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Tool of the Month - PhotoFunia (March, 2013)

I. What is PhotoFunia

PhotoFunia is a basic graphics processor that lets you and your students retouch, edit, transform, stylize and redesign the already-existing photos and other images. Think of it as of an instant scrapbooking tool or a quick collage creator.

Choice and Simplicity

PhotoFunia is built to be as fast and intuitive as possible. Users select the necessary template from the first screen, upload an image and click Go! The image is ready in an instant.

In PhotoFunia, users select a preset or effect they would like to achieve, and upload an image to be processed. In rare cases, users would need to provide two or three lines of text to accompany the image. All settings are pre-defined in the template, and cannot be ignored or changed.

PhotoFunia offers four basic types of effects:
1. Filters, allowing to adjust brightness, contrast, color and saturation of images, change the color temperature, emulate certain types of film.
2. Generic lab effects, allowing for a more severe stylization: creative frames, textures, overlaying shading, basic animations and basic image transformations.
3. Extreme Face-based transformations allowing to place the image subject into completely new creative contexts (e.g., a film poster, a wall painting, a Times Square LED screen, a basketball court, an art gallery, even a retro poster etc.)
4. Creative framing solutions used to design greeting cards.

Mobile Use

PhotoFunia effects are available on the go with dedicated mobile applications for virtually any mobile device.

II. When to use PhotoFunia

Students: to design supplementary materials for projects and presentations
Students will find the PhotoFunia filters and effects useful to add a creative edge to their presentations: stylize their imagery to fit certain historic or stylistic context, create dramatic simulations and brighten up their presentations with outstanding, vivid and captivating imagery.

Students: To brainstorm for new creative approaches
Students may also use PhotoFunia filters to synergistically generate a creative idea. The process is based on processing of random bits of source material through random PhotoFunia filters until a properly unexpected and creative idea emerges. Examples of such synergy would include featuring a historical character in an action film, creating a singing historical character or placing a historical artifact in a modern urban context. To come up with a cutting-edge idea of this sort, students would need to process source material with PhotoFunia.

Teachers: To engage students in collecting visual evidence
In science-related projects, using PhotoFunia mobile can lead to dramatic increase in rates of visual evidence collection. Taking a picture of what’s going on this instant, and placing in into a different context within seconds, is an exciting new opportunity to experiment with reality and perception that most students are eager to embrace.

Teachers: To enhance the visual representation of image-based learning content
Teachers will benefit from using PhotoFunia to enhance the visual aspect of their presentations. The filtering and dramatic transformation of visual learning material will draw attention and help students focus. However, teachers should make sure the transformations do not create unnecessary distraction from learning data.

III. PhotoFunia Teaching Tips

1. Evaluate PhotoFunia relevance. Discourage use of PhotoFunia effects and filters in every image that students produce. Teach to question filter and effect use. Encourage thoughtfulness in artistic expression.
2. When working together with the students, encourage experimentation and require numerous options of transformations. Do not settle for the first effect that seems fit.
3. Discuss the transitions of meaning that occur with effects and transformations. Make sure the students understand the dramatic and stylistic effects of transformations.
4. Encourage use of PhotoFunia for collecting instant visual evidence with mobile devices.
5. Discourage students from going the obvious path of inserting their own faces into filters. A portrait of William Shakespeare is far more challenging in the same context.

IV. Additional Resources

Services similar to PhotoFunia:
1. photofacefun.com
2. funphotobox.com
3. faceinhole.com
4. pizap.com

More advanced online photo editing software
1. pxlr.com
2. editor.pho.to
3. fotoflexer.com
4. befunky.com

PhotoFunia reviewed:
1. Photofunia reviewed by Sarah Milligan, MEC
2. Ways to use PhotoFunia in the classroom, by Ivana Antic