Filter (social media)

(Redirected from Social media camera filter)

Filters are appearance-altering digital image effects often used on social media. They initially simulated the effects of camera filters, and they have since developed with facial recognition technology and computer-generated augmented reality.[1] Social media filters—especially beauty filters—are often used to alter the appearance of selfies taken on smartphones or other similar devices.[1]

A selfie taken by a man using an "I love Wikipedia" social media camera filter.
A photograph with two plush vegetables, before and after applying a filter

History edit

 
A photo collage of an original, unprocessed image (top left) modified with the 16 different filters available on Instagram in 2011.

In 2010, Apple introduced the iPhone 4—the first iPhone model with a front camera.[2] It gave rise to a dramatic increase in selfies, which could be touched up with more flattering lighting effects with applications such as Instagram.[2] The American photographer Cole Rise was involved in the creation of the original filters for Instagram around 2010, designing several of them himself, including Sierra, Mayfair, Sutro, Amaro and Willow.[3][4] In September, 2011, the Instagram 2.0 update for the application introduced "live filters," which allowed the user to preview the effect of the filter while shooting with the application's camera.[5][6] #NoFilter, a hashtag label to describe an image that had not been filtered, became popular around 2013.[7]

An update in 2014 allowed users to adjust the intensity of the filters as well as fine-tune other aspects of the image, features that had been available for years on applications such as VSCO and Litely.[8][9]

In 2014, Snapchat started releasing sponsored filters to monetize the participatory use of the application.[10] In September 2015, Snapchat acquired Looksery and released a feature called "lenses," animated filters using facial recognition technology.[11][12][13] Some of the early lenses available on Snapchat at the time were Heart Eyes, Terminator, Puke Rainbows, Old, Scary, Rage Face, Heart Avalanche.[12] The Coachella filter released April 2016 was a popular early augmented reality filter.[14]

Beauty filter edit

A photograph of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales before and after applying Facetune filters. The app has smoothed Wales's skin texture, and subtly altered the proportions of some of his facial features.

A beauty filter is a filter applied to still photographs, or to video in real time, to enhance the physical attractiveness of the subject. Typical effects of such filters include smoothing skin texture and modifying the proportions of facial features, for example enlarging the eyes or narrowing the nose.

Filters may be included as a built-in feature of social media apps such as Instagram or Snapchat, or implemented through standalone applications such as Facetune.

In 2020, the "Perfect Skin" filter for Snapchat and Instagram which was created by Brazilian augmented reality developer Brenno Faustino gained more than 36 million impressions in the first 24 hours of its release.[15]

Critics have raised concerns that the widespread use of such filters on social media may lead to negative body image, particularly among girls.

Background edit

The manipulation of photos to enhance attractiveness has long been possible using software such as Adobe Photoshop and, before that, analogue techniques such as airbrushing. However, such tools required considerable technical and artistic skill, and so their use was mostly limited to professional contexts, such as magazines or advertisements.[16]

By contrast, filters work in an automated fashion through the use of complex algorithms, requiring little or no input from the user. This ease of use, in combination with the increase in processing power of smartphones, and the rise of social media and selfie culture, have led to photographic manipulation occurring on a much wider scale than ever before.

One of the earliest examples of a content-aware digital photographic filter is red-eye reduction.[16]

Effects edit

Typical changes applied by beauty filters include:

  • Smoothing skin texture; minimizing fine lines and blemishes
  • Erasing under-eye bags
  • Erasing naso-labial lines ("laugh lines")[17]
  • Application of virtual makeup, such as lipstick or eyeshadow
  • Slimming the face; erasing double chins[18]
  • Enlarging the eyes
  • Whitening teeth
  • Narrowing the nose
  • Increasing fullness of the lips

Beauty filters most frequently target the face, though in some cases they may affect other body parts. For example, the app "Retouch Me" was reported to have a feature which allows users to superimpose visible abdominal muscles (a "six pack") onto photos featuring the subject's bare stomach.[17]

Psychological effects edit

Some commentators have expressed concern that beauty filters may create unrealistic beauty standards, particularly among girls, and contribute to rates of body dysmorphic disorder. A correlation has been established between negative body image and the use of beautifying filters, though the direction of causation is unknown.[18]

