I feel like something is watching me...

By Sharleen Daubé

Forget ordinary photo booths– think Tokyo!  Join the hustle and bustle of school-uniform clad teens by adding animated stars, hearts, and HAPPY to your life. PhotoWonder is one of the most popular photo-editing apps offered in the Android market. It has well over 250 thousand downloads and averages over 4 out of 5 stars by droid users.

Unlike ordinary photo-editing apps, PhotoWonder is reminiscent of the highly adorned and colored photo booths popular in eastern Asian cities. Like these photo booths, PhotoWonder provides a fun selection of animated frames and characters to incorporate into any photo, whether you download it online, have it saved into your phone’s gallery, or decide to take a new photo using your built in camera. Along with the animations, PhotoWonder also provides basic photo-editing features, like cropping, adjusting contrast or tint, and beautifying.

Had one too many tacos? Beautifying allows one to considerably slim down their face, blur out nasty blemishes, or magnify the eyes. The larger eyes is a tool purely characteristic of the younger generations in South Korea and Japan. There is a Korean trend called “Ulzzang” that refers to Asian girls with large, “anime” looking eyes. These eyes are achieved by means of make-up or contact lenses called “circle lenses,” specially made to give the illusion of larger pupils. The trend is being displayed all over mainstream pop magazines and even has a special contest in which one lucky gal (or guy!) can win the coveted title of “Most Ulzzang.” Though Photoshop has similar magnifying tools, one really can’t beat the convenience of PhotoWonder, where a simple tap on the screen significantly enlarges the eyes. The tool can be used on other facial features, like the lips or nose if you feel the need to plumpen.

Another great feature on PhotoWonder is the effects tool which transforms the lighting and mood of the photo. There are nine effects to be used. My personal faves are the old school “LOMO” effect and the “Autumn” effect. “LOMO” creates a beautifully distorted image with high color contrast, and “Autumn” brightens the image and creates a delicate vintage feel. The “Color” effect allows one to adjust the hues of the photo, so your image can look as if it was taken under a cast of colored light. There is the traditional “Gray” effect which desaturates the image and a “Retro” effect which transforms the photo into sepia hue. The “Romantic” and “Soften” effects are similar in that they cast a white glow around the picture, “Romantic” focusing more on softening the face than the background. Others include the “Sweety”, an effect that saturates the photo in “sweet” shades of pink and the “Blue Tone” effect which transforms the photo into a cool temperature atmosphere. A wonderful aspect of PhotoWonder is the small thumbnails next to all of the effects so one may preview how their picture will look  beforehand. But of course, if you decide against your changes, you may simply hit the undo arrow.

What really impresses me about the PhotoWonder app is the “Collages” feature listed under the “Edits” tab. This tool takes the photo to another level, allowing one to create collage photos that may be used for professional purposes, such as websites or creating holiday cards. Most of the collage frames make room for two or three photos, but there are collages that allow up to five. They  come either animated or plain, though I do recommend the animated collage frames as  they are very creative and adorable. The plain collage frames are similar to the basic layout of

your basic photo booth layout, with an exception for a collage that imitates the broken pieces of   mosaic tile.

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce some of the photos I’ve created using PhotoWonder. Following is a brief step-by-step process of how the effects were achieved. Enjoy!

First is an actual photo taken in 2008 from a Seoul photo booth. My cousin, my sister, and I were in and out in 5 min, but some parties were in there for up to 20! After positioning yourself into the frame, you get to enjoy an endless source of “stickers” to add to the pictures.

These photos were created using PhotoWonder. In the first photo, I used the “Autumn” effect which was followed by my excessive use of the “Better Skin” tool. The “Better Skin” tool brightens the skin to reduce any redness or blemishes. “Autumn” was also used in the second photo. After decorating the picture, I bathed it in “LOMO” to create a hyper colored photo.

This is a more humorous photo that I thought could be used on the cover of a birthday card. There is a “Bubble Text” tool in PhotoWonder which allows you to add any text to the photo. The “Happy” is a text photo that comes with the app, but I could just have easily created a “Happy Birthday” text photo. See that little creature chilling on my hat? I really wish I had one of those.

This photo displays some of the beautification tools, such as slimming the face and neck and magnifying the eyes. The “Romantic” effect was then added to the photo to soften some of my modifications. Maybe not as ulzzang as I intended, but I’ll get there!

My favorite food moments of the week! One was eating out at a wonderful French restaurant called French Bistro in Olmos Park. I dined on curried mussels with parsley frites and homemade mayonnaise. The second photo is my first attempt at making baguettes! They came out beautifully, thanks to my culinary wiz boyfriend. Both pictures are displayed here in one of the many animated collages. I could easily include this photo into a professional blog or even just scrapbook it.


Written by The Sundown United

The SUNDOWN UNITED is a multi-faceted project that houses an apparel and accessories brand, and online-magazine(weblogs/articles). All ends of and begins with the Sundown United our trademark, lifestyle, attitude, and personal perspective on Americana art/lifestyle subculture.

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