Face Maker

With the HeroMachine 2.5 Expansion nearing completion, I am starting to think about the next big project I should work on. After a bit of back and forth, the one that has me most excited is the idea of a Face Maker, a HeroMachine-powered applet that would focus on the face and head. One site that does something similar is "Ultimate Flash Face", to give you an idea of what I am talking about here. I've got a rough draft wire frame model and some other thoughts after the jump.

Face Maker Wire Frame
(Click for a larger version of the image.)

A few things to note at this early stage:

  • Yes, there will be an integrated UGO 325x250 ad placement. This is an online-only free applet and all the usual arguments apply.
  • The "Next" and "Previous" item selection buttons would be integrated into the big yellow portrait assembly area instead of being part of each component selection box.
  • There will be a "Scale" feature now that will let you resize any item.
  • Each item would be draggable so you can move it wherever you like on the canvas.

I was impressed with the level of specificity you could get with the Ultimate Flash Face; try out the "load" feature there and you'll see some really impressive examples of people who have made their own faces. I'd like for this to be even more capable, so you could get a nice looking, reasonably accurate portrait of real people done in a comics style, in full color.

Here is the list of components I am considering at this point:

  • Eyes
  • Eyebrows
  • Upper Head
  • Jaw
  • Chin
  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Mouth
  • Hair Top
  • Hair Sides
  • Sideburns
  • Beard
  • Mustache
  • Neck
  • Shirt
  • Background
  • Glasses
  • Jewelry

I'm not sure about the Shirt, Neck, and Background components. To leave them out would make it strictly a face-maker, but including them lets you build something you could use as an avatar on other forums, chat groups, etc., or just something that looks more like someone took a picture rather than a police sketch.

I'd love to hear what you think about the interface, the overall concept, the components, or anything else you'd like to comment on. Is this something you'd use? Does it seem like it'd be fun to play with? Do you see any obvious pitfalls that I should avoid? Features you would want added?

18 Responses to Face Maker

  1. Scorpidius says:

    Hi Jeff, how about facial tattoos or piercings?

  2. Jeff Hebert says:

    I was thinking I’d include piercings under “Jewelry”. I thought about face tattoos briefly, but that seems awfully rare to merit a whole component all to itself. I just don’t see all that many facial tattoos walking around, in photos, or on TV.

  3. BrokenSlot says:

    All this would need is the Acne add-on and then I can totally make my face.

  4. Richard Tale says:

    I think that it is a great idea.

    The background, neck and shirt should be included to add a more look more natural.

  5. Fabien says:

    Don’t forget a skin texture. I want make alien or mutant faces.

  6. Jeff Hebert says:

    Hmm, skin texture, I’m not sure how I would do that. Interesting, though. As I think through this, I am realizing that one of the problems is if I have color areas, combined with movable items, it’s going to cause a problem in terms of having color cover all of the necessary spots. I can see why the Flash Face people did it in black and white with everything transparent — it makes it a lot easier to enable people to move things around.

  7. BJ says:

    How about hats, earphones, neck ties, etc.? I vote a blank background so that I can use the images in other projects.

  8. Jeff Hebert says:

    That’s a good point, BJ. The neck ties would fall under the shirt component. I thought about a headgear component, but wasn’t sure about it. Anyone else have thoughts on the utility of that?

  9. BrokenSlot says:

    With headgear, you might have to worry about it practically fitting the face and dramatic hair being natural. I mean, Vegeta hair with a headset might look weird with the hair shooting through the headset or a helmet growing black moss that grows magically upward. Either way I think it would be a good idea.

    Another idea though maybe expressions! I mean, can’t look all down in the dumps all the time now can we?

  10. kryptkal says:

    I think adding options for Hair Top, Hair Sides, Sideburns, Beard, Mustache, Chin, and Jewelry would be good but if you add too many features for the face then it becomes too much work on the face and less of a “Hero Machine”.

  11. Richard Tale says:

    Thats the point of FACE maker.

  12. Jester says:

    What about a general “Distinctive Features” slot? That way, you could do facial tattoos, as well as scars, acne, moles, strange otherworldy rashes, etc.

  13. Niall Mor says:

    Would you be able to integrate faces with HeroMachine figures? That would be cool.

  14. Jeff Hebert says:

    You wouldn’t be able to directly integrate the faces into HeroMachine, no. I think what people are talking about is making a good face, then using Photoshop or somesuch to paste it onto a HM character.

  15. Leiha M says:

    I think it’s a totally fun idea. My suggestion would be to make some asian features. I was playing with a different facemaker program http://www.voki.com/ and I couldn’t get a face to come close to looking like mine. They didn’t have enough asian features without being anime like. Also I found the smiles weird, LOL. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  16. Ynigo Paulino says:

    yeah…facial features will be awesome..

    and why not release a new version of hero machine and combine the facemaker program?

    that way, when we create heroes with no masks we can make them look intimidating or cool rather than looking silly..

    and include realistic and comic-book based hair…

  17. Jason says:

    I’m with Jester on the “distinctive features” section. I agree that there isn’t enough facial tattoos to warrent its own section, but this is a good place for the ones that do exist Neck tattoos and the gang banger tear drops come to mind. I also would dearly love to see a variety of scars for the battle hardened wariors. Acne, rashes, and moles likewise have the problem of not enough variety to warrent its own section.

  18. Jeff Hebert says:

    All right, you’ve convinced me — Distinctive Features sounds like a smashing good idea. Scars, acne, tattoos, rashes, moles, and all other manner of interesting facial phenomena are in!