6 months. It currently takes 6 months to create a Cirque du Soleil makeup design from A to Z. Brainstorming, testing, starting over, more testing, teaching the artists how to apply the chosen makeup… To finally have THE wanted look and write the tutorial documentation to guide the artists for their makeup sessions. Putting makeup on is a “Do It Yourself” process at Cirque (for all artists)! However, preparing the needed documentation takes on average 80 hours for an average cast of 50 artists. We wanted to work on this issue so that the makeup artists could focus their time and energy on creating makeup designs rather than on the paperwork associated with it. To do so, our team collaborated with Microsoft as well as with Cirque’s Makeup and Tech: Lab departments. 

Presenting The Creative MakeUp Assistant Tool.

Hackathon team picture
Samuel Vignola, from team Nextasy (left)
Florin Toles, from Tech:Lab (center)
Isabelle Fink, from the Makeup Department (right)

What was the flash that inspired the project?  

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a popular point of discussion in the past few years, and its potential as a tool in Live Entertainment is still being developed. There are a few apps on the market that allow the user to test makeup (like a foundation or a lipstick). However, since this intelligence is still in development, technology doesn’t usually allow the testing of something bigger than a basic makeup. We wanted to transcend was what available on the market.

Now, let’s go forward! 

Isabelle doing Samuel's makeup with the AI final result at Hackathon
Isabelle doing Samuel’s makeup with the AI final result.
Credits: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures

Our Goal:  

Creating a tool that gathers the existing Cirque du Soleil makeup designs in order to generate recommendations for our makeup artists. A tool that would not only cut and assemble facial parts from different models, but also integrate machine learning to adjust to the makeup artists’ styles.

A tool that suggests new makeup designs.

A tool that builds efficient makeup guides automatically.

A tool that makes testing quick and easy.

A tool that embraces diversity. No matter the age, the gender or the ethnicity.

Here is the The Creative MakeUp Assistant Tool.

Hackathon - Makeup created with AI
Makeup created with AI.
Credits: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures

So, how did it start? What were the first steps?

To build an efficient tool, we decided to join forces with Microsoft’s team. We took part in the Microsoft Hackathon in Seattle from July 22 to 25 to work on the project. This event allowed us to leverage a very skilled workforce and get guidance from them.

Before the event we studied a lot of the facial structure and the re-colorization of pigments. After a few months of testing, we were able to segment the face in 68 points, merge two portraits and modify the colors of existing makeups. We would like to thank the experts of the CDRIN (Centre de développement et de recherche en imagerie numérique) that we had the pleasure to meet to discuss the project. Thank you for confirming the plausibility of the tool!

Next step, the Microsoft Hackathon!

Isabelle doing Samuel's makeup with the AI final result at Hackathon
Isabelle doing Samuel’s makeup with the AI final result.
Credits: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures

What exactly is the Microsoft Hackathon?

It’s a huge collaborative event organized by Microsoft that gathers programmers, user experience (UX) specialists, managers, etc. The Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group team took part in this challenge with some 30 other companies. Participants had the possibility of partnering up with specialists from Microsoft’s own team to work on their project.

Hackathon team picture
The team ready to “hack” the future of makeup!

Now that the Microsoft Hackathon is over, how far were we able to take this tool?

The Microsoft Hackathon was the opportunity for us to build a first prototype of The Creative MakeUp Assistant Tool. Our objectives for the event were to be able to:

1.Merge multiple makeups from models with different face shapes

2.Optimize the tutorial documentation process

And mission accomplished! We created an algorithm for The Creative MakeUp Assistant Tool that created 10 brand new designs from 30 existing makeups on different models. We also found a way to automate the documentation writing process by identifying different steps in our new makeup creations.

How will The Creative MakeUp Assistant Tool make a difference?

One word: Time. The time that is wasted on looking for physical models for testing, the time it takes to find THE wanted makeup, the time to write a complete guidance document… This timesaver will allow the makeup artists to do what they are best at: Creating unique designs!

What are the next steps?

Continue the development procedures of The Creative MakeUp Assistant Tool so it can auto-generate makeup ideas to inspire our makeup artists. This tool allowed us to help makeup artists, but it also made us reflect on this application of AI processes in joint artistic disciplines. Hopefully, makeup artists will be able to exploit their creativity to the maximum by clearly visualizing their design ideas. We will need to train the tool so it can learn from the corrections made by the makeup artists and make realistic propositions. Furthermore, we would like it to be able to generate designs based on the inspirational field of the makeup artists (e.g.: the desert, a storm, the ocean)!

Thank you to Jacob Spoelstra (Microsoft), Isabelle Fink (Makeup Designers Team), Florin Toles (Tech: Lab) and Samuel Vignola (Nextasy) for all their great work during the event!

To be continued.

Source : 
Carrol (2019). At the Microsoft global Hackathon, customers break something to make something, Microsoft. Retrieved on September 14th 2019 from https://news.microsoft.com/transform/at-the-microsoft-global-hackathon-customers-break-something-to-make-something/

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