BeautyPlus review

BeautyPlus is a photo app that includes multiple tools for removing blemishes and smoothing skin tone to make portraits come out perfect. It's easy to use and works well, so you can always put your best face forward in your pictures.

This app opens a brief tour the first time you open it, which is helpful but not really necessary given its highly intuitive interface. When you're ready to start beautifying your photos, just select "Self portrait," "Beautify," or "Magic brush" from the home screen. The Self Portrait option lets you take … Read more

Music vid shows digital retouch of woman in real time

It's the worst-kept secret of fashion magazines: the models who appear on the pages therein are Photoshopped to the moon and back. It's this method of perpetuating unrealistic standards of beauty that form the basis of a new music video from Hungarian singer Csemer Bolglarka, aka Boggie.

The song, called "Nouveau Parfum," shows Boggie undergoing a digital makeover treatment in real time as she sings. It is not, in fact, a real retouching session but rather clever CGI. For a start, the interface looks like no photo-editing software we've seen, and there's no photo-editing software, that we know of, that can work in video in real time. Moreover, the video credits list VFX artists -- but it's still very clever. … Read more

Here are the head-turners: 2013's most beautiful products

After too many years of software ruling the roost, hardware design is experiencing something of a renaissance.

Not everyone has what it takes to build a stunning product, but 2013 brought some designs that are, in a word, beautiful. Apparently companies have realized that their customers appreciate more than just boxes with rounded corners.

A design that looks terrific can, of course, come with a steep price. All those chamfered edges and superthin components cost a lot of money. The good news is that the slick designs set the standards for cheaper models to come. Apple's iPhone 5C, for … Read more

Crave Ep. 142: Electronic makeup gives new meaning to inter-'face'

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Blinklifier, which consists of metal false eyelashes and conductive eyeliner, lets you power devices on and off just by blinking. We video-chat with Fido -- and remotely give him a treat -- while at work. And guess who bought James Bond's Lotus submarine? The answer probably won't shock you. All that and more on this week's Crave show. Read more

Electronic makeup lets you control gadgets with a wink

If you can wear electronics on your wrists, in your clothing, and even as stick-on tattoos, why not paint them on your skin?

Computer scientist Katia Vega from the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has created what she is calling Beauty Technology, a range of wearable cosmetics that conduct electricity and control devices. Blinklifier, demonstrated at the Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces Conference in the UK, lets the wearer power devices on and off just by blinking. … Read more

Review: Pic Slice Free Picture Collage has a lot of tools and a handful of issues

Pic Slice Free Picture Collage has a lot of great features, but is severely bogged down in some cases by a clunky interface and frequent interruptions from ads and other menus. The result is a bittersweet experience that feels as though it could be brilliant if more work were put into the execution of certain functions.

Within 30 seconds of opening Pic Slice for the first time there is a pop-up onscreen asking you to rate the app and then to upgrade. That theme continues throughout your use of the app, with frequent reminders and pop-up ads. Ads will also … Read more

Lego shines as beautiful art in new book (Q&A)

Lego fans, rejoice!

This week, bookstores everywhere will begin getting copies of "Beautiful Lego," a new book by Mike Doyle and published by No Starch Press filled to brimming with some of the most stunning Lego art ever seen.

Throughout the 267-page volume, readers are treated to one fantastic Lego work after another. From renderings of Apple's original Macintosh to scenes from Tolkein to faithful recreations of New York's post-9/11 World Trade Center site, "Beautiful Lego" has it all.

As Doyle put it in his acknowledgement, the book (and the art portrayed inside) … Read more

The 404 1,301: Where we're beyond reasonable doubt (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Oh you like money? Win our Comic-con 2013 SuperWeakness Contest and win $404!

- Samsung and Jay-Z gave a master's class on how not to publish an app.

- Contrary to their lyrics, most rappers lie about their financial earnings.

- China develops an app that lets you see how you'd look with plastic surgery.… Read more

Review: Deck out your phone with Beautiful Widgets Free

Beautiful Widgets Free has stunning, useful widgets that all conform to a sleek theme. However, the app locks most of its useful settings and options behind a paywall. It's not too expensive, but you might prefer a free alternative.

The free app lets you preview slimmed-down versions of the app's 12 different widgets. These include weather, battery life, and other settings displays. They certainly live up to the beautiful name, but most of the options to adjust them to fit your phone require a $3 upgrade. If you don't pay up, you can't do much outside … Read more

Review: Beauty Camera adds filters to your photos

Beauty Camera slims down a lot of the more robust photo editor offerings into a few neat features. The only problem is that some of the features in Beauty Camera don't work like you'd expect them to. The app provides cool results when they do, though.

Like many photo editing apps, this one lets you pull photos from your hard drive or snap from within the app. You can preview filters that way, but the app's camera lacks top-tier quality. The filters, themselves, are useful, but there are only six for you to choose from. Other apps … Read more