They are planning a major advertising campaign in the UK this Spring and are currently looking for Dealers. I must say that their ads and examples are amazing and I cannot see how they can achieve these results at the prices they offer.
The one that first amazed me the most was the boy at the bottom of this page
However on closer inspection this is not restoration (As we at RP know it). The clothes must have been taken from another picture or drawn by a talented artist. Or, more likely, copied from a databank of features and clothes. The restoration looks good but I don’t think it is a true likeness to the original.
Has anyone any experience of them in the US or Japan?
Do you know how they get their results?
Have you dealt with them?
Do you know what software they use?
They offer a fixed price restoration, regardless of difficulty and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Last edited by Cameraken; 05-22-2006 at 10:56 AM.
I would agree that the photo of the boy has gone a little too far, but consider the image of the girl on the samples page (http://www.photowonder.co.uk/service/samples.html
Would restoration (as we know it) have arrived at a perfectly pristine image, or stopped short because that would involve inferring something?
What does the client want? A pretty picture which is a seemingly accurate representation of the original - or a smudgy, blotchy clone job.
Back to the boy. You're quite correct that nobody here would have done that. But if this "restoration" is on the front page, then these people believe that this is an excellent showpiece to entice the customer. I do not think that they are wrong.....
Things are a changing.
Today things are changing faster than ever.
I do not see restoration being limited to clone, stamp and push for long.
Do a quick search and you'll find some good programs for 3D facial modelling. Have a look at FaceGen or FaceFilter Studio, for example. They're new, but they work pretty well. FaceFilter even has a smooth user interface.
If we follow the trend, instead of restoring an old print we will soon be recreating the original - and, as such, the boy is (or soon will be ) right on the mark.
Last edited by byRo; 05-22-2006 at 11:03 AM.
I don't know why, but I am a bit suspicouse. I have a gut feeling, and it's telling me something isn't right about the business side of it.
Reasons for this thinking so far:
1/ Their http://www.photowonder.com.hk/index.html site has been up since September 2005, yet that site is still unfinished.
2/ If they can offer a 100% guarantee, they are better than anyone on this planet.
3/ If they can offer a flat rate no matter how big the job is, they are again better than anybody on this planet.
4/ WHY are their labour costs so low? How old are their workers, and what do they get paid?
If it looks and sounds too good to be true, it usually is
Call me a grumpy Yorkshire man, but I like to know my money isn't going to some fat cat, while the workers get nawt (slave/child labour)
If you want an example of the art of creating faces... this is the place to go.
Renderosity.com will convince you that it can be done, though we know that it can and IS being done.
Ha, like our grumpy Yorkshire man, I would have to question also and I'm from Oklahoma where the wind come sweeping ov'r the plain!!
Some interesting reading:
Photowonder is owned by Photopages. Evidently they're huge in Asia.
They claim they use proprietary software (interesting bit in that second article about how they kept it from being pirated in China).
I'm not trying to make a political statement here but...
A few weeks ago here in the US, CNN had a piece on artists in China that were paid to produce full size copies of famous paintings done by the masters: Leonardo, Picasso, Rembrant, etc etc.
The finished paintings ( they showed examples...) at a distance of 10 feet were IMPOSSIBLE to tell that they were not the originals. The local painters were paid on a per painting basis and their quota was something like: 3 Mona Lisas per day or 2 Guernikas per week...etc
I wonder if Photopages uses the same methods?
That picture of the boy has been in all the trade mags this week and will soon be in all the UK consumer magazines.
If the public gets the impression that this is possible (and it obviously is) then I think we will have to do something fairly drastic to start to match this standard.
Soon the public are not going to accept anything short of perfection.
Ro. I had a quick look at FaceFilter. It’s a step in the right direction but from what I read it won’t work the miracles that PhotoWonder are producing. Most of those effects could be done with liquify (a little harder perhaps)
And yes. I know which the client would prefer. Even it’s not 100% accurate.
Chris, You are correct that the UK site is not finished or the Hong Kong one. Or their Chinese support
or their Korean one
or their Japanese one
I can’t find their US site but I think they have one.
See their Ad for this year’s Focus-On-Imaging exhibition.
How do they offer 100% satisfaction? Easy, Free Re-dos until the customer is satisfied
How do they offer a fixed price? This is not the first company to offer this. I have another company ad on my desk offering fixed (cheap) prices.
I do take your point about labour But are you saying kids could do these?
Doug points out that they are probably Asian based.
Will Renderocity do this? I know nothing about 3D. What is the best 3D program.
Just imagine if we could create a completey new face from scratch at any angle with any expression. I thought this was not possible yet (or at least difficult and time consuming). But if this is the way they are reconstructing then I think I need a new program.
If they are using proprietary software then are they the only ones that could ‘invent’ this?
Have to say, that photo of the boy is quite impressive. However, if results that good can be achieved, then why aren't the rest of the example as impressive? For instance, on the samples page, the photo of the blonde girl is quite bad. It's very obviously a cut, flip, and paste, job. Look at her eyes, nose and teeth.
So with that thought in mind, I don't know if I believe the photo is a true likeness of the original. Who's to say? Something just doesn't jibe.
For what it's worth, most of their sample work is the same as the sample book shown at Walgreen's. Have you all seen the thread about that?
I found a few sites referencing this company and its founder, Ian Handricks. The software was mentioned on a few I came across, but never any details regarding it.
This one is a site that would require signing up for their service to read the rest of the article which I didn't do: findarticles.com
Photopages will soon be North America's biggest photo restorer. Its 60 graphic design graduates work in shifts to restore up to 1000 photographs in a 24-hour period--and they do this with sophisticated computer software in a big office on Auckland's North Shore. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In 1992 Ian Handricks, Photopages' chief executive, began restoring old and damaged photos, and writing the software to do it. He then set-up a photo restoration service for New Zealanders. Handricks moved into the Australian market in 2000, and in 2002 made the big break into the ...
NZ PHOTO SERVICE ATTRACTS US INVESTORS AND SALES
New Zealand based Photopages Global Ltd (POL), an overnight photo restoration service which uses unique digital technology, has not only attracted US investors, its US sales are skyrocketing.
PGL has established a US distribution network thanks to a relationship with a consortium of US investors led by Ed Bernstein of Creekside LLC in San Francisco.
PGL offers a service where original photos are scanned at source and sent via the internet to New Zealand for restoration. The service is fast-what takes many photo restorers four to five hours can be done by PGL's technology in just 10-20 minutes.
Ed Bernstein says PGL provides exactly what he is looking for in New Zealand-smart technology with consumer applications. "Photopages combines very strong technology with very innovative processes. The American market is ripe for this product but no one in the US had the tools to do the job as quickly and efficiently as PGL. That combined with our marketing and distribution skills, makes this a very exciting venture," Ed Bernstein says. PGL's Ian Handricks says since launching in the US sales have increased dramatically-up to hundreds of orders a day.
regarding the image of the boy at the bottom of the page -- it almost looks as if they put a distorted layer over a perfectly good picture and removed it as the retouch -- it just looks too perfect, imo.
(just my two cents worth)
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