Olaf, Zubat, Tuxedo Mask. In that order.
Over the past few weeks a new wave of augmented reality face filters have gone viral on Instagram, as everyone from everyday users to A-list celebrities shares their hilarious—sometimes heart-warming results with the masses.
Using these filters, users are assigned a fictional character from popular works of fiction, including Harry Potter, Pokémon, Disney, and Sailor Moon. Each of these filters follow the same general format: you activate the front-facing camera to generate a face-tracking filter which displays a roulette of characters above your head; when the cycle stops, your spirit character is revealed! Of course, there’s no actual science behind any of these selections; most, if not all of these filters are based on a simple number generator.
Regardless of the randomized outcomes and simplistic format, the Instagram filters have quickly gone from fun distractions to a viral hit, with numerous celebrities sharing their results with fans online.
We’ve seen several hilarious matchups so far, such as Ariana Grande pairing with a Magikarp, but we’ve also seen some surprisingly emotional ones, including Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams, landing on the Genie from Aladdin; a character voiced by her father.
To discover what characters you are, you’ll need to search for and download each lense from their respective creator. “What Pokémon Are You?” can be found at @hughesp1, along with “Which Disney Character Are You?” at @arnopartissimo. There’s also “Which Harry Potter Character Are You?” at @syilers, and “What Sailor Moon Character Are You?” at @popkapirozhka, with more popping up every day.
While companies spend millions developing dedicated AR headsets capable of delivering advanced volumetric 3D visuals, it’s these types of simplistic, yet memorable experiences that are leading the way for the mass adoption of AR technology. Whether it be a filter that swaps your gender or a filter that simulates old age, apps like Snapchat and Instagram are successfully bringing AR to the mainstream.
Unfortunately, the rise of face filters has lead to additional privacy concerns. This past July, Russian-owned app FaceApp made headlines when it began requiring users to allow them access to their photo libraries in order to use their viral old-age filter. As facial recognition technology continues to advance at its current rapid pace (China recently unveiled a 500-megapixel surveillance camera) expect face data security to become a growing concern.
Feature Image Credit: Vanessa Hudgens, Instagram