I’m always suspicious of apps that apply cartoonish filters to photos. In general, I don’t like the synthetically cheesy look most of these apps deliver. I will be honest – and perhaps biased – but I find most comics filters to be the closest artificial thing to motion sickness inducers, ships and cars excluded. Then why I wanted to give a try to Manga Me, you’ll ask? For three reasons: because of the word “manga” in the title, which still retains a bit of attractive sophistication compared to the word “comics”; because the screenshots didn’t make me immediately nauseous; because the developer is no less than the Chinese University of Hong Kong. And… I also like to have five minutes of idiocy once in a while.
- Maximum resolution 320 x 460 pixels;
- Two different editing modes (portrait and landscape);
- Three different effects.
Manga Me wants to help artists in the production of comics with automatically generated illustrations. My dear artists, if you need this kind of help I am sorry to say you have touched the bottom. Even if it were only for a quick reference, the results obtained with Manga Me are nothing a professional should too seriously take into account.
It’s not that the effects applied by Manga Me are so terrible, especially on more organic shapes where aliasing is less visible and especially if compared to other similar filters available, but it is immediately noticeable that they are not natural and that they are result of a mediocre automated process. Besides, there are many issues to fix in Manga Me before it can become functional in any way. First of all, even if the final result isn’t so atrociously bad, the output resolution makes up for it: the ridiculous 320 x 460 speaks for itself about the actual use one can make of the final images. Also, both if you choose landscape or portrait mode, the images are generated upwise. It doesn’t make any sense to have two different modes if the result is in any case an upwise picture, of course. The developers should fix this inconvenience as soon as possible. You can adjust black/white level, but obviously the clearest images are those granting better results.
Since the app is free, one can try it for having five minutes of fun, but that’s all. If you want to use this app for other purposes, as an aid for your comic art for instance, you better think about it twice.
Manga Me works both with the built-in camera and with previously taken photos.
Name: Manga Me
Developer: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Computer Science & Engineering
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad. iOS 3.1.3 or later.