“3D makeup is about engaging people”

It’s very accessible, anyone can play with it, anywhere, in a second.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you read the word “3D makeup”? Well for most people it’s not even something they’ve ever heard of. For some, it’s the graveyard of fun yet clunky apps on App store that let you try on 100 virtual lipsticks with your phone camera. For Ines Alpha, it’s something completely different. Her ambition is to invite her users to an alternate version of reality. Or at least their faces.

Ines’ first notable 3D work was the “Baby F-16″ video clip, an AR experiment she directed with Panteros666. Her main body of work consists of the “3D makeup” series, where she pushes the boundaries of makeup and beauty using 3D software and augmented reality. Ines says she wants to let people fantasize and play with their appearance with unlimited aesthetic freedom, delivering the creative and technical tools for them to experiment, have fun and express themselves in digital space.

Collaboration Ines Alpha / Vice / Zalando

If aliens landed on earth, how would you explain to them what you do? 

I guess the best way would be to show them! Hoping the AR filter recognizes their face if they have one (°_°)  I would then make a video of one of them to create a custom-made digital makeup in post-production and immortalize our encounter. That would be so exciting, dream collab ⭐

Ines Alpha / ALLURE magazine / Hunter Schaffer
Ines Alpha / Bimba y Lola

Can you, in short, explain your workflow from idea to implementation? What technology do you integrate with and what parts do you develop yourself?

I do both post-production and augmented reality projects. Post-production requires work after a video or photo has been shot. Working on a 3D software like Cinema4D – to do the face tracking, 3D modeling, animation, textures – and integrating the digital elements in after effects or photoshop. This workflow requires hours if not days of computer calculation.

“People are a part of your art. AR doesn’t exist without people”

Ines Alpha

Augmented reality is real-time, the digital parts appear the second you open your smartphone’s camera. Compared to Post-production, the final render is more low def, with less details and realism, BECAUSE it appears in real-time, on any smartphone.  But you can still achieve amazing and super magical results. For this workflow, I 3D model in C4D and implement my assets in AR software like Lens Studio (for Snapchat filters) or Spark AR (for IG). Regarding ideas, my favorite way of working is just getting into my modeling software and start playing with it. Playing with the tools, different plugins, following tutorials… Little by little like making a sculpture with clay 🙂

Ines Alpha / ImpulsTanZ festival / Cincin studio

In technology, there’s often a focus on user value and measurable impact. When talking to a client, how do you explain the value and the experience of using 3D makeup?

You engage people. People are part of your art. AR doesn’t exist without people. That’s what is so exciting with this technology! You create something and the user continues the story and makes it their own. Also, it’s very accessible, anyone can play with it, anywhere, in a second. 

If you could hire three people to work with you for a year, who would you hire? 

Someone that can code, for better AR development. Someone good with Unity or Unreal, for bigger AR interactive installations. Someone good at rigging (character animation) and also texturing, I’m still a newbie at those. All of the above are the skills I wish I could manage.

I don’t know how to code, I tried, I can’t… I often get help from other AR creators like Aaron Jablonski, Noland Chaliha, or Hongwei Tang to help me with it. If I had that skill, I could push my concepts further for sure!

I wish I had the time and energy to learn one software per year. Working in the digital world requires knowing and using multiple software, that’s totally crazy. 

Estelle Rosenthaal, Ines Alpha, Nicole Ruggiero 
Ines Alpha /  Pauline Sesniac

Who do you think are the most interesting creatives in 3D fashion right now?

My favorite creators would always be the ones who push further what can be done in the physical space, using the digital tools to create things that are not possible on Earth. I’m a huge fan of Alejandro Delgado, his designs are out of this world, very organic, iridescent, and colorful. I would love to try them on. Auro Boros as well, of course, they really go beyond what the physical space can offer and you can already try one of their creations on Snapchat!

Ines Alpha

Alejandro Delgado

Auro Boros

Also read “Is the current crisis accelerating digital fashion experiments?”