James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day featured comes with awesome innovation with filmmaking and VFX work. Not only with CGI effects but also with practical effects, which were all done by the expert team at Stan Winston Studios.
Among the T-1000 effects were devices that would suggest the splash impact of bullet hits on the liquid metal man, first seen in an early shot at a shopping mall, where the original Terminator fires on the T-1000.
To explore the look, Winston and his crew spent weeks firing pellets into the mud, studying the patterns made by the impact, then repeating them in sculpted form and producing appliances. Vacumetalizing slip rubber latex material, reinforced with soft foam rubber or polyfoam, completed the chrome look.
The splash appliances were carved and produced in an assortment of patterns and sizes and were rigged with an irising, petal-like spring-loaded mechanism that would open the bullet wounds on cue. This flowering mechanism was attached to a fiberglass chest plate worn by Robert Patrick — the actor portraying the T-1000 in his cop guise — under a prescored costume and was actuated by a single radio-controlled cable pin release. The pin’s release would open the petals, replacing that area of the costume with the chromed bullet splash.
The following video puts focuses on the splash head effect of the T-1000. You can read all kinds of details about how this effect was pulled off here.
Studio artists sculpted Robert Patrick in clay, then split that clay sculpture down the middle and pulled it open, sculpting a ‘splash’ area into the middle of it. The foam rubber puppet was then made from the molds of that sculpture. The puppet had a hinged fiberglass core that would spring open with the pulling of a single pin. The frontal view of the ‘splash head’ (pictured above) required a more detailed puppet that featured eye mechanisms working independently on either side of the T-1000’s split face. Pulley mechanisms pulled the sides of the head toward the middle to suggest the beginning of the healing effect, which was finished off with ILM’s computer graphics.