AR Talk | Ines Alpha
Her style is impossible to forget and her face masks send users to magical, dreamy, fantasy places… Do you already have in mind who’s our AR Talk guest? 🌙👽 Today, we have the greatest pleasure to chat with Ines Alpha, a 3D artist based in Paris, whose beauty filters take makeup and self expression to a whole new level. 💜💄 What led to her cAReer and so many collaborations is only one of the topics of today’s interview – go discover the rest! ⭐️
We know that you had worked in advertising for many years, where you had been responsible for luxury brands. However, at a certain point, you started to dive deeper into 3D creation – which led to a collaboration with Panteros666 on video clips. And finally, you decided to quit your job to focus on your projects and developing skills. Would you do it once again? Looking back at your beginnings – what do you think about this now?
I would totally do it again for sure. I’m glad I got tons of experience at the advertising company I worked at. I’ve learnt how to manage clients and how to present and sell my work properly. I also made plenty of very good friends. What I would add to that story, which I think is important to point out, is that I didn’t quit my job without any security net. In France we have the chance to be able to get an unemployment salary that I got for two years after I quit my job. This definitely helped me feel secure while focusing on my personal stuff without worrying about paying my rent. I’m a Capricorn so I don’t like to take such big risks without precautions ahah. I’m saying this because I think it’s crucial to tell the truth to the younger audience. It’s not easy to quit your job. It’s not easy to take that leap of faith and do your own thing. That’s totally worth it though!
We’ve been defining beauty standards for many years now. Of course, they change as time passes, but there is always a norm or a pattern of how we should look, dress, or even act. Nowadays, it’s been even more visible since social media became widely popular. But your works can’t be put in any frames. You are not trying to copy any beauty standards. Moreover, you are showing your own vision of make-up. Your Effects are very characteristic and definitely feel like from the future. Have you always wanted to create in this style?
I’ve always been drawn to otherworldly and futuristic aesthetics. Recently I stumbled upon a comic book I used to read when I was a teenager, called “Sky Doll” and OMG that explains a lot about my influences ahah Cyborg costumes, half liquid creatures, pastel tones… I’m also a huge, huge fan of the game Final Fantasy. I’ve always wanted to live in those fantastic worlds, where there are so many different creatures, humanoid species, and all of them are so intriguing and beautiful in their own ways. Growing with this type of stuff made me realize there are so many ways to express oneself. Fitting “in the norm” felt quickly quite boring to me. But at the same time it’s easier! That’s how you socialize with people. Even in Final Fantasy, every species has their own “standards”. That’s also how you recognize your community, the people with whom you can relate and connect easily to. What’s a shame is that our occidental society has always tried to impose one standard to us. People should be able to look however they want if that makes them feel good!!
There has been an interesting article released recently, that described the first time an AR contact lens was put on a human eye. It’s a massive milestone for Augmented Reality. Considering your work, how do you think such deep-developed technology would influence the way we see other people’s make-up? Do you think that in the future, IRL make-up will be extended by AR? Or maybe, we will give up traditional cosmetics for digital ones?
Yeah I saw this article!! Can’t wait to try contact lenses (even though I’ve never worn any and I’m super scared to do it lol). That would be so huge for me to be able to see people wearing my work in the streets, with my own eyes. Downside to that, there’s always a downside, is the use people will make of that innovation. I’m not sure I wanna walk in the streets and feel like when you visit a random VRchat room lol, it’s full of weird monsters and scary creatures (°_°). But I like the idea of finally being able to look however you want effortlessly. That’s definitely the future of makeup and beauty for me. As it is already possible with AR, you can transform yourself in a second thanks to digital technologies. No skills, no tools required, just your smartphone. Then a deeper conversation opens. Will we fully live in a mixed reality? Or completely virtual? Will we create new norms in that space? There are already trendy filters on social media! Filters you need to use to be “cool”. I think it should just be an alternative, a feature you can add to your world if you want to but that you can turn off and control easily. And it’ll definitely take time to make those AR contact lenses accessible to everyone. So I don’t think we will give up physical makeup that soon.
From where do you derive your inspiration for creating Effects? What does the process of preparing a project concept look like?
What I like to do best is to be driven by my software. Trying new plug-ins, features, tutorials and see what I could come up with learning that new skill or just experimenting with the parameters that I already know and see where it could lead me. Sometimes I see an image, a photograph, something in nature, a toy, clothes, an animal… and that creates a spark that pushes me to try to reproduce a certain shape, movement, texture or color. For some collaborations, the starting point will be the personality of the other person, how they look, their style, their clothes, their art… or even their dreams.
You are one of the first artists who started creating 3D make-up with CGI tools. How has the process of creating Effects changed, since AR technology became more developed and available? To what extent do AR platforms like Spark AR or Lens Studio influence your work?
Those softwares influence my work in a way that I’m totally dependent on their technology and updates to make stuff. For instance, I had to wait for Lens Studio to do a body mesh tracking to design digital body makeup/AR fashion. I’m not a coder so I’ll always wait for the technology to make it easy for me haha, or if I’m lucky, I’ll meet another Creator who’s willing to help or collaborate with me.
You have worked with many marvellous people and remarkable brands. How did it all start?
It started little by little. I started posting my work and collaborations with other artists, then I got some press, and then my first commissioned work! Very naturally. That was pretty unbelievable tbh haha, even today I’m still impressed by the people and the brands I’ve worked with, I feel so lucky!!
I was hoping to earn a living with my work. I truly believed AR makeup was going to be important in our daily lives, but I wasn’t expecting anything that big for me!
Could you give us a little sneak peek of how you created your latest Effect? What tools were you using for it, and what were the creation steps?
My latest effect was built in Lens Studio. It’s called HyperEmotionnalSkin. The story is, I was exhibiting my work and did a talk at EP7 gallery in Paris, and met Adrien Chuttarsing there. He is kind of a coder/developer/computer engineer and works with machine learning a lot. He proposed that we do something together! In my speech I was talking about how I would love to connect my designs to emotions, and he just told me “yeah we can do that” haha, so he trained ML on Lens Studio to recognize different face expressions. At the time I had just downloaded and wanted to learn Nomad Sculpt so I modeled several 3D makeup masks in it, each mask illustrating one emotion (happy, sad, surprised, angry, neutral) and we started from there!
What are your plans for the future?
I want to build more interactive/connected 3D makeup. Create some TikTok Effects when they’ll have a Windows version. Also 3D body makeup. More collaborations because it’s just so interesting and inspiring how two artists can grow and learn from each other. I would LOVE to do some physical stuff too! I still don’t know what and how, it’ll take time, but I’m working on it.
This interview was truly a journey into the magical world of Ines Alpha! 🧝♀️🦋 Nothing is impossible for her when it comes to 3D art. ⭐️ Huge thanks go to Ines for sharing her story, visions for the future, creative process and inspirations – we’re looking forward to seeing lots of new works and collaborations! ✨