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Software Review of:
Funhouse

 

Dennis Cunefare is a retired Air Force member and currently works at Fiesta Texas and has been a member of Alamo PC for 5 years.

From the October, 2003 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

ArcSoft's Funhouse is a program that allows you to insert friends or family into virtually any digital image. The program comes with just under 200 predefined templates, in seven categories: Cartoons, Sports, Time Warp, Role Play, in Print, Trading Cards, and Sureal. You can also import any digital image, and within a few moments, make it a template and use it to create a unique and fun photo.

The Windows requirements are: Windows 98/Me/2000/XP, Pentium-based PC or equivalent, 150 MB free hard disk space, 64 MB RAM (128 recommended), 16-bit color display at 800 X 600.

I have not been able to find this program in any local stores; therefore ArcSoft's Web site is the only place to get this program at a cost of $39.99.

While the program was supposed to automatically install itself, I had to manually start the installation, but otherwise, the installation was quick and easy. Once installed, you will have to create your own shortcut icon as one is not created for you. After starting FUNHOUSE, you are only 5 steps away from creating a unique photo.

Step one: Get Template
The first step is selecting which template to use by either selecting from the predefined templates or creating your own template (see Figure 1). Using the predefined templates is extremely easy. Just select the category, scroll down the available templates and select the one you wish to use by double clicking on the image or clicking once to view the image on the template workspace and then clicking on OK. This will take you to step two in the process.

Creating your own template is a little more involved. To create your own template using a photo already on your computer, select New, and then Open. Here you can select any digital image already on your computer. To create a template with a scanner or digital camera, select New, then Accuire. Select either your scanner or camera and it will import the image to use as the template. Once you have the image, you must then make a "Mask Screen". This is the outlined area where you photo will "replace" the image on the template. Up to three "Masks" can be placed on a single template and you select the Mask number to make changes to that Mask. If only one Mask is available, then only the number one is highlighted. Click on ADD, and then click on the template where you'd like to begin drawing the "Mask". Drag the mouse to freehand draw the "Mask", or click at points along the area you wish to "Mask", to complete the area, simply click on the small square that marks the first point selected. By using Subtract, you can also remove areas from the "Mask". To make precise changes easier in creating the "Mask" area, there is a Zoom Out and a Zoom In button. But to use the Zoom buttons, you must create the Mask area first. Then when You Zoom In, the Mask area is centered on the template workspace. Here you can make more precise changes to the Mask. There are however, only two Zoom increases are available. You can also change the brightness, contrast, and color saturation of the template. Once you are satisfied with your work, click on OK to go to the next step.

Step Two: Get Photo
Step two is where you select the photo you wish to place into the template. Again, you can select from either a photo already on your computer or you can select from a scanner, a digital camera, or even a "live" video image from a desktop video camera or other Video For Windows compatible video device (See Figure 2). When you first start step two, the default folder is shown, with nine photos. As with the template selection, the OPEN and ACQUIRE buttons work the same here as well. You can create new folders and place photos within them for easier access and you can also delete photos within the folder. Again you select the photo by double clicking on the image or clicking once to view the image on the template workspace then clicking on OK to go to step three, Fine Tune.

Step Three: Fine Tune
The Fine-Tune Screen allows you to make changes to the inserted photo so that it can be blended to fit in better with the template. You can flip the photo horizontally, increase/decrease the size of the photo, rotate clockwise/counterclockwise and move the photo either with the mouse or by clicking on the up, down, left, right buttons. There is a Match Color button that will automatically match the photo color to the template or you have the ability to manually change the photos brightness, contrast, and color saturation. After making all adjustments needed, click on OK to go to step four, Add Text.

Step Four: Add Text
Adding Text is easily done. After selecting from the numerous fonts and font size, just type what you wish to say. Click on OK and the text is placed on the template. Moving the text within the template is accomplished with the mouse. You can move the text to anywhere on the template you want. You can make the text boldfaced, in italic's, have left/center/right alignment and even change the text color. You can also add a Shadow and then blur the shadow and change the Opacity (intensity) of that shadow. At this point you can save your work or sent it via the Internet for others to view. You send the photo as an AOL e-mail or as an MAPI compliant e-mail. After making all text inputs, click on OK to go to step five, Print Review

Step Five: Print Review
After selecting or going to Print Review, your template is automatically centered and sized for optimal printing. You can still resize the photo manually by clicking on the corners of the photo and dragging the corner to the size you want. Placement of the photo on the paper can be accomplished the same way. Simply click on the photo and drag it to the new location. A centering button is available to re-center the photo on the page if you've dragged it to another location. Once sized and placed where you want, you can select how many copies you want, the printer setup, and orientation of the photo (landscape/portrait). Click on the print button and your done.

This program is very easy to use and would make a good choice to edit any digital photo collection you may have.


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