#7 Faces and Masks

Deliverable Set #7 is concerned with faces, masks, and face technologies. There are three components:

  1. Readings and viewings, due 10/28, for which you are asked to respond in a brief blog post.
  2. Preparation for Wednesday’s workshop, including various software installations, due 10/28.
  3. An ungraded speed project, due Monday 11/2, creating a digital mask with Snap Lens Studio.

1. Readings and Viewings

Before the beginning of class on Wednesday 10/28, please watch/read the following media. This should take under an hour:

Then (~15 minutes):

  • In a blog post, please jot down two ideas, facts, claims, or images that you came across in the above media that struck you. Briefly write a sentence about why you found each of them interesting. (Be prepared to discuss them in class.)
  • Title your blog post nickname-facereadings, and Categorize the post 07-FaceReadings.

2. Preparation for Wednesday’s Workshop

On Wednesday 10/28, we will be visited by CMU BCSA alumna, Char Stiles. Char is an experienced livecoding artist and shader programming expert, and has also previously worked as the teaching assistant for this course. Since July, Char has been a  Snap ML Resident at Snap Inc., where she has worked on the development of augmented reality Snapchat filters.

Char will lead a workshop on creating face masks in Snap Lens Studio. In order to prepare for this workshop, Char asks you to do the following before class:

Pre-workshop instructions (~15 minutes): 
    • Download Lens Studio, install using the defaults:
    • If you don’t have a Snapchat account, make a Snapchat account. (Download the SnapChat app from your phone’s app store, and create an account using the app).
    • Link your Snapchat account with Lens Studio (when you open up Lens Studio it’s the bright yellow button on the top right).
    • Download Snap Camera, install using the defaults. Snap Camera allows you to use Lens Studio effect as a virtual webcam, so you can have a filter on in Zoom. This is less important to have, but it will be good for showing your lens in class: https://snapcamera.snapchat.com/download/
    • Optional: In Lens Studio, on the left of the GUI, click Templates, then browse through the templates to get an idea of what Lens Studio can do, and perhaps find some inspiration.

Char has also provided a template project for the workshop, which can be downloaded from her workshop page.

Snap Lens Studio supports JavaScript scripting, but it’s designed to be usable by people with very modest computer skills. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube for making masks in Snap Lens Studio, such as:

3. Snap Lens Mask: Ungraded Speed Project


Create a virtual mask. Use it in a performance of approximately 5-10 seconds’ duration. Record a video of your performance, and embed it in a blog post. Please also include a static image still or animated GIF of your project. The blog post should be titled nickname-mask and categorized 07-Mask. This project will be checked but ungraded.

Consider whether your mask serves a ritual purpose, a practical purpose, or works to some other end. It may visualize or obfuscate your personal information. It may allow you to assume a new identity, including something nonhuman or even inanimate. It may have articulated parts and dynamic behaviors. It may be part of a game. It may blur the line between self and others, or between self and not-self. 

Optional reading: Here’s a blog post by Zach Lieberman, an experienced professional whose work we have seen before, discussing his development of Más Que la Cara, a face-tracking interactive installation.


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