Forum Review: eMees Avatar Creator for the iPhone

eMees Avatar Creator Forum Review by cjvitek For more Forum Reviews, see the TiPb iPhone App Store Forum Review Index!

I have a Wii, and one of the most enjoyable things (surprisingly) that I do with the system is created the Miis. And now, Mii creation comes to the iPhone!

eMees is a tool to create avatars for the iPhone. Once you create an avatar, you can save it to your photo roll, and you can even assign it to one of your contacts as their photo! As someone who doesn’t have any photos associated with contacts, this is a nice feature to have!

The concept behind eMees is the same idea as creating a Mii on the Wii. You choose various features – like head shape, hair pattern, eyes, lips, eyebrows, etc) to combine into a face. You can also adjust the color, and for some items (like nose, eyes, eyebrows) you can adjust the size, orientation, and horizontal or vertical position. Combine these features and you have a lot of flexability in creating an avatar, and as you practice and get more talented, you can get quite good at creating avatars that start to look like the intended target!

One additional feature this program has is called the pose option. You can take you avatar and put them into one of three pre-determined posed (sledding, skateboarding, or typing). Unfortunately those are the only poses that are offered – hopefully more will be included in future updated.

I had one major issue with this program. The primary issue was the speed. The interface is very slow….very veryslow. It takes a while to load, and then it takes a long time to flip between the various avatar options as well. In fact, the delay almost makes the program unusable in my opinion. The delay is especially pronounced when you are flipping between the various options for each facial feature – the different hair styles for example, or the different eye glass options.

The only other concerns I had with this app is a minor one – the difficulty of using an avatar outside of the app. I would have thought that when you save an avatar, you would have the option of saving it as a contact photo, or in your photo roll. But when you save it, it enters the eMees gallery. From there, you then need to select it again tothen save it as a contact photo. It seems like the additional step of requiring you to save it first in the eMees gallery is not needed.

You also don’t have any option within the app to email an avatar to anything – you need to save it as a photo, then go out, look at the photo, and then email it to someone.

Pros:

  • Fun way to design avatars for your contacts

Cons:

  • Limited poses,
  • program is much too slow,
  • using avatars in contacts is needlessly convoluted

Conclusion

All in all, this is a pretty well designed program. The options to create the avatars are rather full featured, and the ability to use the avatars as a contact ID is great. However, the program is much, much to slow and I got frustrated many times while trying to use it because of the lag. The price is currently $.99, down from $2.99, so you may want to jump on it now, and hope future updates improve the speed problems. As the lag really impacts the usability of the program, I am giving the app only three out of five stars. If future updates improve the speed issues, than it will really be worthwhile application.

Forum Review Rating

TiPb Forums Review: 3 Star App

[Monopoly is available from the iTunes App Store.]

[gallery]

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

← Previously

Google Books Now Also Optimized for iPhone!

Next up →

Patent Watch: iPhone Dock and Battery Swaps?

Reader comments

Forum Review: eMees Avatar Creator for the iPhone

8 Comments

nice rev.
you didn't mention yet another problem, or more like, a missing feature - there is no randomize option, which, at least for me, makes the program completely pointless. considering how slow this app is, creating more than one face from scratch becomes an unbearable chore and time waste. download eve mmorpg and play with it's avatar creator - see how these things should be done.

every time you start the app its a random face! but the whole point of apps like this is to have control over character creation. which this one is great at. you can make cartoon caricatures of people fairly accurately. and hell, its 99 cents. its fun, get it!

Meh. No. S/He's totally right. No randomize in-app (restarting just to get another face? C'mon, it's plain lame, especially considering how slow this program is). When I create avatars for my games/whatever I always throw a dice first, then adjust. So I get the point of a randomizer here. But in all honesty, the first and foremost question you gotta ask is what this app is supposed to be good for. As of now, it serves absolutely no purpose, unless your goal is to waste an hour or two creating an avatar for... well, one of your phonebook contacts? This app as it is is a wsated effort.

Actually, you can always invoke the random generator simply by switching app modes from another back to create. So if you want a new random eMee then simply switch to any other tab like gallery or pose. Then switch back immediately to create and you'll be prompted to create a new random eMee either Male or Female, your choice, then whatever you like after that.
Randomness is built in, I am considering attaching it to a "dice" icon but space for the apps UI is limited and I haven't decided yet on the best way to fit this in - in the meantime randomness is available whenever you want (no restarting) .. just go off then back to Create mode.
As for it being pointless, because you might not want to use it for your contact photos? ... well, it's up to anyone how they use it but one suggestion is to save the image to the iPhone camera roll copy to your computer (PC or Mac), then just do whatever you like with the PNG which has transparency BTW - i.e. use it in a games for avatars, or add them to Facebook profiles, use as your IM avatars or even make them into your Gravatars.
It's whatever you want it to be and I think the people that realize this enjoy that flexibility.
In the future I may add a "dice" icon, for all of you who insist. For now, please just click off Create then back ;o)
Cheers,
Jordan

