For the truly creative (or narcissistic), having a personalized emoticon made from your very own face (or faces of friends, family, or celebrities) is a novel concept and the new MEmoticon app makes it possible. MEmoticon is a photo app that morphs pictures of people’s faces into emoticon-style images that can be used in SMS messages. While the MEmoticon app works and functions as described, it has some shortcomings that limit its appeal.
MEmoticon allows users to take pictures specifically for use in the app or to import photos saved on the iPhone’s camera roll. A facial feature detection tool allows you to essentially “auto crop” the face to properly fit in the final image. Because it automatically morphs the facial image into the proper expressive face, expressionless photos work best and no internet connection is required to complete the transformation. Unfortunately, the initial app purchase only provides access to happy face, sad face and angry face – the remaining faces must be purchased separately three at a time.
The interface in MEmoticon is fairly strong to begin. Taking or choosing saved photos is easy and the transformation is quick. After this initial set-up, the functionality turns frowny-face rather quick. While any selected photo is instantly morphed into all available expressions, only one face at a time can be saved. This means if you’ve successfully created a emoticon from one image, only that image is available until you change it and once you change it, you can’t change back to the original without repeating the whole process over again. Further, while access to the camera, the photo library and even Facebook images is quick and fairly simple, actually using the MEmoticons is cumbersome.
To use a created photo emoticon in a message, MEmoticon utilizes the copy and paste function. Unlike the simple switching back and forth between your standard, emoji and international keyboard within your SMS app, to use a MEmoticon in the creation of a message requires you to enter the app, copy the appropriate expression, return to SMS and paste it in. If you are a particularly expressive individual, the process grows wearisome. Also unlike a traditional emoji insert, the MEmoticon insert is far larger than the text and gives an almost manic expressive interjection rather than a subtle one. Not to mention, its difficult to capture photos of people with just the right expression and facial cues to avoid looking like Batman’s Joker.
Shortcomings aside, the idea of spending several dollars to have access to a full library of expressions seems absurd. As a photo-morphing app, MEmoticon is moderately fun, but not so much so as others like Fat Booth or FaceFusion and while the premise of actually using the MEmoticon images for something like messaging is fun, it simply isn’t all that well-integrated and is a bit costly for the whole package.
Photo enthusiasts who like to derive unusual fun from their photos or those who want Tiger Woods, Selma Hayek to be the happy-frowny-angry-winky face of all their messages may get a kick out of MEmoticon, but be prepared to shell out extra dough for more than three expressions.