Moodys – App Review (iOS)

Moodys is an augmented reality app that allows you to put cute animated faces on objects in the real world, making them come to life and have their own personality.

This is a Cool Idea!

Smiley face on fire extinguisher
A beautiful blending of the virtual and the physical, so simple and works so well for an AR app.

Has it ever happened to you where you get excited when you recognize something that looks like a face in the clouds or in nature? It happens to me and a lot, and I enjoy this type of experience. Although nature has its own vibe and it triggers emotions, seeing a look of a face in non-living objects is an exciting and entertaining thing, at least it is for me.

Moodys use augmented reality and Machine Learning to make it possible to attach animated faces to objects in the real world. Did it happen to you where you look at your food plate and wonder how that potato or tomato would look like had it had a face on it? Now you can do it easily with Moodys.

Cookie with a face in augmented reality
“Hello there, please don’t eat me”. “I’m telling you, if the developer adds the ability to add voices with lip-sync animation, this app will be so way more entertaining.

As of the time of writing, the app features 9 different colorful faces with a transparent background, so only the parts of the faces are visible. Which means that the face can seamlessly be placed onto almost on any object you desire to use it on. Furthermore, there are four different effects like rain, fire, snow, and steam which you can position alongside the face.

Faces are used in commercials to attract the user’s attention. No doubt that it’s easier for many people to emotionally connect and react to something that resembles a human face. This technique is used widely in 3D animated movies to inject life and personality into lifeless objects. Furthermore, human’s facial expressions are often used to give personality to animals in computer-animated films.

This is the type of app that ignites your minds creative thinking and make you go: “mmm.. let’s see what I can make with it.”. If that happens and the app is accessible and let you easily create your ideas, you know that you go something good in your hand, but this by itself is not enough.

Places for improvements

The faces in Moodys look cute and carry the same art-style design, but they aren’t too expressive. They are animated and can slightly change the face when you apply an effect, but overall they just cute little faces and the user don’t have more control over it.

It would be amazing if there was an option for the app to record user voices and animated the facial expression and apply lip-synch to the animation, this would really enhance the experience. Just think of a little olive on your plate saying something like: “Hey, why don’t you eat me, don’t you think I’m tasty?”—all that in a very cute little voice. This would be so way more entertaining, don’t you think?

Users can capture a photo and record videos of the faces. Furthermore, users can place several faces at the same scene, which is nice. However, what I would really want to see is a built-in social feature that allows users to share and explore other users’ creations within the app itself. Also allowing users to upvote and comment on the photos and videos they enjoy viewing.

Now, just imagine it with AR Cloud where you can put faces and they persist in the real world for other users to see, but until this happens, I think the developer should focus on adding those social features and sooner the better I think having social features for this type of app can significantly increase user retention and help it expand to a wider audience.

I think that people really enjoy creating things on their own, but more than that, they like to share their creations with others and hear their feedback. The moment I created something interesting with Moodys, I wanted to share it with you guys and see what you think.  Just giving the user an option to create an image or a video isn’t enough. You need to create a social hub that allows users who show interest in the app to share their creations with people with the same interest, as well as let other people, who they might not know, easily find their creation and socially interact with it.

Another thing that I would have liked to see is the eyes tracking the user’s position (the camera). This will give the feeling that the character is aware of your existence. Maybe some basic voice lines can help here as well.

AR Experience

Moodys AR experience went very smoothly. The app has a minimalistic UI and it took me a few seconds to learn how to use it and start using it.

The objects detection was fast and reliable. In fact, when I removed the object from the scene, the face stayed in place. When I returned the object in a close distance from the face, the face snatched into it. So the algorithm remembers which object it was attached to and can move the face back to its original position. This all process works very accurately, and fast.

Although the app doesn’t require a horizontal surface scan, it does require an initial scan of any object which you intend to position a face on. The good news is that scan is quick and reliable, which is great.

I also think that maybe adding some semi-transparent like faces which can better blend with different kind of objects would be nice, so they face appears like it is really part of the object itself. I hope you get what I mean. Anyways, this is so much better than just putting smiles/emojis in AR, it originates better kinship between the virtual and the physical and therefore it works great in augmented reality.

Conclusion

Moodys is categorized as a Social Networking app, but this is exactly what this app lacks to make it more appealing to its users. Users can capture photos and mini videos for later share but there is no built-in social hub for exploring other people’s creations and interaction with them, a very much needed feature for this type of app in my opinion.

The core idea is good and I liked it a lot. Instead of just putting different meaningless 3D objects in a scene and share it, the app focuses on adding emotive faces to objects that are already in the scene. The question is whether this is enough to make users enjoy it for the long run? I think in its current available content, it’s probably not enough. The good news is that you can easily built upon the core basic idea and add new cool things to it, like voiceovers with facial expressions and allow users to create their own mini-stories and record it as they explore the world around them.

I ate a breakfast this morning, and looking at my plate made me want to create a little story of the mashed potato speaking with the tomato and pickle next to it, making them argue about something and make the pineapple juice cup intervene. I would be so cool making such a movie and share it with the world, and I am positively sure that people will love this idea. The only thing you need to do is add faces and voices, and Moodys already has done part of this job. This is time to take the app to a new level and I hope that the developer is reading it and will implement these features.

I enjoyed this app so much, and I didn’t even explore with it the outdoor area. There are so many things inside my room that I can create funny stuff with, I can’t imagine what creative possibilities are waiting for me outside, and not just me, for everyone who is going to use this app!

Overall, a nice little app, with very limited functionality, but one that has such a huge potential of becoming so much better than it is. I know that I will be using it outdoors when I find some really cool object that I can create funny moments with.

You can download Moodys free from the App Store here.

P.S. I will probably be going to share more cool pictures using this app in the upcoming days, so stay tuned.