Hey, I didn't want to sound too negative here ;) Randomizer or not, first thing to fix would be the speed. If it's lightning fast, all othr problems wont matter that much. It's that I wanted to like the app but then I realized I spent over two hours painstakingly tweaking a character I had no use for. At first I wanted to add a bunch of avatars to contacts I had no pictures for. Then it occured to me I'd have to spend a better part of the month to do so - due to the slowness of the app and the lack of a dice that could somewhat speed things up. Hence the realisation, as it is this app serves no purpose. I hope you guys make it much more responsive!

I hope as someone who has downloaded our app you will be pleased to hear that we have already, and continue to provide valuable updates to address these issues.
Our first v1.0 release did suffer from latency while navigating facial feature items and this was not only frustrating for some users but especially for us – because we care most about your user experience. We have since updated with a v1.1 release that addressed this providing improved speed in most categories where browsing is now reasonably snappy / responsive in most facial feature categories.
This was achieved by "threading" some of the processes that happen when you switch a graphic. A subsequent v1.2 update improves upon speed while adding more stability – note the v1.2 update is ready and submitted to Apple for review and we expect it to be available to users early next week (around or after February 9th).
We have already received some very positive feedback from users of that update (v1.1) and there was even some kind praise in a review with regards to our responsiveness on the issue – see http://tinyurl.com/AppReview (below the skateboard picture).
We still see room for further improvements here, especially on the hair type features but we must balance speed with stability and updates are incremental so that while we provide a speed boost to each update we are also being careful to keep the app stable.
We are also in the process currently of going “lower level” to the code to do some fundamental optimizations in order to provide an almost instant switching of features. This kind of fundamental change, which we are currently working on, takes time to do properly so that all future versions of the app benefit and are reasonable flexible for us to extend / add new features. So you will understand then why incremental updates (v1.1 and v1.2) are provided - they allow us to more quickly address these issues and make the app better for users and give us the time we need to drop to “lower level” and the code to address it in a more fundamental and dramatic way.
Finally, I’d like to put things into perspective, especially for our users who enjoy making Wiis and other avatars (as we do ourselves). In actuality this app is much more responsive than some reviewers may indicate, most feature types start and complete their transition to the next feature within about a half a second which is good, however hair can suffer from some latency due to the fact that we have two layers – a foreground layer in front of the head and one behind – this adds a level of depth to the character that we felt was worth the small cost of speed (for this category) in these interim updates, since we can always improve upon speed (and will continue to) but we felt strongly the artwork must have a beautiful and professional presentation from the get-go in order to enable you to create “eMees” that have a reasonable likeness to your friends (or anyone).
Hair, which can sometimes take around 1 second to transition to the next item in actuality is the only feature category (of 9 categories) that really suffers from the described, all other categories switch so quickly it is not really an issue overall although we will still continue to optimize everything.
We addressed this speed head on in v1.1 and v1.2, and as I mentioned, we are preparing another release in parallel that addresses this in a more fundamental way as we want to achieve almost instant switching of hair. Incremental updates are done to provide quick and beneficial updates to give more value to the user while we continue to work on a more dramatic update.
Aside from the latency while switching hair, once you have selected the hair style you like for you eMee and any other facial feature the adjustments you can use to manipulate them (position, rotation, scale, distance etc) are all but instantaneous, which we also felt necessary for the experience.
We would like the hair switching to be as fast as this too and are working diligently to achieve that and bring it out to users.
This still comes reasonably close to what the Wii is able to achieve in terms of user experience and fun (but in your pocket). And I hope people are understanding that while the Wii contains a reasonably powerful graphics processor the iPhones is not nearly as powerful with regards to hardware graphics acceleration. This of course puts some constraints on how simple it is to “push” the device to do these things, but we believe it is a capable of doing almost instantaneous switching and processing of the hair, it is just a matter of hard work and time so that we are also being careful to keep it stable and flexible for future functionality which we wish to extend – which we are undertaking now.
I would encourage anyone to make a judgement for themselves by reading some independent reviews of our v1.1 update http://tinyurl.com/AppReview.
And also, if you actually want to have a lot of fun creating eMees then buy it and try it. Afterall, it costs less than a cup of coffee and it provides endless amounts of fun.
I hope people will continue to enjoy eMees. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback as well as listening to users (including those here) for ways to improve it.
Cheers, Jordan