Makeup not Needed: Disney’s New System Projects Makeup on Actors

18 May 2017

The team at Disney Research has created a new projection system that may change live performance makeup completely. The new system projects makeup on to actors using facial recognition, rather than facial markers, to follow the actor’s movements and changing expressions.

The system, called Makeup Lamps can display any color or texture that an artist can imagine during a live performance. Some effects include age makeup, facial hair, or face paint, things before required a makeup artist and sometimes hours of hard work.

Makeup Lamps is being developed using the same technology that has been used during movie development to capture facial expressions of actors and then transferring the expressions to animation.

“Leveraging these technologies to augment the appearance of live actors is the next step and could result in amazing transformations before our eyes of stage actors in theaters or other venues,” said Markus Gross, vice president at Disney Research.

Live augmentation of human faces via projection (Disney Research)Live augmentation of human faces via projection (Disney Research)

Researchers hope that Makeup Lamps will reduce latency at each step of the live augmentation process. In order to do this, the team had to limit the complexity of its algorithms. They also used a coaxial camera-projection setup, meaning that the camera that detects facial movements is on the same optical axis as the projector, which is projecting makeup onto the actor’s face. This lets the team process the images in two dimensions and have a good augmentation of the face.

There is always at least a little bit latency, so the researchers used Kalman filtering, which uses measurements over time to make predictions and allows for small adjustments to be made in order to make sure that augmentations are aligned with the actor’s face during the performance.

Makeup Lamps is able to be used in different lighting conditions and facial effects that are specific to the actor’s expression while allowing the performance to change over time.

The researchers will present Makeup Lamps on April 24th at the European Association for Computer Graphics conference, Eurographics 2017 in Lyon, France.

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