The inability to discern whether a particular image has been filtered is thought to exacerbate their negative psychological effects. Policymakers have advocated for social networks to disclose the use of filters; TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat all label filtered photos and videos with the name of the filter applied.[18][19]

Cosmetic procedures edit

Filters have been implicated in greater demand for cosmetic surgery and injections.[20] The term "Snapchat dysmorphia" was coined by cosmetic doctor Tijion Esho to describe patients who presented to plastic surgeons seeking procedures to mimic the effects of filters, such as a narrowed nose, enlarged eyes, fuller lips, and smoothed skin.[21][22]

Instagram previously hosted a number of third-party filters which explicitly simulated the effects of cosmetic procedures, as well as a filter, "FixMe", which allowed users to annotate their face with areas for surgical improvement, as a plastic surgeon might do with a marker. After public controversy around these filters, Facebook banned them in October 2019, along with all "distortion" filters, which altered the proportions of the face. In August 2020, Facebook re-allowed distortion filters, but continued to ban filters which "directly promote cosmetic surgery".[19] Facial distortion filters are also unlisted in the app's "Effects Gallery", which shows the most popular filters at the time.[18]

Apps edit

Beauty filters are available as a built-in feature of many social media apps, most notably Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.[18][19] In the case of Instagram and Snapchat, most filters are created by third-party developers rather than the app developers themselves. The video-conferencing app Zoom includes a "Touch-up My Appearance" filter which smooths blemishes and under-eye bags.[20][19]

Beautifying effects may be bundled as part of other, more whimsical augmented reality filters, such as Instagram and Snapchat filters which give the user puppy ears or a flower crown.[17][19]

Beauty filters may also be applied using standalone "beauty apps". One of the most popular such apps is Facetune. In 2017, Facetune was the most popular paid app on the Apple App Store. As of 2019, the paid app, and the free counterpart, Facetune2, had more than 55 million users between them.[17] FaceApp is another image editing app which uses deep learning algorithms. Extreme use of the app's beauty filters was the subject of the "Yassification" Internet meme, in which photos are filtered to hyper-glamorour extremes to humorous effect.[23]

Filters are most commonly applied to self-taken portraits ("selfies"). The close distance from which such photos are taken may create undesirable distortions, such as increasing the perceived size of the nose.[21][17]

Studies edit

A study from Yahoo! Labs and the Georgia Institute of Technology found that filtered photos outperform unfiltered photos in terms of engagement on social media, with a 21% higher chance of being viewed and a 45% higher chance of generating a comment.[24][25]

In 2020, it was reported that 600 million people monthly were using augmented reality filters on Instagram or Facebook, while 76% of Snapchat users were using them daily.[26]

