AR Face Filters: How Do They Work and How Are They Changing Us?

This video explains the mechanisms behind how selfie filters change our digital images and then how this might psychologically affect us.

To make this video, I researched “Snapchat Dysmorphia” and also looked for the technical understanding of selfie filters. Before creating this video, I made a selfie filter for the Knight Lab using Spark AR to get a sense of how face deformation would work in Instagram selfie filters. The animation workflow for me looked like this: I would draw series of images in Photoshop- enough for 5 seconds of animation. Then, I would animate in After Effects, and stitch together all the animations and video in a Premiere file. I found the deformation transformations in After Effects to be especially useful in talking about facial deformation.

From this project, I learned how to create transitions from technical to conceptual explanations, and how to scope information into a digestible format. This project revealed a problem in AR: “augmented” implies that this technology can enrich our sensed reality, but what if this isn’t the case? What if altering our vision somehow detracts from our living experience?

About the author

Mary Truong

Device Lab Fellow

Mary is an artist who likes to use weird tech to build installations.

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