I had a question a few days ago from Debbie Bohanan, asking me if I knew of any ways to turn a photo into a cartoon. There are plenty of ways to add thought bubbles (like ToonDoo), but not many ways to take a normal digital photo and cartoon-ify it. I’d heard that BeFunky.com was supposed to handle that and even go well beyond. A blurb on the website said that it would even take a video of yours and turn it into a cartoon! So, I added myself to the wait list to see if I could get into the private beta that’s going on. A few days later and I was past the velvet rope.
There’s two parts of BeFunky, the Uvatar and Cartoonizer. I really don’t have much to say about the Uvatar part short of it’s the usual Web 2.0 paper doll creator with plenty of choices and nothing else notable about it. In theory you could pay them to create a custom one for you, but I saw some messages on the discussion boards saying that people weren’t receiving the ones they’d paid for. However, Cartoonizer definitely captured my attention.
The idea is simple. You upload a photo. First it sketches out the hard lines. Then it fills in sections with blocks of color. Then you can warp it manually if you like. The end result is a VERY accurate cartoon based on the photo. That’s the good. The bad is that it’s slow. Every step takes about 5-10 seconds. Make a change and wait. Tweak the slider and wait. Crop the image and then waaaaaiiiiiitttttt. But that being said, the only other way to get that sort of effect that I know of is to do some pretty fancy photoshop work. First easy and online way to do this sort of thing that I know of.
One other note. When it comes to getting your cartoon out of BeFunky, the site makes it clear that it plays well with others. It’ll give you TONS of custom embed codes for everything from WordPress to Twitter to del.icio.us to several I’ve never heard of (what the heck is TailRank?). So it definitely gets bonus points for that.
Next on my to do list: Take my BeFunky cartoon and Blabberize it! Blog post forthcoming…
Click images to see them full size.
Original image of the infamous ‘California Backscratcher’
After cartoonifying it with BeFunky: