January 12, 2011

App Idea: Photo Defiler

The other day while using Instagram, it occurred to me: To really do proper retro photos, I need a way to obscure half the image with my dad’s finger.  In that vein, how about an app that would fill your images with cliched errors?  A few ideas:

  • Head Clipper: Use face detection to identify people in an image, then partly lop off their domes.
  • Shadow Caster: Hey, where’s the photographer? Ah, there’s his handy shadow!
  • Back Lighter: Fill light/Shadow-Highlight is passé; we need a way to silhouette subjects into oblivion.
  • Grass Expander: Auto zoom out, then use Content-Aware Fill to surround one’s subject with even more grass & extraneous details.
  • Blink Synthesizer: If society has figured out how to put human eyes onto Muppets, surely we can shut the eyes of at least some people in a group photo.
  • Face Blurrer: A bit o’ witness protection.
  • Digital Intruder: My dad’s finger on millions of handsets around the world. You’re welcome.

Not quitting my day job,

Posted by John Nack at 7:37 AM on January 12, 2011


  • BH — 9:12 AM on January 12, 2011

    Of all of these, Grass Expander is my favorite. Were the concepts of composition and “fill the frame” simply non-existent among consumers until digital came along? Context is one thing, but I would love to be able to see people’s expressions instead of an extensive catalog of the grasses of Ohio in the 1970s.

    [Heh–nicely put. –J.]

  • Rich Morey — 9:42 AM on January 12, 2011

    LOL. That app would be the anti-Photoshop. I recently took on the task of scanning old slides my wife’s father had taken and used Photoshop to the best of its abilities to crop, lighten, color correct, etc. the photos into something worth looking at!

  • Dave Frank — 9:46 AM on January 12, 2011

    How about “Head-Botomy”, where the subjects’ heads sit on the bottom of the frame like so many shrunken heads on a shelf? A nice counterpoint to the “Head Clipper”.

    [Indeed, and it could nicely recreate TV signals of the era (where the top of the frame could crawl out and wrap around the bottom, etc. –J.]

  • Mylenium — 10:45 AM on January 12, 2011

    >Were the concepts of composition and “fill the
    >frame” simply non-existent among consumers until
    >digital came along?

    They surely were, but the world just looks so different without an LCD screen. ;-)


  • Art Swalwell — 12:24 PM on January 12, 2011

    I worked as a councilor for a Photography Explorer Post. One young ladies slides came back with a red “aura” around the edges. We finally figured out, she was wearing red fuzzy mittens.

  • imajez — 4:39 PM on January 12, 2011

    I think you are a bit late to market with this one as there seems to be some freeware that most people on Facebook are already using.

  • Derek Pell — 5:46 PM on January 12, 2011

    Good work, John.

    How about “Pop Off Fill”? Fills the image with black to recreate those divine moments when the strobe fails to fire.

  • JESSIE SANTIAGO — 11:50 PM on January 12, 2011

    hello nice to meet you, John im Jessie…..

    I have a simple question if I may ask….

    i dont know how to send you a direct message on your blog…. so here I am..lol

    photoshop missing short cut key why is that?

    I’ve been waiting for them since 2005..;p CS4 there still missing and now that CS5 is out…. i doubt ; they been added.

    It would help us complete are projects quicker and faster.It would cut down are work flow time by %80 percent ok..ok ok %70 … DRAMATICALLY (not yelling just my expression..lol) unless i can add them myself is that possible?

    your advice would be greatly appreciated….

    • imajez — 5:42 PM on January 13, 2011

      Use Cmd+Alt+Shift+K or Cntl+Alt+Shift+K [or look in edit menu] and then you can customise all keyboard shortcuts to your heart’s delight. The option has been there for quite some time. IIRC before 2005 too.
      I also recommend reading the manual.

  • Roger — 8:37 AM on January 13, 2011

    How about wide angle fattener.

    This would fatten the people on the right and left of group shots.

  • James — 9:53 AM on January 13, 2011

    Two other things:

    Horizon Rotator – make sure your images are never blighted by a level horizon

    Face Obliterator – use face detection to lghten up peoples faces a bit–maybe as little as eight or nine stops–to simulate subtle use of fill-flash.

  • Jeff — 7:24 AM on January 14, 2011

    Here’s 2

    The Stranger – adds a random person making a goofy face to the background.

    Fingers – the ever goofy 2 fingers above your “friends” head

  • viki reed — 6:55 PM on January 15, 2011

    Hey why not send out a call to recreate these faux app affects? With images we can share and link them effectively. As written is a funny idea. Take it the next step.

  • tripleman — 5:29 AM on January 17, 2011

    I don’t think there is a single picture of me as a child with my head actually in the photo.

  • Nat Brown — 3:25 PM on January 17, 2011

    How about a feature to add red eye . . .




    Maybe we don’t need that one after all.

  • craig shell — 10:48 PM on January 20, 2011

    A photo bomber app would have to be a must. Check this http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1940686
    Photo bombing has become almost a cult party must-do amongst the younger crew – photo bombing has found it’s way into advertising and Tvc’s.

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