The production designer deals with one of the most important jobs in a film. He or she is responsible for planning its entire look, from individual sets to overall color schemes. Normally one of the first to be involved in the production, the designer delegates specific tasks to other members of the crew, who are in turn responsible for creating designs on a more detailed level or for supervising or executing the work needed to transform the designs into reality.
Set building is the responsibility of the construction department. Plans are produced by a draftsperson for the guidance of the construction manager. The construction department includes a range of workers, including carpenters, plasterers, painters, sculptors, drapers, and sign writers, who all work with materials purchased by the construction buyer. Standby painters and standby carpenters remain after the set has been built to handle any alterations required during filming.
Once the basic sets are constructed, the art department takes over. Supervisory responsibility is normally assumed by the art director, although sometimes the roles of production designer and art director are combined. A set designer has the duty of planning in detail the sets suggested by the head of the department. A production buyer is responsible for purchasing the required materials.
If large, two-dimensional pictures are used at the rear of the set to create the illusion of a space that does not exist, they are the responsibility of the scenic artist. Sometimes the background paintings are not physically incorporated into the set but are combined through optical effects. These images are created by a matte artist; they were traditionally painted on glass, but techniques are changing with the growing sophistication of digital effects.
The set decorator is responsible for transforming a basic set into the illusion of a complete environment, with all the details needed to make it look convincing. He or she is normally assisted by a lead person, who is in charge of the swing gang, which comprises miscellaneous personnel handling set dressing and props, who ready the set for the next day's filming, often by working overnight. The set dresser physically places the set dressing items, such as chairs and tables. A greensperson places and maintains any necessary foliage. The property master provides mobile objects, such as books or kitchenware, which may be handled by actors. These are maintained by a property assistant. Certain types of props that call for more detailed knowledge may be supplied or supervised by a specialist such as an armorer, who is responsible for weaponry.
The wardrobe department is headed by the costume designer, who works with the director and the production designer to ensure the film has the desired "look." The role of the wardrobe supervisor is to ensure that the outfits specified by the costume designer are created, hired, or purchased within the budget. If costumes must be made, they are created by a seamstress and cutter/fitter. The wardrobe master or mistress and wardrobe assistants maintain the costumes during production, supervising washing and mending as well as ensuring that the costumes are available when and where they are required. A dresser may be employed to help the performers get in and out of their outfits.
The hairstylist is responsible for designing and maintaining hair and wigs. Makeup artists design and create the facial and body makeup effects required for the performers (sometimes animal as well as human). The special makeup effects credit belongs to artists who create major alterations in appearance. These may include the simulation of serious injuries or disfigurements, or the transformation of an actor into a monster. Prosthetic makeup is a specialized task that generates radical transformations by attaching latex or other materials to an actor's skin, using prosthetic appliances created by a foam technician.