Reception edit

It has been noted that beauty filters on social media tend to highlight Eurocentric features, like lighter eyes, a smaller nose, and flushed cheeks.[27] These filters have been documented as contributing to social media users' feelings of body image insecurity, sometimes called "filter dysmorphia."[28][29] This trend has led some to seek plastic surgery to make themselves look how they appear in social media filters.[30][31]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Ibáñez-Sánchez, Sergio; Orús, Carlos; Flavián, Carlos (2022-01-18). "Augmented reality filters on social media. Analyzing the drivers of playability based on uses and gratifications theory" (PDF). Psychology & Marketing. 39 (3): 559–578. doi:10.1002/mar.21639. ISSN 0742-6046. S2CID 246053612.
  2. ^ a b Losse, Kate (2013-05-31). "The Return of the Selfie". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  3. ^ Luke Johnson (2017-01-15). "Filter focus: the story behind the original Instagram filters". TechRadar. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  4. ^ Rudulph, Heather Wood (2015-06-08). "Cole Rise Is the Reason There's a "Rise" Filter on Instagram". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  5. ^ Zhang, Michael (2011-09-29). "Some Instagram Users Unhappy Over Changes to Filters". PetaPixel. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  6. ^ Van Grove, Jennifer (September 20, 2011). "Instagram 2.0 Launches: A Faster App With Live Filters & Hi-Res Photos". Mashable. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  7. ^ Barrett, Grant (2013-12-21). "Opinion | A Wordnado of Words in 2013". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  8. ^ Manjoo, Farhad (June 3, 2014). "State of the Art: Instagram Goes Beyond Its Gauzy Filters". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Stern, Joanna (20 May 2014). "Why My Instagram Photos Look Better Than Yours". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  10. ^ Hawker, Kiah; Carah, Nicholas (2021-01-02). "Snapchat's augmented reality brand culture: sponsored filters and lenses as digital piecework". Continuum. 35 (1): 12–29. doi:10.1080/10304312.2020.1827370. ISSN 1030-4312. S2CID 225110500.
  11. ^ "Snapchat is the latest tech company to be sued for mapping faces". Quartz. 2016-07-25. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  12. ^ a b Constine, Josh (2015-09-15). "Snapchat Starts Charging $0.99 For 3 Replays, Adds Face Effect "Lenses"". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  13. ^ Constine, Josh (2015-09-15). "Snapchat Acquires Looksery To Power Its Animated Lenses". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  14. ^ Rogers, Katie (2016-04-22). "Yes, Coachella Is Still Going On". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  15. ^ Digital, Máxima (2022-01-02). "Influenciador digital fala sobre desenvolver filtros no Instagram para celebridades". Máxima (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2023-08-21.
  16. ^ a b Corcoran, Peter (October 2014). "Digital Beauty". IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. doi:10.1109/MCE.2014.2338573. S2CID 3024848.
  17. ^ a b c d e Hunt, Ellen (1 January 2019). "Faking it: how selfie dysmorphia is driving people to seek surgery". The Guardian.
  18. ^ a b c d e Boseley, Matilda (1 January 2022). "Is that really me? The ugly truth about beauty filters". The Guardian.
  19. ^ a b c d e Ryan-Mosley, Tate (2 April 2021). "Beauty filters are changing the way young girls see themselves". Technology Review.
  20. ^ a b Shein, Esther (November 2021). "Filtering for Beauty". Communications of the ACM. 64 (11): 17–19. doi:10.1145/3484997. S2CID 239770270.
  21. ^ a b Rajanala, Susruthi; Maymone, Mayra B. C.; Vashi, Neelam A. (November 2018). "Selfies—Living in the Era of Filtered Photographs". JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. 20 (6): 443–444. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2018.0486. PMID 30073294. S2CID 51905323.
  22. ^ Ramphul, Kamleshun (2018). "Is "Snapchat Dysmorphia" a Real Issue?". Cureus. 10 (3): e2263. doi:10.7759/cureus.2263. PMC 5933578. PMID 29732270.
  23. ^ O'Neill, Shane (24 November 2021). "What Does It Mean to 'Yassify' Anything?". New York Times.
  24. ^ Heyman, Stephen (2015-06-25). "Photo Filters Help Lure Viewers and Clicks on Social Media". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-05.
  25. ^ Bakhshi, Saeideh; Shamma, David; Kennedy, Lyndon; Gilbert, Eric (2021-08-03). "Why We Filter Our Photos and How It Impacts Engagement". Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media. 9 (1): 12–21. doi:10.1609/icwsm.v9i1.14622. ISSN 2334-0770.
  26. ^ Bhatt, Shephali. "The big picture in the entire AR-filter craze". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2022-11-05.
  27. ^ "The Mental Health Impacts of Beauty Filters on Social Media Shouldn't Be Ignored — Here's Why". InStyle. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  28. ^ Garelick, Rhonda (2022-08-23). "When Did We Become So Obsessed With Being 'Symmetrical'?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-05.
  29. ^ Network, The Learning (2022-03-31). "What Students Are Saying About How Social Media Affects Their Body Image". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-05.
  30. ^ "'Snapchat Dysmorphia': When People Get Plastic Surgery To Look Like A Social Media Filter". www.wbur.org. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 2022-11-05.
  31. ^ Tolentino, Jia. "The Age of Instagram Face". The New Yorker. Conde Nast. Retrieved 10 February 2023.