Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Needle marks And Track marks.

Not the most attractive title for a blog post I must admit but don't let it put you off....

On our first special effects lesson after the Christmas break our type gave us a demonstration own how to create needle marks and track marks using a product called rigid collodion. This is something we do not have in our kits so haven't had the opportunity to use before do it was good to get stuck into something different straight away.
Above is the finished look which was done by my tutor, it's something she made look incredibly easy, which I've learnt not to be so fooled by when it comes to special effects.
 The first step in this process is shown in the image above. From watching the demo i initially thought it would be easier doing veins than it was, it took me a while to get the mix of colours right as i applied it too heavily at first so then had to try take some of that colour away, i then took my time making sure the lines were blended properly until they looked like realistic veins.

The image below shows the completed piece after i have applied the rigid collodion which is used to create the actual needle marks, i added the red colouring around these points which creates the effect of blood under the skin, i found it difficult to get the colouring right for this as initially it looked too red and not realistic enough but after a lot of blending i was happy with the the way it looked.
 Looking at the images now i think they look slightly more like cigarette burns than needle marks and if i was to do this again i would make sure i add a darker colour on top of the collodion which will give it more depth to the needle mark and create more of a scab effect.
These types of marks would most commonly be found on an individual with a drug habit, this can be used in both the theatre and television, with theatre the colouring would have to be a lot brighter more dramatic and be well defined so it can be visible to those sat furthest way from the stage where as for television it would need to look a lot more realistic and natural.


  1. Would this also work when portraying a character who is undergoing chemo/dialysis (and hence would have track marks from the needles used for their treatment)?

    1. Coming from an addict that doesn’t look realistic and hats not what it looks like. No nurse would put the needle in the same exact spot on the vein every single time until they get actual scabs that look like holes like how they did here. This isn’t realistic it looks stupid don’t do it. I’m not trying to be mean but I’m annoyed a tutor or some sort of teacher is teaching something that isn’t even the least bit realistic.

  2. sorry but they don't look realistic at all....as a drug addict for 20yrs i would know this...you went overboard and thats what spoils it

  3. Lol. Uhm. Those don’t look like track marks at all I seriously am so annoyed I want to slap your tutor. Those look like scabs and a darkening vein. When someone shoots you theyll get tiny red dots all up along the vein. Like it will make a “track” that’s why they call it that. Sometimes people’s veins do darken like that wen they die but nobody just has holes/scans like that on their veins where they would shoot up in every single time. The scar tissue would build there and a scab would build and it would get super hard to hit there and you would have to push the needle brought the scan and scar tissue. That’s not what it looks like at all. This is coming from an IV heroin user and I come from and area where people get some gnarly looking track marks and bruises. It just doesn’t look like that.

  4. Those look like cigarette burns on someone’s vein. Those don’t look like track marks. The needle isn’t that big you’ll see tiny dots or won’t see dots at all sometimes just brushing or some people are good enough at hitting where they won’t leave much of a mark.