I get bombarded with press release from companies shouting about their latest budget software and the one from Reallusion was no different. Great new product (They always are!) download a trial and let's see what you think (often tacky and waste of time). Anyway I'll give anything a try and as soon as I'd installed FaceFilter and launched the program I was impressed by the simple but devilishly fun idea.
| FaceFilter is 3D photo morphing technology that lets you import any portrait photo and enhance the facial feature either subtle to improve or dramatically to create comedy characters. The interface is easy to follow with icons giving brief instructional messages when you hover over them. The face stage is to load in a photo and crop into the face. This could be a single portrait like mine or a group shot where you could crop in on one person. || |
|The program has basic editing functions where by adjusting sliders you can adjust the brightness, contrast, hue (colour tone) and saturation (vividness of colour) to make the photo better before you go and play with the features. While many of our readers will already have an image editing program to do more advanced editing. New users may find this enough to get started. || |
|Now we go to the fun bit. Click on the Fit Facial Mask icon brings up a new window with a guide face and a flashing 1 in a red circle by the left of the left eye as we look at it. Your imported photo appears on the right. || |
You click on your photo to identify where the left of the left eye is. Then a two appears to the right of the right eye. Click to indicate where the same position is on your photo. Repeat this with points 3 and 4 for the left and right side of the mouth. Then a series of secondary markers appear to identify the inner extent of each eye and both sides of your eyebrows. These are roughly positioned where the program detect the necessary facial points but you may have to readjust one or several for a more accurate fit.
When you've satisfied that everything is in the right place the program places a 3D facial morphing mask behind your selected photo using the reference points to match it up.
You then have the option of applying a pre-made template which will automatically alter the expression by changing position and size of facial features. These are group into two areas comprising 24 attractive expressions such as cool, confident, kind, sexy and smile and 27 fun styles with sleepy, sad, kiss, fox and alien amongst its collection.
|The palette shows the before and after so you can see if the expression is suitable before you save. Here is what happened when I applied Sexy (middle) and Makeface (right). || |
A basic slider is on view to adjust the strength of the filter, while a more advanced option is revealed when you click on manual adjustment. I used strong for the makeface version.
Of these two auto examples Sexy has hardly made me sexy - even digital wizardry can't do that! Makeface does the job of making me look as though I belong on Buffy as one of the vampires. I'm hanging around but Michelle hasn't turned up!!
The auto settings can work in some examples, but the real fun comes with the manual adjustments where you have control over 10 selectable facial regions, each with adjustment over position, angle and size. Simply select the region and adjust the sliders watching a real time preview of the effect.
When you are happy with the result click okay and save.
FaceFilter is a very useful tool for those who want make subtle improvements to portraits and anyone who wants to have fun creating comedy faces of family or friends and even enemies! If you own Photoshop everything this does can be done with the Liquify filter, but you do need a level of skill and time to use it to get similar results.
The only downside for more advanced users is the 3Mb limit - the program automatically resizes when the photo is imported. The Reallusion web site offers in-depth look at the program with interactive user guides and plenty of useful info. At around £20 it's hardly going to break the bank and is well worth a look.
Test by Peter Bargh