Developer: Robert Figueras
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
There are more than a handful of apps to create personalized avatars and cartoon characters. Each has it's own style, but until now, I haven't known of an app that gives quite the same effect as BobbleShop. It's delightfully entertaining and has tons of customization options for creating truly personal bobblehead dolls.
Yes, that’s right. Bobbleheads. Those comedic characters with the oversize heads that gleefully nod and bob with the touch of a finger.
BobbleShop is very intuitive. Launch the app and you'll be presented with a "blank" bobble. The drawers on the left and right of the screen offer an array of characteristics — noses, eyes, hair and accessories to customize your creation. Tap different areas on the bobble to customize. Tapping the face area will bring up options for hair and facial features, tapping near the hands brings up drawers for different apparal items such as shirts, bow ties in additional body styles. Check out the company's Guess Who page for an idea of just how customized you can make your bobblehead doll.
The only option which wasn’t readily apparent was the background. Tap the base of your bobble doll to access options for customizing the base, background, accessories such as guitars and gadgets, and finally to “box” your bobblehead for delivery. The packaging is a nice touch, but once inside your bobblehead will no longer bobble so, personally, I prefer to leave my bobble’s freestanding.
Tip: to make your BobbleShop creation move, simply swipe across the head from left to right or top to bottom.
There is only one rule when creating a custom bobblehead: go big or go home.
The guide to making a "realistic" caricature is to exaggerate. Instead of laboring over every detail, find one or two defining characteristics and make them stand out. Does your target have big, curly hair? Go wild. A cute little mole by their right eye? Make it obvious. Most people will not recognize the difference between almond-shaped eyes and anime-style peepers. However, if you remember the gap between their two front teeth or those trademark red sneakers, everyone will instantly recognize the avatar.
Speaking of getting the details right... I decided to create a bobblehead for a friend who is a comedic dancer. With the Bobbleheads app, it only took about 10 minutes to build a custom creation that was worthy of sharing on his Facebook wall. Unfortunately, even with more than 200 different hairstyles, BobbleShop was missing his most defining crown and glory — shoulder-length dreads. Thankfully, he's also known for wearing hats and the app has a few to choose from. In the end, I think I got the most important features right. Check out the Bobblehead and then head over to this YouTube video for comparison and let me know what you think.
As you might expect, Bobblehead makes it super easy to share your creations on Facebook, Twitter or email. If you have a friend with the BobbleShop app, they can even open the image — aka DNA in bobblespeak — and make changes. The one thing I’d like to see added is an option for exporting a small movie so friends without BobbleShop can see the bobbing head.
BobbleShop is an inexpensive way to make personalized cartoon avatars that actually resemble the intended target — and the animation is so much fun to play with.
Something to keep in mind, Bobbleshop requires iOS 5.0 or later and at least iPhone 4 or iPad 2. Older devices can’t handle the graphics and will end up crashing.