One of the most unique apps I’ve seen to date is Make my 3d from iKKooN (Fred Courtielle). The core function of the app is to map a person’s photograph onto a 3D model of a human head then grant you comic license to make it look as silly as possible. The tertiary function is to then have fun with your creation and why not, it’s an amazing thing to render heads using nothing but your iPhone!
This app very impressively whittles a complicated process down to an interface easy enough for anyone to use. Basically you’ll need 2 photos of your victim, er subject: front-facing and right side (a traditional mug shot) and as neutrally lighted as possible (the less shadows the better). You can take the photos from within the app or pull from your camera roll. Once you’ve selected your photos you tell the app about the relative dimensions of the head and locations of the eyes, ears, nose and mouth using stylized onscreen markers. The app then forms (well deforms I guess) the head mesh and applies your photos as textures and voila, instant 3D head. You can just stop there if you were trying for a realistic representation but you’re encouraged to go on and just be silly. You can select from several bizarre head deformations, crazy coiffures, goofy hats, piercings and shades. You can also set the color for skin, background and all accessories plus choose a light source. When done (and the app renders surprisingly fast) you can have fun zooming and rotating, take screenshots and of course save the project to show it off later. Quick note, the website linked above containts some excellent (and necessary) tutorial videos. Worth noting is the app can’t render the original person’s hair in 3D so they end up bald out of the gate but you can get the color and a general texture map of it by playing with the head dimensions a bit. At any rate, if you’re trying for an accurate render (and I found this more interesting than the comic stuff but that’s just me), it would be ideal to find a bald subject to begin with (or a baby perhaps).
No app is above gripes and here’s mine (some big ones this time). The included hair choices are fine for simple effect but don’t cover many styles and there are no feminine options. Second, a painstakingly long intro plays every time you load the app. I’ve got no problem with self-promotion but after we’ve sat through it once, we really should have the option to disable it. Third, it can be quite difficult and frustrating to select the tiny little markers for eyes, nose, face, etc so I’d love to see this improved somehow, perhaps with a menu to select them instead. Finally and incredibly unfortunately is that the app simply crashed a lot, often causing much lost effort. The crashes mostly occurred while using the fullscreen 3D preview, even after a fresh reboot (note to developer I’m on 2.2.1 firmware if that makes any difference). The preview mode itself was a bit buggy, often extremely laggy to input and becoming ‘jittery’ where the model just flickered back and forth uncontrollably. This is really bad as it’s the primary way you’d ever show this off to someone since to my knowledge there’s no way to export your creations to a common 3D format. I also had some crashes when trying to save which is very frustrating. Matter of fact it crashed so much I wasn’t able to explore much of the comic features so the pictures below were as good as I could do before the risk of throwing my phone against the wall set in.
So in summary, this is a wildly creative and an absolutely bizarre use of the iPhone and…I really dig it. It has niche appeal, the creation process is genuinely fun and the price was reduced from $6.99 to $3.99 in the time I spent reviewing it, sweet! However, I cannot possibly recommend it until a new version comes out with some stability fixes at the very least. To the developer, I’d be glad to post an update if you let us know when a new major version is released as I would really like to see the app succeed.
I will say this and mark my words if this prediction comes true; if the author polishes this up and adds meshes for dogs and cats this app will go freakin’ gangbusters.
Version reviewed – 1.0