ZombieBooth v3.05
A brainwavez.org Software Review

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 3 November 2011
Category: Tech > Software > Reviews
Tags: #horror, #zombies
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Somewhere, deep in a lab that's probably in Japan, some clever real-time-processing technology has been utilised for the advancement of zombies. The result? With one click of a camera button and this free zombification app you can be your own worst nightmare!

ZombieBooth v3.05I will admit that I got a fright the first time I tried out this app because I didn't realise that it automatically animates the photo, in 3D, complete with gruesome sound effects, once it's finished processing the picture. The animation isn't perfect but that's only something you notice once you've been playing with the app for a while and become immune to the undead growling entity trapped on the other side of your screen.

The reason the app is able to bring the photo to life is because it uses MotionPortrait technology, which is on-the-fly face-compositing algorithms that can animate a still shot in 3D and/or superimpose it on other scenes. (It's worth visiting the web site to see how the company has implemented this technology in some of its products.) As part of this is something called the "Expression Engine", which animates parts of the face to create facial expressions such as moving eyebrows and blinking eyes.

Back to the app. It's not perfect and it crashes a lot but it's more a slightly irksome event than a giant technological disaster that's usually associated with such things due to the fact that it's running on Android. When it works well it's really quite amazing, and you can't complain too much about non-disasterous errors considering that this is a free app.

ZombieBooth v3.05You start by taking a photo of yourself using your tablet or phone's camera, or you can point the app to a photo you have already stored on your device. The better the picture quality the better the results, and it's best not to have a background that's too busy or you will see errors when the face is animated. If the app takes a picture of you the original (unprocessed) image is stored in a folder it creates called "picture" that's off the root of the device.

Once the app has a picture of you it starts to process the image. If it can't detect your face it'll tell you and you'll have to take another photo - however it successfully detected the face in every test photo of a face that I tried. The time this processing takes is very dependent on the capabilities of the device you are using. I've seen some comments that it takes forever but on the Motorola XOOM, which has a decent processor, it's fairly quick. Once complete, the animated, zombified version of you will appear on screen, along with the creepy growling.

In processing the face the app randomly selects from a library of facial-feature addons, such as glassy eyes, and gruesome textures for the skin and then it applies these to the face it has detected in the image. Sometimes the colour matching is off and sometimes the applied layers don't quite mesh properly with the skin in the photo but for the most part the results are usually very cool. If you don't like the result you can shake the phone or tablet and the app will apply new features to the zombie.

ZombieBooth v3.05

As part of the real-time animation component of the app, you can interact with your zombie. The head and eyes will follow your finger around the screen and if you get too close to its mouth it will begin to chomp away at your finger, complete with bits of blood that spatter onto the screen. Depending on how your device is manufactured, the zombie growling can vibrate through device (due to the speakers, not a vibration effect being utilised), which is quite eerie.

ZombieBooth v3.05Each zombie is automatically saved and permanently stored on your device, and can be accessed in the app in a "library", so you don't have to worry about overwriting your previous zombie each time you make a new one. Instead you can always go back and play with your favourites.

A "share" option in the app allows you to email a snapshot of the zombie via your device if you have an email address set up or, alternatively, you can save a snapshot onto your device. The snapshots (on the Motorola XOOM) were all a resolution of 800x1232. Unfortunately there's no immediate share option for services such as Mobypicture or Flickr so if you want to upload a picture to a third-party web site you'll have to do it via email or manually.

On an Android level, besides the "picture" folder the app sets up a "ZombieBooth" folder on your device, where the app data is stored and the snapshots are saved. Each zombie's data files and thumbnail (totalling roughly 430 KB), are also stored here.

Crashing problems aside, ZombieBooth is a fun, free app that is endlessly entertaining and just a little bit creepy. You're likely to become addicted to seeing who, and what (such as pets) can be transformed into the living dead in (almost) an instant.

ZombieBooth v3.05 was tested on a Motorola XOOM tablet (Motorola MZ601) running Android 3.1 that is on loan from Motorola for testing and review purposes. A $0.99 [?] iOS version of the app is also available through the iTunes App Store.

brainwavez.org Opinion: ZombieBooth v3.05
Rating: 7/10 (Android version)

Key Facts: ZombieBooth v3.05
Year: 2011 (1 August 2011)
Developer: MotionPortrait
System Requirements: Android 1.6 or greater
Size: 8.6 MB
Orientation: Portrait only

On The Internet
ZombieBooth v3.05: Official Site | Facebook | Twitter
ZombieBooth v3.05 - App Stores: Android Market | iTunes App Store

Watch Online ZombieBooth iPhone App Trailer

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