If we were to liken the iPhone to a Greek hero — all muscle-bound and chiseled man-face — it would surely be Achilles, the guy with the wonky heel.
The iPhone is our modern-day electronic hero, savior of our interconnected lives. Yet it is a hero with one tiny flaw, a weakness that even its fondest admirers are prone to point out: This wonder-device features an awful camera.
Face Fun aims to put your iPhone’s questionable camera to good use, using face-recognition technology to place your face in a variety of amusing situations.
Upon launch, the app immediately dishes up two options: Select a photo from the iPhone photo album, or take a new photo using the camera. There’s no tutorial, no funny splash screen or amusing introductory animation — just two options to choose from, with no indication of what might happen next.
As such, even before Face Fun has properly started, it feels half-finished. There’s no attempt to build a fun, playful environment and no effort to explain exactly what’s going on.
Once a photo has been loaded, clicking the Detect Face Button starts the magic happening. The app “automagically” detects all the faces in the image you’ve selected. Given such a shaky start, it’s surprising to find that the face recognition really works — never failing to detect faces, despite weird expressions and odd angles.
With the automagical detection done, you’re then able to select one of the faces out of a thumbnail lineup. The face you chose is then superimposed — as if by tiny Photoshop imps inside your iPhone — onto a larger scene.
Funny Ha Ha or Funny Weird
The app presents a selection of 19 varied scenes to choose from, almost all of which are dismal attempts at kooky humor. You can choose from scenes such as the laugh-a-minute “your face on a TV screen while a cat watches,” or the downright giggle-fest that is “your face projected on the screen at a business conference.”
I really do have a sense of humor. I pride myself on taking regular rides in the ROFLcopter; Face Fun though, isn’t much fun and the humorous situations on offer fail to amuse.
Within this disappointing mess of humorless instances are a couple of acceptable attempts — my favorite being creating a jigsaw puzzle out of the face, an imaginative and well-realized scene. It’s worth noting, though, that the jigsaw puzzle isn’t playable; it’s just a static image.
For instance, to create a scene with your face in it, you have to physically drag the face thumbnail over, and onto, the scene thumbnail. It’s a smart and literal method interaction, however, there’s nothing to explain this in the app.
I spent a couple of minutes single tapping and double tapping until it dawned on me to try dragging. There’s no other dragging within the app and no indicator that to access this part of the interface I’d need to drag.
The Detect Face Button is another example of drab design — it’s just a plain text-button in the bottom right corner. This button exemplifies the app’s biggest issue — there’s nothing fun or exciting going on, certainly no wacky sounds or kooky user interface. Face Fun is just an expensive, and drab, tech-demo.
It’s not a great app, lacking as it is in both functionality and content. At the core of the app, where there should be a cavalcade of content, there’s just an incredibly limited amount of scenes, many of which just aren’t amusing.
And what’s worse, there’s no way to mail your silly creations to friends or to upload to your favorite social network (apart from saving the image out and doing it manually). It’s interesting technology, though, and so, while I can’t recommend this app, I do hope that the developers invent some much more compelling uses for their face-recognition system.