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FAQ

Superimpose:

  • Q: Why can't I see the geographic locations of the images acquired from Google Street View, Panoramio, Camera, or Photo Library? All the images I superimpose also don't contain geographic locations. How to solve this?
    A: It's because the location service is set to disallowed when WhatsGoLa was run for the first time. To enable it, please go to the iDevice "Settings" -> Location Services. Make sure itself is "On" and "WhatsGoLa" is also set to "On".

  • Q: "WhatsGoLa Camera" is cool. I like to use this tool to find photos I like from Panoramio. Is it possible to just download the image to my Photo Library without superimposing?
    A: Yes, after pressing the "Use" button, please select "Save to Photo Library" and it will simply save the image to your iDevice Photo Library.

  • Q: I use WhatsGoLa Camera and collect a cool image. But I didn't select "Save to Photo Library" because I want to superimpose. Is it possible to save this background image to my Photo Library without downloading the image again?
    A: Yes, at the final step when you crop the image, switch on "Also save the background image to the Photo Library".

  • Q: How to add 2 overlays to a background image?
    A: First, choose the first overlay image to superimpose and adjust the colors. Then press "Next" and select "Add another overlay" and you will be able to select another overlay to superimpose. You may repeat this process as many times as you want to add many overlays to the same background. However, please plan well which overlay to be added earlier. Once the 2nd overlay is added, you won't be able to adjust the position, size and color of the 1st overlay. Also, the overlay added later will be pasted on top of the previous overlay.

  • Q: After tapping "Next" in the superimpose screen, I actually want to select "Proceed to crop" but I incorrectly tap "Add another overlay". What should I do?
    A: Add a random overlay. Later in the color adjustment panel, drag this unwanted overlay outside of the image panel. Then tap "Next" and select "Proceed to crop". This should avoid the unwanted overlay appearing in the final picture.

  • Q: The virtual Street View Camera is not very responsive when rotating. Is there any way to improve this?
    A: The virtual Street View Camera uses the gyroscope, Google Map JavaScript API v3 and the web view to perform the interface, which is the only method Apple/Google release for developers (Unlike the native iDevice Map App which use OpenGL technique to perform the Street View). The slowness comes from the integration between the JavaScript API and the web view. Furthermore, the resolution of the web contents must be set reasonable high so we can collect higher resoution street view images to produce good superimposed photos. Unfortunately, this decreases the performance. In real testing, it works well for iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and the New iPad. iPhone 4 may experience laggy sometimes, but still usable.

  • Q: It takes too long to download some of the Panoramio images. What should I do to cancel the downloading?
    A: Tap the "Cancel" or "Reselect" button will cancel the downloading.

Overlay:

  • Q: It's difficult to draw the mask. Is there any tip to draw the mask?
    A: We have done a completed research on the background removing techniques that can be implemented on iOS devices. It turns out that none of the technique used so far can produce perfect overlay images in terms of "smooth edge" and "high resolution". Even if image itself has a plain-color background, the result is still imperfect using the "Chroma Keyed effect" or "Magic Wand" methodologies. So we decide not to implement those useless gimmick to keep the user interface simple. When we use the editing tools, we do find out these steps could speed up the masking:
    1. First, increase the brush size to maximum. Draw on the subject until all pixels and all edges are covered by the red channel. Now, give this overlay a name and save it. You should have a brief shape of the overlay now.
    2. Then edit this overlay and use the medium size eraser. Use the pinch gesture to zoom in the overlay. Carefully erase the red channel from the edges of the subject. When erasing, make sure all background pixels are removed. It is fine if you slightly erase a couple of pixels on the subject at the edges as it won't affect the final picture after superimposing. At this step, you don't have to worry about the sharp corners as the brush size is now small enough to handle them. We will focus on the corners in the next step.
    3. In this step, we need to repeatedly toggle between "erase/draw", "zoom in/out", and brush size adjustments. So make sure you are familiar with these controls. Set the eraser size to relatively very tiny (but not minimum). Use the pinch gesture to zoom in any corner and use the eraser tool to trim the unwanted background. You may need to decrease the brush size even further if the corner is very sharp.
    4. Now you should have a 95% perfect overlay. The final step is only necessary if the subject has long or curly hair (or wearing hairy clothes/hat). Do not draw solid red channel on all pixels at the edge of the hairy object and the background. Instead, erase the edge of the hairy object let you produce better superimposed images. If you insist to create the perfect hairy edge, you could use the tiniest brush with middle hardness. Zoom in the overlay and draw some hair - this will let you produce very lifelike superimposed images.

  • Q: It's still very difficult to draw the mask even using the tips mentioned above. Can you improve the mask editor?
    A: We do start a proposal to implement a new masking technique - similar to the Magnetic Lasso Tool presented in Adobe Photoshop. This might take months to implement and we are still unsure if it will work well on mobile phone devices (due to the limited CPU/Memory resources). If the new technique is feasible, we will try to implement it.

  • Q: Why are some overlay images imported from the Photo Library automatically detected as PNG but they don't look like an overlay image.
    A: When WhatsGoLa imports overlay from the Photo Library, it would detect if the image is in PNG format containing an alpha channel (transparency channel). If yes, it will directly save this overlay to the database without masking. Sometimes, you may have PNG images in your photo library (e.g. the images that you capture from the device by pressing the power button and the home button). Such images will be imported direclty and WhatsGoLa won't ask for masking. However, you can still "edit" the mask if you wish.