How to try 4,000 makeup products online

Two researchers of the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) have used their skills in computer graphics to build a new free service on the web named Taaz. According to the computer scientists, Taaz is 'derived from the Hindi word Taaza, meaning fresh, and related to the word Taj, which means crown. This free and fun service allows women to try more than 4,000 makeup products with the click of a mouse. Taaz users just have to upload a picture of them -- or their worst enemy, or a celebrity. Then they can apply new lipsticks, hairstyles or mascara to the original image until they're satisfied. Of course, the researchers-turned-entrepreneurs will make some money if women buy cosmetic products on their site. But read more...

Two researchers of the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) have used their skills in computer graphics to build a new free service on the web named Taaz. According to the computer scientists, Taaz is 'derived from the Hindi word Taaza, meaning fresh, and related to the word Taj, which means crown. This free and fun service allows women to try more than 4,000 makeup products with the click of a mouse. Taaz users just have to upload a picture of them -- or their worst enemy, or a celebrity. Then they can apply new lipsticks, hairstyles or mascara to the original image until they're satisfied. Of course, the researchers-turned-entrepreneurs will make some money if women buy cosmetic products on their site. But read more...

Choosing an eye shadow on Taaz

You can see above an example of how it's possible to choose an eye shadow product. (Credit: Taaz)

Comparing hairstyles with Taaz

And you can see above how easy it is to compare your original hairstyle with a new one. (Credit: Taaz) The the above images have been extracted from a 2-minute video available on YouTube, Taaz.com is the most realistic makeover tool on the Web.

This online tool has been developed by David Kriegman, a UCSD computer science professor, and Satya Mallick, who just got his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at UCSD.

You'll find more details in a UCSD news release, "Need New Look? Online Makeover is fan-taaz-tic. "The computer scientists invented an algorithm for separating gloss from non-gloss in digital images -- a technical feat crucial for taaz.com's patented approach to applying photorealistic makeup to images. It is also useful for more traditional computer vision applications like face recognition. Taaz.com is easy and free. Simply upload a portrait-style photograph and a computer vision system automatically identifies your eyes, nose, lips and cheeks. From here, you can apply thousands of makeup products from a wide range of brands to your digital portrait and experiment with new hairstyles and colored contacts.

You also might want to read a commercial press release about the launch of Taaz, "Taaz.com to Revolutionize How Women Experience Beauty. "To learn how to really create a daring, hot club look or a casual look for school or work, taaz.com offers engaging beauty, fashion and style tips and articles from experts. Taaz.com then recommends beauty products to help women achieve that look in real life. Besides color, recommendations factor in other criteria that are specified by that particular user. Makeovers can be saved and users can print them out, email them to friends, put them on greeting cards, or use them as online profile pictures on Facebook or MySpace. Taaz.com also has Social Networking capabilities where users can share images and makeovers with friends who can rate the look, provide comments and suggestions, and even add their own touch to the makeover -- making it a social experience akin to going to the mall with friends."

But don't think it's just a fun -- and maybe financially rewarding -- tool. Years of research have been necessary to build such a site. Here are two links to a list of publications from David Kriegman's research group and from Mallick research papers.

[Disclaimer: Please note that I've not been paid to write about this service and that I have no financial ties with Taaz.]

Sources: Taaz website; UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering News, March 20, 2008; and various websites

You'll find related stories by following the links below.