Apps and tools for impersonation cosplay

Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
edited January 2022 in General
I have, over time, collected some electronic methods for assisting with cosplay planning and design. First, I start with a face swap app to see if there is a similarity; is this something I can accomplish with decent results. Then I use an app called "Golden Ratio Face App - Beauty Analysis" for its face comparison feature. It provides a rough percentage of likeness. I not only compare my face to my intended cosplay target but I then begin to compare different angles and expressions to available similar pictures of my intended. This shows me, by the numbers, which angle and expression most matches me to my target cosplay. I then use a background swap app to place a similar background, if I am not able to recreate the scenery, physically, with acceptable results. Today, I stumbled across one of the most stunning methods I have seen yet. I know I am so late to the game on this but split screen overlay (I used photoshop but you could just print and cut in paper to do the same, without the software). The image attached here is my first use of this, followed by my review of the same and how it affects my next round of changes in makeup and prosthetics. The needed changes are now so easy to see.

So photoshop for the win. I can clearly see all the areas I need to change to make an impersonation lock. Thicker brow, sides of mustache and more filler in center chin hair. Fuller lip, with creases (possibly a behind the lip insert). Scar on nose raises higher toward forhead and sidehair is fluffier but still wet looking. Nose is pinched in... (I actually know that trick). Contacts are not a match and need replaced with brighter blue/grey. With this method, I can't miss. Now, I am super excited to do a second round of effects and makeup. Please be always cautious about getting and installing software and only ever do so from trusted sources. I cannot vouch for any by name, except Adobe photoshop. All others are always questionable but I want to share the idea of the method not the apps.
Post edited by Darrell Green on


  • Hi Darrel,

    Thanks for sharing the apps you used to help with the likeness.  I would not have thought of some of those, super cool!

    Very impressive how well you've matched the original subject.

    One app that you may like (windows/pc/linux) is called PureRef.  It lets you keep and organize a collection of reference images in a single document.  I use it a lot in my own projects.

  • Pureref definitely looks like a time saver. I can certainly see the use case immediately.
  • The face comparison app had for about a year been broken by an update but is now available and working again.... not affiliated, i just use it for cosplay:

  • Quick note for anyone who finds themselves reading this and wondering "What do I do now that I see all the differences between me and my target cosplay character?" First, this was posted here on Stan Winston School of Character Arts because it is the very source of my current education on makeup and effects. Changing into an entirely different character is what they do for Hollywood film, year round. Makeup, effects, costume, lighting, photography, staging, it is all here in hundreds of hours of classes. My second suggestion is "". Many thousands of movie and story props and costumes have been threaded there in instructional blogs and they have an amazing, live group of mentors to assist when you struggle. The same can be said for classes here, the live responses are from the industries insiders. Literally the best in the business from all parts of the entertainment industry. I will continue to add tools and tips here when I find them. My current reasearch is on how to determine true colors based on swatches and in scene reference points, including skin tones. I will load when complete. Followed soon by determining lighting direction and how to duplicate that when staging cosplay shoots.
  • Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
    edited January 23
    Another tool of immense help is any in picture measurement tool. The free app I use is called "imagemeter". You find an item within the photo that has a known size and then you can measure other aspects of the photo with decent accuracy.

    Here is an example of this:

    Knowing from research that the shaft is 3/8's inch, we have a base value. Then I was able to measure the feathers and other aspects to finalize my Bard the Bowman quiver and arrows. This even works with jewelry.... anything that is at approximately the same depth away from the camera as the original measured base item. Items way in the background would be of no value for this.

    These apps are of incredible value when measuring items in museum showcases. Out of reach, no longer.
    Post edited by Darrell Green on
  • Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
    edited January 27
    Photo studio - I have created an elaborate photo studio setup that assists in matching a target pose of the intended character.

    First, the camera with some form of remote shutter switch.

    Second, the projection device. This can be just a monitor or computer but I use a projector. This is an intentional projection of what the camera sees of me so that I can actively change my own pose to closer match the intended pose.

    Third - A picture of the intended pose (the original character from movie or photo). I  project this along with my camera image of myself. You can choose to print the image, use a separate device to display the image or project like I do.

    Fourth - A photo backdrop for background removal if needed, white, green or blue. I tried projecting a background but it did not work. You could use prop items to stage an appropriate setting.

    Fifth - Directional lighting (hopefully color and brightness adjustable as well). You can be crafty and just move yourself to the right part of the room or incorporate your own movable light sources. This may sound extra but is a necessity in matching pose lighting and shadows. If nothing else, grab some lamps. This is all possible outdoors as well, if natural light is a must, but requires photographic pole stands for all, backdrop, camera, projector, screen to project on, etc..Newer LED lights allow for color adjustment of the bulb itself. Others offer a near daylight or flashbulb level of brightness, usually listed as shop light or ultra bright with little adjustable panels. Very cheap at only 20 or less for all the bulbs you could need.

    I move myself or my studio setup to get the lighting correct first. Then I get my projection setup to be showing at the same spot my eyes will be looking during the pose. If the pose is the actor facing the camera but looking to the left then you point the camera through you to the backdrop and point your projection over to your left. I usually project onto an open wall but sometimes need to set up a projection screen.

    I have even gone so far as to put the remote camera shutter controller on the floor and press the button with my toe....when both hands are clearly in the pose. The following picture was taken of me by me, with my toe, while I watched me next to a photo of my intended pose (Adam Ant):

    Sure, it could be better but I would have never gotten this close with guessing or even being directed by a photographer. This is just you and your space, taking pic after pic until you utterly nail it.

    Post edited by Darrell Green on
  • Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
    edited January 27
    I bought a camera for this purpose, looking for its ability to do live projection during shooting and remote shuttering. However, tech is so advanced now, I don't doubt it can all be done with a phone and a tv or computer monitor. 

    Don't be intimidated by this as it is all plausible with lesser tech. The idea is just the ability to see yourself from the camera's perspective while also seeing a copy of your intended target character.

    As a seriously low cost, low tech option, mirrors, printed photo of target pose and a selfie stick. Not the best but totally doable.
    Post edited by Darrell Green on
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