With the ever-increasing popularity of digital photography and the near-universal ownership of powerful personal computers, it’s no surprise that a lot of people will at some point try their hand at digital image editing, even if it’s only cropping and re-sizing an image. Most digital cameras come with some sort of simple editing software, capable of adjusting colour, brightness and image size, and even making basic alterations to a photograph, such as correcting flash red-eye.
Of course at the other end of the scale you have full-scale digital image editing suites, most famously Adobe Photoshop, used all over the world by professional photographers and designers to alter and even create from scratch amazing digital artwork. Almost every photograph you will see in any popular magazine or advertising poster will have been re-touched in some way. Indeed there have been several controversial cases of news photographs that have been altered to make a political point or to cast a celebrity in a more flattering – or unflattering – light.
Programs like Adobe Photoshop are very complex, and it requires a lot of study and practice to become proficient in their use. They can also be very expensive. Photoshop CS2 costs well over £500, and even the latest version of the popular Corel Paint Shop Pro costs over £50. For the home user who has neither the time nor the money to spend on such programs, Reallusion FaceFilter Studio 2.0 offers a much cheaper and quicker way to edit portrait photographs, providing a simple step-by-step method for adjusting colour, brightness, skin tone and even facial expressions, using face detection and some simple image morphing routines. The program has a recommended retail price of £29.99, but is available on Amazon for around £25.
Naturally for that kind of money you can’t expect professional quality results, and the effects produced by FaceFilter are more useful for their novelty value than for any serious use. It offers about the same level of complexity as the basic editing programs supplied with digital cameras, such as ArcSoft PhotoSuite, sacrificing versatility for clarity and ease of use.