In-between reality and fantasy with Ines Alpha
Ines Alpha likes blurring the frontiers between reality and fiction. And by being a 3D makeup artist she makes reality more fantastic and surreal. We had a chat with Ines Alpha about her 3D makeup routine, Kim Kardashianesque beauty standards and about creating an Alpha planet.
Before fully focusing on your own projects you started off working in an advertising agency for several years. What was the eye-opening project/moment/encounter that made you realize you want to work as a 3D-makeup artist/ designer?
While I was working at the advertising agency, I met Panteros666 who is a music producer. We created several music video clips together and I could experiment with some 3D in post-production! My first notable 3D work with him was the “Baby F-16″ video clip where Panteros is discovering a foreign planet and its virtual inhabitants. We then directed the “Clear” video, featuring Woodkid. Our last joint video effort is “Meteociel”, which is an experimental travel vlog. It´s created in a YouTube creative DIY spirit, in which we imagined an unexpected encounter with a digital pet. Since then my fascination for 3D has been growing bigger and bigger day by day!
What was the core (creative) idea for the production?
I’ve always loved augmenting reality, making it more fantastic and surreal. By using a basic post-production technique – tracking video footage, rendering 3D on Cinema 4D and adding it on top of the video – I tried creating this special feeling of realness, where you feel like you could almost touch or see them with your own eyes. I’ve always been trying to blur the frontier between reality and fiction. That’s why I’m more into adding 3D elements in our physical world rather than doing full 3D imagery.
What three words describe your work best?
Whimsical, forward-thinking, non-binary.
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Tried to do some 3D body makeup 😬 tracking works quite well on the chest that’s a start! Otherworldly music by @panteros666 ✨ always trying to imagine how 3D makeup could sound like in the digital world 🤔 #3dmakeup #digitalmakeup #digitalartist #cinema4d #octanerender
What’s your 3D makeup routine?
It takes a second really! I open my 3D-makeup apps on my digital mirror, choose my favourite look, maybe change the colour and textures to fit my clothes and that’s it! That’s how I imagine it’ll be in the future. It only takes a moment to apply 3D-makeup on your face using AR filters on your smartphone!
You once said that you would hope your work will help people to ask themselves about their conceptions of beauty. Can you tell us a little bit more about that thought?
My work is about having fun with your image – playing with your appearance, seeing yourself in a different way. When people use my filter, they are not dramatically transformed or distorted but they look different, they look augmented! Even if it’s weird and unusual, I think we should all embrace that quirkiness and uniqueness that is in all of us. 3D-makeup for me can be like physical makeup, it can help you to go out there and show yourself to the world; it can help you overcome public shyness.
I personally am a bit bored by today’s Kim Kardashianesque beauty standards. Beauty is an emotion, it’s very personal. It’s okay to be weird and different – everyone is and THAT is beautiful. We need to diversify beauty and make it more accessible to everyone and filters are a great way to do that because you can be anything in a second and hopefully not just another person with lip injections. Beauty should just be fun!
What are the ingredients of your 3D makeup?
C-O-L-O-U-R-S, gloss, holographic rainbow textures, anti-gravitational fluid movement and, otherworldly sounds.
Which tools or methods were used to master these challenges?
I do face tracking, 3D modelling, animation and render in Cinema 4D for post-production videos. Then I composite everything in After Effects. For the AR filters I use Spark AR and Lens Studio.
Which Cinema 4D tools or features were essential for the project?
Motion tracker, object tracker to do the face tracking of my human models. Any transformation tools, splines wraps, clothes and hair dynamics, cloners… Also, I use Octane plugin for my renders.
It seems like fun and play are two essentials characteristics in your projects, creative work, however, is known to be accompanied by a lot of questioning and doubts. Where do you find motivation and inspiration to move forward in difficult times?
It’s never easy to stay motivated and inspired. Sometimes you just stare at your screen for something to happen; you try hard to create something but nothing inspires you. When that is the case, I like to distract myself and go away from my keyboard, like go for a walk, read, draw, do paperwork or clean the house. I also like to take advantage of these moments to learn something new and follow some tutorials. Even if creative work only seems like fun and play, it’s at least 60-70% doubts and struggles. Sometimes it takes days to achieve something, especially with 3D because it can be super time-consuming to render an image or an animation, which can be super frustrating. But when your project starts looking like what you had in your mind it’s pure magic!
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I still can’t believe I added 3D makeup on @isshehungry ✨A dream come true 🙏 ✨I look up to this artist since I started doing 3D makeup. This look is so stunning I didn’t even know what to add to make it more magic 😳Reverse classical chaos symphony by @panteros666 . . . . . #3D #3Dmakeup #digitalart #distorteddrag #beauty #makeup #digitalmakeup
What role does spontaneity play in your work?
I don’t do a lot of sketching, except for client’s projects for which I need to present mood boards and approve shapes before starting 3D-modelling. When it comes to personal projects, I’m more spontaneous. Like most art forms, it is a trial and error game. I just get into it, trying different shapes or tools I’ve never used before. Sometimes you move some parameters randomly, import an image in a texture channel that should not be there, it gives the extra bit of “Je ne sais quoi” to your initial visual intuition and you magically think to yourself, “Voilà!”
What’s your advice for people who just graduated from art school and want to get started in the art/design world?
Experiment! Have fun with the medium you feel comfortable with. Do it for yourself or for a cause, don’t look for success or coolness. Be authentic. Keep doing what you like to do, block other’s toxic opinion about it. If you’re inspired by the work of someone else, talk to them, ask for collaboration, credit them. Sometimes you know which vision you wanna share in a minute, sometimes it takes years. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. The art/design world can be tough and it’s not easy to earn a living from it!
What makes you work most effectively? What’s the driving force in your work process?
I’m currently working on trying to be more effective. I really struggle to focus on work and on my computer. It’s easier for me to stay focused when I´m under pressure; otherwise, my mind starts wandering super quickly. I’m planning to cut my days into parts and put my phone away. If you have any technique to recommend please send it to me!
Is there any dream project or client you would want to work on or with?
People would not be surprised that I’d love to collaborate with Bjork, Grimes or Nick Knight. It would be super interesting to be featured in a cartoon or an anime, like creating an alpha planet with its living creatures or something, would really get me out of my comfort zone! But more seriously, my dream project has always been to create a digital makeup line that people could use as easily as they use physical makeup. So they could not only try my 3D looks on, but they could apply the digital textures however they want to, on their own face!