A Toronto company called ModiFace has unveiled a very snappy, very impressive augmented reality try-on mirror for MAC cosmetic stores that lets women – mostly – virtually try on different types and shades of things like lipstick, without actually using sample product at the counter.
The company’s code uses a camera to pattern-map a face at the 30 frames a second, so the same as video. The net result is a person standing in front of the mirror display can move subtly left or right and the “painted on” lip gloss or eye liner (I apologize if I have my makeup terms all wrong, but I am way out of my element here) shifts the graphics with the reflected image.
What impresses me is the accuracy and speed, There is little or no latency that I can see in a video.
— Brenda Stolyar (@BStoly) November 15, 2017
What’s also clever about this is that this removes whatever ickiness exists about applying something like lipstick when someone else – or more leikely scores of someone elses – have previously had their lips to the product. This makes it all virtual.
“We are excited to bring Virtual MAC to our freestanding stores, first to the US, and then globally. The new ModiFace-powered mirrors provide an unprecedented level of realism and fidelity that bring to life our brand’s unique sense of colour and artistry. We believe this will be a game changing addition to our stores,” says Tim Tareco SVP Global Creative, Visual Merchandising + Store Design from MAC, in a press release.
A set of 29 custom eye looks has been replicated with the highest fidelity by ModiFace scientists, in order to provide a life-like rendition. Each look is mapped to the face 30 times per second, with the mapping placing the looks to with a fraction of a pixel for each face. The final result is one that is indistinguishable from a real-life application of the looks by a makeup artist.
“MAC Cosmetics is a renowned beauty brand with a very unique range of shades. We are delighted to be partnering with MAC on many AR initiatives, the first of which is to bring photo-realistic live video makeup try on to MAC stores,” Jennifer Tidy, vice president of partnerships at ModiFace said.
The company suggests these try-on mirrors boost sales by an average of 31 percent.
The virtual try-on mirror has been launched in MAC stores across the nation, and is looking towards a global expansion in early 2018. ModiFace already works with Sephora, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Allergan, Unilever, and Coty.
FYI the @MACcosmetic Try-On Mirror is super addictive. It's so nice to try up to 29 looks (more coming) without getting your hands full of makeup (guilty????!). You can also email yourself a shopping list of products, as well as photos/GIFs of your looks? #VIRTUALMAC pic.twitter.com/QM8Zc0qgZ4
— Gloria Sin (@gloria_sin) November 14, 2017
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.