a transformation.

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#6

Doug Jones, Crimson Peak

Doug Jones, Crimson Peak

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Evgeniya Khon
Community Member
1 year ago

What movie is this from?

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Then there are your run-of-the-mill makeup artists who are responsible for making non-lead and supporting actors look good. They’re under orders to turn the key makeup artists’ visions into reality.

Of course, not much would be done without makeup assistants who help organize makeup kits, do other small but necessary tasks, and lend a hand to the artists with whatever they might need. They’re the unsung heroes of every movie.

Lastly, there are special effects makeup artists who probably have some of the coolest jobs in the movie industry. They create special makeup effects, such as prosthetics and the like.

#7

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

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desert29rat
Community Member
1 year ago

Amazing transformation and a great movie.

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#8

Richard Armitage, The Hobbit

Richard Armitage, The Hobbit

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Phoebe Bean
Community Member
1 year ago

Wow

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#9

Danny DeVito, Batman Returns

Danny DeVito, Batman Returns

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desert29rat
Community Member
1 year ago

He was a great Penguin.

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#10

Karen Gillan, Avengers

Karen Gillan, Avengers

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Sunzilla
Community Member
1 year ago

Come along, Pond...

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#11

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator

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Shireen
Community Member
1 year ago

Stan Winston's team are still some of the best special effects makeup artists!

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#12

Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool 2

Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool 2

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Tee
Community Member
1 year ago

Captain Deadpool...naw just Deadpool!

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#13

Chris Hemsworth, Avengers Endgame

Chris Hemsworth, Avengers Endgame

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Phoebe Bean
Community Member
1 year ago

Flabbio!

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#14

Gary Oldman, Hannibal

Gary Oldman, Hannibal

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HorrorWeirdo
Community Member
1 year ago

Mason Verger... Again, wow. This is flat-out unbelieveable.

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#15

John Rhys-Davies, Lord Of The Rings

John Rhys-Davies, Lord Of The Rings

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Panda Kicki
Community Member
1 year ago

And he was allergic to the glue, that is dedication!

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#16

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

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Phoebe Bean
Community Member
1 year ago

Amazing actor and wonderful performance. A tragic loss.

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#17

Ron Perlman, Hellboy

Ron Perlman, Hellboy

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ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 year ago

The one and only Hellboy

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#18

Ian Mckellen, Lord Of The Rings

Ian Mckellen, Lord Of The Rings

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Lemon
Community Member
1 year ago

OMG I LOVE GANDALF!!

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#19

Tim Curry, Legend

Tim Curry, Legend

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Steve Bowman
Community Member
1 year ago

Rather less impressive without the horns.

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#20

Michael Keaton, Beetlejuice

Michael Keaton, Beetlejuice

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desert29rat
Community Member
1 year ago

Great movie!

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#21

Bill Skarsgård, It

Bill Skarsgård, It

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HorrorWeirdo
Community Member
1 year ago

Omg omg I’m going to watch this movie and god am I excited! This is amazing!

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#22

Emma Thompson, Nanny Mcphee

Emma Thompson, Nanny Mcphee

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desert29rat
Community Member
1 year ago

Fun movie; "I did knock".

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#23

Jacob Tremblay, Wonder

Jacob Tremblay, Wonder

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Mimi M
Community Member
1 year ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

I thought the kid who played in this movie actually had Treacher Collins Syndrome. Too bad.

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#24

Roddy Mcdowall, Planet Of The Apes

Roddy Mcdowall, Planet Of The Apes

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Mimi M
Community Member
1 year ago

A very handsome pic of Rodney Macdowall. RIP.

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#25

Jim Carrey, How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Jim Carrey, How The Grinch Stole Christmas

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IzzieM
Community Member
1 year ago

This was perfect, my favorite Grinch ever!

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#26

Tilda Swinton, Grand Budapest Hotel

Tilda Swinton, Grand Budapest Hotel

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I am Disney
Community Member
1 year ago

RUN!! ITS THE ICE QUEEN!!

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#27

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything

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Sunzilla
Community Member
1 year ago

Amazing performance by Redmayne.

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#28

Josh Brolin, Deadpool 2

Josh Brolin, Deadpool 2

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Csaba Hegedűs
Community Member
1 year ago

A good part of it was still CGI, but he looked amazing!

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#29

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

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desert29rat
Community Member
1 year ago

Too real for me.

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#30

Angelina Jolie, Maleficent

Angelina Jolie, Maleficent

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Shireen
Community Member
1 year ago

Very subtle but SO effective!

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Note: this post originally had 57 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.