Miso Completely happy is a 3D selfie app that rocks the uncanny valley

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Transfer over duckface. Shove off rainbow spew. There’s a brand new selfie sport on the town and it needs to show your 2D visage into uncannily correct 3D — then splice that axiomatic piece of you into animated cartoon fits that rock out, strut their disco stuff, skateboard, look coy, relaxed or chuckle maniacally.

Suppose: realistic-looking stickers that twist and twirl. If that concept doesn’t instantly thunder with resonating intent via your psychological social feeds this app is certainly not for you. It’s positively not for me — however selfie is as selfie does. And those who selfie not often cease. They simply want new twists to maintain upping their gaze-game.

And so we arrive at Miso Completely happy. Horrible identify, terribly creepy outcomes… Anticipate this 3D selfie maker app to both have you ever shrieking with delight — or plunged deep into the uncanny valley reaching for the ‘delete face’ button with a horrified expression on stated face.

The Finland-based startup behind the app, Futurefly, pitched it to TC as an “augmented reality sticker faceapp“. Which is a little linguistically hacked together but did get the message across. On the App Store it’s billed as “your 3D selfie effect”.

The app’s (word-punning) identify suggests the group reckons it should do properly in Japan. As does the actual fact one of many first clutch of cartoon fits is described as a “shy Anime schoolgirl”. There’s additionally a sumo wrestler swimsuit, together with a skater child, a snowboarder, the above pictured glam rocker, a disco dancer, an angel, a few exhausted wanting seashore bums, and extra.

Miso Completely happy is AR as a result of when you’ve snapped a photograph and generated your creepily reasonable (‘uhhh, that basically is my face licking that guitar… O___o ‘) 3D selfie, and dressed it within the animated swimsuit of your selection, it then seems doing its routine within the digital camera view — ready to be video overlaid towards the true world backdrop of your selection.

It’s also possible to add textual content and emoji overlays to your composition, pinching to zoom another components up or down in measurement as you want.

Then, when you’re content material together with your content material it may be shared to social feeds like WhatsApp and Fb as a video (or a GIF), or saved regionally in your iPhone in case you don’t wish to instantly spam your social graph with all of your 3D motion selfies.

There’s a reasonably small number of cartoon physique fits to select from at this launch level, however the group says it should “regularly” be including new ones, and that there might be no must replace the app to get them. That is additionally Futurefly’s monetization route — with the plan being to supply twelve free 3D animated stickers per day, plus three locked stickers which may be unlocked by watching one video advert.

The app additionally helps you to retailer totally different selfies, so you may hold a library of mates’ selfie ‘face masks’ to mess around with. Assuming that’s the form of buddy you’re.

Laptop imaginative and prescient

What’s the core expertise right here? Laptop imaginative and prescient in fact — a highly regarded space for tech exercise (and acquisitions) today. For instance Snapchat snapped up one other European startup providing 3D selfies (Seene) final 12 months. (Seemingly feeding a few of that tech into its World Lenses launch, which lets its customers add AR 3D objects to their Snaps.)

“The core face reconstruction technology combines computer vision and computer graphics to get the final results,” says Oskari Häkkinen, founder & chief product officer at Futurefly, explaining how Miso Completely happy achieves its uncanny 3D results (and pictured under placing his personal face via the method). “We use landmark detection to detect the eyes, mouth, nose and the contour of the face. This is the same technology which is used in apps like Snapchat and Facebook Messenger when applying face filters.”

This interprets in app to a marked face template on the level of selfie taking which inspires the consumer to accurately place their face inside the information strains. Additionally they counsel utilizing a white/mild background for finest outcomes.

“After the consumer snaps their selfie with Miso Completely happy, we approximate the digital camera angle and match the customers landmark information right into a generic face morphable mannequin, which returns us the 3D vertices. Subsequent we venture the selfie pixels right into a texture map and onto the 3D mannequin. Lastly we post-process the feel illumination and take away any sturdy specularities,” he provides.

Häkkinen says the tech was difficult to develop, though from the consumer standpoint it’s disturbingly fast and simple to show a selfie into facial 3D. The processing is completed regionally on the system to make sure there’s as little delay as doable whilst you wait in your selfie to be reformed into digital 3D. The app is optimized for iPhone 5 and above and iOS model eight.1. (An Android model is scheduled for later this 12 months.)

One other problem throughout improvement was creating a practical sufficient 3D likeness that customers wished to share the outcomes.

“We had our initial implementation of the technology in September last year, which we tested with college students. At first, they were stoked, laughed a lot and said it was awesome. However, when it came to sharing they actually didn’t want to share it with friends because it didn’t look enough like them,” Häkkinen tells TechCrunch.

“At the time the method we were using was to project a texture onto a morphable avatar that users had to morph themselves. But after time we realized that people actually don’t know the exact shape of their faces, and therefore couldn’t really morph the avatar accurately enough to be left satisfied with the results. With that, we knew we had to automate that process, else users would always feel the results were ‘slightly off’. The new tech has an automated morphable face model that adjusts with the retrieved face data.”

So whereas the outcomes are nonetheless uncanny valley ranges of creepy IMO, clearly they have been loads MOAR uncanny earlier than.

The group can be engaged on including additional post-processing options reminiscent of “beautify filters”, in response to Häkkinen. And is creating augmented actuality floor detection to allow the 3D characters to “snap to different surfaces within the world”. For the time being the animated figures simply float in the midst of the display screen or wherever you usually place them.

Who and/or what’s Miso Completely happy for? Clearly it’s only for enjoyable, and aimed squarely at Technology Snap/selfie. The group’s long term gambit is maybe to be (ho-ho!) snapped up by a bigger entity that appreciates the visible experience they’re now demoing within the wild.

“We just hope people will jump on this, create fun content and tell us what kind of new animations they want. Content is pretty easy now for us deliver, and we can deliver it pretty fast and through the backend, so we hope people will come back daily to check out the new content daily,” says Häkkinen.

“For now it’s just a content creation tool, much like Snapchat and Messenger filters, but with a totally new and unique twist. I guess nobody needs faceapp to make museum paintings smile, but it’s fun as hell, so who cares, right?” he provides.

Requested whether or not they’d be open to acquisition approaches from the proper of purchaser, his response may be summed up as ‘definitely maybe’. “Well, it’s a mixed bag really, we love to be independent, but sometimes partnering up can help your products reach the largest possible audience, which is why we get up each morning. That said, we are currently in the process of raising our next round with the intention to grow our user base,” he says.

Futurefly, which is headquartered in Helsinki and was based in 2014, has raised $3M thus far, from personal Silicon Valley traders who have been early traders in Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter and Fb — so it definitely has strains in to the most important social platforms round.

Different traders embody Arielle Zuckerberg, Betaworks, Broadway Video Ventures, Imaginative and prescient + and Risto Siilasmaa (chairman of Nokia).

That is one in every of a handful of apps the group has made. One in all its earlier merchandise, Rawr Messenger, which sticks 3D avatars right into a messaging area, has greater than one million customers, in response to Häkkinen. He doesn’t get away consumer numbers for an additional of its apps EatMessage, which is billed because the “first ever selfie game where you use your mouth as the controller”.

Futurefly is unquestionably hoping Miso Completely happy would be the viral hit that helps it make extra of a mainstream splash.

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Désiré LeSage

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