eXtensions - Sunday 10 December 2017
Portrait: Useful but Limited app for Output of Face Images with Novel and Adjustable Filters
By Graham K. Rogers
PortraitThe app opens with the selfie-cam on the iPhone and I was faced with a head and shoulders outline to guide me. There was access to the main camera, but without a head to focus on (initially) I was not able to use this. I was surprised to find also that there was no access to the Photos Library, so no portrait images were available for the filters that this app works with.
At the bottom of the screen was a series of thumbnails panels displaying the filter options. This displays differently on the iPad Air 2 I also used, but for most of the testing I used an iPhone X. Some of the filters were refreshingly unusual in design. When one was selected, the effect was applied immediately to the screen: on and around the head. Sliding a finger up and down the screen applied the effects more or less and a percentage display was shown on those filters that allowed such adjustments (one or two did not).
Images from Rear-facing camera Using Portrait: Guevara, City and Bowman filter
On the iPhone X, the effect was applied to the whole image as soon as the filter was selected as long as a face was shown. It was easy to do this with the selfie camera, but with no volunteer, I had to use a mirror to take a photo using the front-facing camera. If I had the reflection slightly out of alignment, the filtering would not appear and the shutter button was unavailable. As soon as I shifted the angle slightly, all worked properly.
Images from iPhone X Front-facing camera (left) with watermark erased; and from iPad Air 2
If the app could not identify a face, it would not work. I tried with a number of items that had a similar shape to the head and shoulders outline, but nothing worked, hinting that Portrait uses some of the face-recognition abilities of iOS.
CommentsWhile Portrait does a reasonable job for what it is, there is a hint of something more if the developers wanted. There are three specific areas which have definite possibilities: watermark removal (often an in-app purchase, depending on the developer); larger images; and access to the Photos Library.
The last two would require some slight reworking of the app (especially the last), but as it is, this free app does a useful job and is probably aimed at users of social networking sites, rather than those who require more advanced output types: the Guevara and Bowman filters would perhaps make useful poster backgrounds.
As a free app, Portrait does a good job for what it is and is worth giving a try.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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