Let’s face it - we all want to look great in photographs. In a world of social media and online dating, each new site asks for a profile picture. A lot of our business is done online now too, and we need to represent ourselves professionally through photographs. Well, with FaceFilter3-PRO, that’s easier than ever!
As a product reviewer and general lover of technology, I’ve seen really bad programs and really good programs. I’ll say right now that I’m absolutely in love with this one – so much so that I think it’s shown me a new calling in life. How many programs can you say that about?
Let’s say you have a photograph that you took with your iPhone on a whim. You like how the photo turned out, but you weren’t wearing any make-up, and the background is distracting, and so on and so forth. Just insert the image into FaceFilter3-PRO, and you can add make-up, get rid of blemishes, remove dark under-eye circles, remove wrinkles, and even add a smile on the face!
I’ve been using this program everyday for the last couple of weeks to ensure I could give a full review. I will say that I didn’t immediately understand how to use the program, but Reallusion, the company that makes this great software, has wonderful tutorial videos to teach you how to use the software. That was a great help to me to quickly get me editing photos. Once I understood how the program worked, I couldn’t stop editing photos! I was able to open the file types I use most often: .jpg, .dng, .nef., and .nrw, so I was able to immediately improve my previous photographs.
First, you simply need to tell the program where the face features are. Generally, the program knows where the features are, but I have noticed that if the face is slightly turned, it’s harder for the program to find the face. I would have liked a bit more support for slightly turned faces and for when the eyes are mostly closed (though apart from adding in eyelashes, this doesn't cause much of an issue). Also, I edited some images in which features were blocked. A great addition would be for the user to have the ability to “erase” the digital make-up from any area where the face isn’t visible (such as the shot of me in the water, which can be seen in the slideshow attached to this review). If the face is straight on, though, it works really great, and you can always manually tell the system where the features are. Next, the system gives you the option of using templates or manually adding the make-up. I’ve done both. The templates are a great place to start, but every so often, I want a more subtle or bolder approach, so I’ll take over the controls manually. All this consists of is moving the toggles to add more or less of the digital make-up. These all appear very naturally too, which really surprised me. The system will even add slight texture to the make-up so it doesn’t appear to be digital. I absolutely loved the results.
Once you’ve added any make-up you wish to add (or skipped the step, if desired), FaceFilter3-PRO allows you to slightly change facial features: narrow the face, add a smile or a smirk, lift an eyebrow. This is a great feature for me. As a touch up artist for wedding photos, I commonly come across pictures of grumpy faces. Now, I can digitally turn that frown upside down. For the most part, I try to only make subtle changes to emphasis what is already there, but you can make bigger changes if you wish. I’ve done some of these photos too, such as my zombie photo, and it was a blast! You can see that shot in the attached slideshow.
The effects are really great. I’ve often felt the difference between a great photo and a fantastic photo can be how it is edited and filtered. FaceFilter3-PRO gives lots of options that I personally like better than ones I’ve seen for other photography apps. What I particularly like is the ability to manually highlight the foreground so that you can blur the background or make it black and white while the foreground is colored. This is a typical edit I do on photographs, and it’s very effective, so I’m happy to have a one-stop shop for all my typical edits. True, I sometimes still need to go to Photoshop (some of the bigger blemishes are not fully removed with this program, I’ve found), but for the most part, this has been a complete game-changer for me in the world of photography touch ups.
I do see some potential improvements. First, the program is for editing one face only. True, all I have to do is save the edited image and re-import it to edit a second face in that same image, but every time you save a JPEG, it is recompressing the image – meaning, you’re losing quality. For some, this isn’t a big deal, but for others, it’s necessary to have the highest quality possible. So, the ability to edit multiple faces would be superb. I also previously mentioned the need for increased support for faces turned to the side, and the ability to remove effects from areas of the face that are blocked. Also, if you decide you need to crop your image after you’ve added effects, you’ll have to start from scratch, which can be disruptive to the workflow, so the ability to crop after adding effects would be great. Finally, the system only seems to allow me to add one template effect at a time. I’d like to add multiple templates on top of each other to create the effect I’m looking for.
Overall, I just love the results I get with this program. It has truly changed the way I work in a great way, and I can’t recommend it enough. The drawbacks are small and can definitely be fixed with future updates. Plus, this is a great program for professional photographers since Photoshop is becoming a subscription-based service. True, you can get the same results with Photoshop, but not nearly as quickly or easily! They don’t call it “PRO” for nothing!
I’m so excited to see what’s next for this program and for this company. It looks like they have great other programs like iClone for Previz, which is a really neat looking 3D animation software to create digital scenes. So, I can’t wait to check out more of their great work.
For more information, visit http://www.reallusion.com/store/purchase_facefilter.aspx. The PRO version is $79.95, and comes in both Windows and Mac versions.