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As any make-up professional will attest, the face is a canvas. With the right tools and skill, it can be changed in almost infinite ways. Likewise, a new hairstyle and/or color can completely alter a person’s appearance. Cosmopolitan Virtual Makeover: The Collection, and its counterpart for "Essence" magazine readers: Essence Virtual Makeover, bring the ‘makeovers’ popularized by beauty magazines to the home computer. Women and men who yearn to see themselves with different hair or eye color can test the effects in a non-threatening manner. What’s more, they can have fun at the same time.
Users begin by selecting preinstalled, model faces to coif, beautify and adorn, or by importing personal photos. Digital camera images, or scanned photos taken with a 35mm camera are recommended. An additional list of photo-taking guidelines helps users achieve more realistic makeover results.
Once loaded, photos must be aligned to fit into the Virtual Makeover template. This includes positioning (and possibly resizing) the head, ears and eyes. This accomplished, the face becomes a palette to be filled with (seemingly) endless combinations of blush, eyeshadow, lipstick and liner, and foundation (actual shades that are tracked by the program for optimum consumer availability). Features can even be resized (the effects of collagen injections?) to suit the user. Hairstyles and hair colors abound, and various highlights can be skillfully applied with thin or thick paintbrushes. Eyecolor is adjusted using virtual contact lenses, brows are plucked and eyewear added when needed. Final adornment may include a jaunty hat or dreamlike bridal veil.
In addition to the basic "virtual makeover," the program includes a ‘tips’ section with make-up application how-tos and tips, and a ‘slide-show’ section for viewing saved makeovers. A web site at www.virtualmakeover.com includes periodic downloads, and a "beauty zone" with weekly tips, makeover quizzes, an advice column, makeovers and more.
Teen testers also found the ‘tips’ section informative and useful.
The program itself is quite easy to navigate. Our testers were dismayed, however, that the makeup tools lacked a sponge or eraser for simple touch-ups. Instead, if a misapplication is made, the only way to correct it is to clear the face of all makeup. This proved frustrating in many cases.
PC: Windows 95 and above, 90 MHz or faster cpu, 10 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 16-bit high color display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, 3-bit Sound Blaster or compatible (16-bit recommended).return to top of page
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