If step one is the act of taking a selfie, for many people step two involves Photoshop, Facetune, and Instagram filters. Now a new app called Guided Selfies is here to cut down all that editing time by helping you take the perfect picture from the get-go.
Computer scientists wrote an algorithm to determine the best angles, lighting, face position, and even face size for a selfie. They turned the art of the selfie into a science, pooling data from hundreds of selfies to find the “best” style of selfie. Then they designed the app to direct your phone’s camera and help users find their perfect light and angle.
To help co-creators Dan Vogel and Qifan Li, a former master’s student at Waterloo University in Ontario, develop the algorithm, they asked thousands of people to vote on the best selfies taken by “average-looking people.” Those votes then turned into data to create the ideal selfie.
“Selfie’s have increasingly become a normal way for people to express themselves and their experiences, only not all selfies are created equal,” said Vogel, a professor of computer science at Waterloo. “Unlike other apps that enhance a photo after you take it, this system gives direction, meaning the user is actually learning why their photo will be better.”
Once the app was developed, they had “real people” take selfies with their typical camera app, and then again using the algorithm. They then went back to crowdsourcing, asking people which selfies were better. According to their data, there was a 26 percent “improvement” in selfies using the app.
If a computer-generated selfie instructor doesn’t feel right for you, there’s also an analog method to finding your good side. According to Jo Blackwell-Preston, owner of NYC salon Dop Dop, “One of the really great things you can do when you’re trying to find the open side of your face is to see which side is more alive. What you’re gonna do is take a white hand towel and put it right down the center of your face, covering up one half of your face. Then you’ll notice the structure of your face on the side that’s exposed.” Even if you’re not so much a model as someone who’s just trying to send a cute selfie to a crush, we have to admit it does help to know your angles.
Of course, “better”-looking selfies are more subjective than a computer lets on. We love no-makeup selfies for a reason — because they give a stronger insight into who the person (or, let’s be honest, the celebrity) really is. But there is something undeniably tempting about using technology to get that selfie perfect. Plus, it’ll probably save a lot of space on your camera roll.
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