Is this the future of beauty?

RACHEL CLUN
Last updated 12:27 22/08/2014
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'PUTTING YOUR FACE ON' ... May soon be a very different process.

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Computer generated imagery is normally the realm of action movies, but a team in Japan have fused this modern technology with the art of make-up.

Using real-time face tracking and projection mapping, called OMOTE, the Japanese team maps a model's face and projects images on her face even when she moves it.

Lead by Nobumichi Asai, the team included make-up artists and stylists as well as CGI designers and programmers.

What they created, in effect, is electronic make-up.

Asai says on his blog Something Wonderful they actually chose to project make-up onto the model's face, because they wanted to used something detailed and delicate to prove the technology's accuracy.

In the video the model is able to tilt her head up and down, and lean in closer to the cameras while the projection stays perfectly placed. 

Project mapping technology isn't super new, but visuals are normally projected onto a stationary surface so to project onto a moving surface is still a developing area.

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The model doesn't move around much in the short video, but in projecting make-up onto a model, Asai's team have potentially uncovered a whole swathe of new options for their live face-tracking technology.

Projecting make-up onto runway models could become a new fashion show gimmick, adding an extra dimension to the runway look and experience.

Or make-up artists (and normal people, for that matter) could adopt a different hi-tech make-up innovation - printable make-up.

This isn't in the distant future, either. Thanks to a Harvard business student from the United States, printing your own make-up could soon become a very real and very affordable thing.

Here's the amazing video ... 

Not quite like the "peel and apply" eye shadow stickers you can get, Grace Choi's invention will let you pick whatever colour you want and print an eye-shadow palate, lipstick or blush in that exact shade.

Her invention is a 3D printer called The Mink, and it works exactly the same as an inkjet printer, only it prints usable makeup instead of words on paper.

Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt convention in New York earlier in the year, Choi says she wants to completely shake up the beauty industry and the way women buy make-up.

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She says make-up companies put a huge mark up on products which really don't cost a lot to make: the basic pigment that makes your favourite eye-shadow could be the same pigment found in cheap food dye, for example.

Choi's idea is genius on a number of levels. She's recognised that most teens and even older women go to the internet to find make-up ideas and tips, so giving them the tool to print out the exact colour they need without going to the shops adds an extra level of convenience.

You simply choose the colour you want from your phone or the web, add it in to an existing program, hit print and voila: new eye-shadow.

While it's not quite on the market yet, Choi plans to have it out by the end of the year at around the US $300 mark ($356).

She says in her TechCrunch presentation that it wasn't the technology that excited her so much, but the ability to change the way girls see beauty.

"The most important thing out of all of this is that it's finally going to train our girls to understand that the definition of beauty is something that they should be able to control, not our corporations," Choi says.

Here's Grace Choi's Disrupt Talk (warning: some strong language):

- Sydney Morning Herald

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