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Meing App Review

Meing is an extraordinary app that allows anyone to create their own 3D Avatar from faces using pictures or from the phone’s rear or front camera.

The app employs advanced 3D facial reconstruction algorithms that helps to create a 3D avatar with a person’s face that looks amazingly seamless and authentic.

Things don’t end there. Once you create your avatar the fun starts. The app actually serves as a hub for other people’s avatars and creations. There are not less than six different modes.

  • Theater – Pre-animated scene using two characters of your choice
  • AR Films – pre-animated scenes with music and visual effects featuring a single character in Augmented Reality.
  • AR Clips  – lots of pre-animated body gestures using your favorite avatar
  • Memes – create 2D image meme with pre-defined body postures and f facial expressions with the ability to add your own text or choose from the default ones.
  • Stickers – pre-animated images with your favorite avatar to share on messaging apps like Facebook Messenger.
  • Profile Pics – Make a profile picture from your avatar by choosing from dozens of pre-defined postures

Both AR Clips and AR Films allow users to record and save the videos for later editing or sharing on social networks. You can also share your creations, including your videos and avatar so it appears in the app itself. Once you share your avatar, other users can use your virtual idol to create videos, memes, etc.

Meing also has a shop where you can equip your avatar with clothes, accessories, new hairstyles, glasses and facial hair. All those items cost ‘Energy’, which is the in-app currency for purchasing items in the store. You can earn energy by being active in the app and sharing your creations with others. You can add friends using their own Meing ID.

Meing chat mode, screenshot
The built-in chat features

Another cool feature is the built-in chat system which turns the app into a social space for all intents and purposes. You can chat with any of the people on your friends’ list. You can send voice and text messages, animate your avatar using a large selection of animated expressions,  and even see both you and your friend in the same screen interacting with each other. \You can also but different props directly from the chat app using Energy. It would be even much better if there was an AR version of the same chat experience.

Augmented Reality Features

The main reason I was interested in reviewing Meing is due to Augmented Reality features.

The AR Films and AR Clips are the two AR modes that are currently available in the app. It might not sound a lot, but there is so much content available that you can literally play with it for hours without getting bored for even a second. A large number of default animations allows anyone to create really cool videos and pictures to share. My only complaint is that there are not real-time shadows 🙁

Meing supports ARKit technology for iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and all the iPad devices using the A9 chip or newer chips. For devices not supporting ARKit, the app falls back to an alternative AR framework. If you are using an ARKit-compatible device, just make sure it runs iOS 11, which is required for running ARKit apps.

I was toying around with the app for hours. The creative possibilities are literally endless. It’s one of those apps that just encourage creation. It’s very accessible, even a kid can use it. The AR feature definitely adds another layer of entertainment that the other modes are not able to bring. I wish there was an AR chat app. Wouldn’t it be great to have the option for the front camera to record your facial expressions and animate the facial expressions of your avatar? iPhone X can do that, and I wonder if the developer thought about released an exclusive iPhone X feature that can do just that.

Focuses on things that people like most

While many of the other similar movie-making Augmented Reality apps are dealing with standard 3D models, there comes an app that uses the AR technology alongside an advanced 3D Avatar creation technology to create an app that focuses on the things that appeal to many users, including; social interaction, entertainment, humor, and creativity.

Meing is able to combine all those features in a very seamless and convenient way. You don’t need to use several apps, just one app. Once you create your avatar, it can be used throughout all the available modes.

Plenty of Avatar Customization Options

3D avatar customization screen
The avatar customization screen.

I really liked the avatar creation process. It offers lots of customization options, letting you create an avatar that looks exactly the way you want it to be. You can adjust almost any part of the face and body, including the body’s build, waist, legs, arms, neck, and hips. You can change skin color, smoothness, whiten it, even it and change its tone. You can change the shape of the head, its contour and adjust the eyes, pupils, nose, lips, eyebrows, and ears with exquisite precision.

I was also able to adjust the face’s feature points or recreate the face using a new photo for a more seamless representation of my digital self.

I’ve yet to come across another app that offers such a wide range of features like those ones that Meing offers.

Just the fact that you can use your own face makes all the difference in the world for this type of app. It’s not an unfamiliar 3D character, this is your virtual self. I never felt so connected to my digital avatar prior to using this app.

Meing, AR film creation, screen
Creating an AR film with Meing. The left one is my avatar.

It’s even more exciting browsing through the AR films that other people are made. It’s way more fun enjoying them when you know that those avatars are of real people and seeing them taking place at real-world locations, without boring pre-defined backgrounds. This makes every AR film feel and look completely different than the other. I literally can spend hours watching those videos. People are creating some amazing stuff with this app.

I’m pretty sure that the developer doesn’t plan to stop here and I believe we are going to see many more AR features. This is by far the most entertaining social platform I’ve seen to date. That being said, there are so many ways to improve it, like adding social gathering, interactive games, add facial makeup touches, add virtual social places, etc.

Meing app shop screen
The Shop screen where you can buy clothes, props, hairstyles, etc.

One my main problems that I had with the app is that although the selection of props and clothes is high, the cost a lot of energy, living you with a very limited amount of items to enjoy in the first hours you start using the app.  Either the developer adds more free items or reduces the item prices of current ones. I really wanted to have a different hairstyle or change the color of my hair, but the only way to get a new hairstyle buying it through the shop. It wasn’t a huge problem if that was the only thing that cost Energy in the game, but it isn’t.

Conclusion

Meing (“Meing – Create, Play, Relate”, its full name on the App Store) is a fantastic 3D avatar creation app with beautifully implemented AR features that allow users to create some incredible videos. It’s the first social app that comes with a such a well-designed Augmented Reality video-sharing hub.

You can enjoy it without even using the AR feature, but after you see what videos people are making with it, you can comprehend amazing ingenuity.

I’ve seen many AR apps that solely focus on AR feature only. Maybe because of this we see many apps that are so lacking in features. That being said, I’ve seen many Hybrid apps (AR + Standard) where the AR is a very small and unexciting side feature.  In main, however, it feels like a prominent feature and the AR video clips are the main attraction on the “Meing Play” home screen.

Meing was first released without AR features, and those were added two months after release in version 0.1.530 with ARKit for iOS 11.0 added two months after that.

Augmented Reality fits this app like a glove. It takes this app to a whole new level. Suddenly memes and stickers look cheap and much less exciting. If there is an app that can draw the attention of many people to the magic of AR, this app can.

I just can stress enough how important is the built-in video browser.  For me, it felt like the YouTube of AR videos. YouTube doesn’t have that and I haven’t seen any other website that dedicates itself to AR videos. Meing actually does just that with its “Meing Play” section, which is actually the apps main home page.

I really want to see this app using the iPhone X’ facial recognition technology with voice and be able to use it throughout the different modes, including AR, Profile Pics, and Chat feature.

What more I can say, a fantastic app. All my thought are about creating great videos and sharing it with the world. No other app that I’ve seen does that in such a comprehensive and impeccable way.

AR Critic Editor's Choice Award 2017

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