In the era of Instagram and selfie obsession, beautification apps are on top of trends. What AI beautification is all about? Another selfie-help gimmick? Or a game-changer for the camera experience?
Our experts – Alexey Cherkes, Head of Banuba’s digital face beautification software, and Maria Okolovich, Product Manager, – shed light on these questions.
Read on to learn about the landscape of AI beautification today, its trends for the future and the way it can empower businesses to enhance their customer service.
In pursuit of a ‘perfect selfie’
According to statista 87% of U.S. adults aged 18 to 34 years took a selfie and shared on social networks in 2017. More than a half of selfies are about appearance rather than family, travelling, health & fitness and other.
Where there is a demand, there will be supply, and beautification apps are not short in that.
With this, you can hide your imperfections, enhance skin, add makeup, adjust your face parameters and even spice it all with stickers and beauty effects.
‘Perfect selfies’ are now accessible to everyone, either in numerous stand-alone selfie apps, photo retouching apps, or photo enhancement filters like Snapchat but…
As always there’s the other side of the coin.
Flawless photos have flooded Instagram and people sought ways to stand out. While some fearless creatives climbed the roofs for a wow photo, others switched to the simple (which is usually the best) alternative – #nofilter.
Pics and selfies without editing came as a gulp of fresh air for all-seen-it instagrammers. Such trends as #nofacetune and #nofilter aim to break the illusionary world of fake beautified faces.
Natural beauty – AI beauty
It appears too much beautification disappoints people – the results in photos drastically differ from real life. Dollish faces stamped with artificial beauty make us... well, not who actually we are.
But is it all about faces and beauty? Alexey Cherkes, Head of Banuba’s digital face beautification software, says it’s not.
“In the first place, our face modification software aims to eliminate camera distortions that spoil our image.”
The studies published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery journal state that camera increases your nose by 30% if you take a selfie photo from 12 inches (30 cm). The fish-eye effect and front-facing camera lens distortion spoil the image making our face proportions incorrect.
“We create face modification software powered with beautification features. It enables the creation of visually beautified images of users based on real-time analysis of their anthropometric data. The technology used in our SDK applies face segmentation and AI algorithms for the enhancement of human faces in real time,” – Alexey tells.
Cameras with AI take selfie photography to a whole new level. It allows to fix camera drawbacks and achieve the perfect balance between retouching and a natural look.
What’s more, it works in real time, so you look beautiful both in your photos and videos.
Easy Snap – beautiful selfies from the first shot
The technology of real-time beautification is currently implemented in Banuba’s photo editor app – Easy Snap.
The app not only retouches all the facial flaws that bother so many women. It also takes into account the individual features of the face such as eye color, hair, face shape and others to match the best parameters.
“For us, it’s important to achieve a natural look on photos. The trend has changed – the severe beautification introduced in most beautification apps often evokes criticism and is associated with non-authenticity. People do feel the natural desire for looking good in photos yet don’t want to admit the usage of beautification apps.” – Marina, the Product Manager of Beautification, explains.
The Easy Snap beautification app works as an AI-powered camera. It puts the priority on a natural look and quick and easy share to social networks so that people don’t waste their time on photo editing.
For now, the app has editing capabilities:
- Skin smoothing. Enhance skin and hide defects like eye wrinkles, pimples.
- Skin tone correction. Make your skin whiter or tanner.
- Eyes whitening. Emphasize the eyes by making the eye whites clearer.
- Teeth whitening. Get an ideal smile.
- Face morphing. Make it slimmer, wider, increase/decrease eye size, change the shape of the nose and head proportions.
- Improve face symmetry. Correct the shape of the face based on the golden ratio, as well as apply eye correction according to their shape and position.
“We plan to develop the product and technology further as we definitely see the demand. AI beautification is all about unmistakable similarity to the original image. You open the camera and don’t see right away what exactly has changed in your face. But you like the image quality and yourself.” – Marina tells.
With AI-powered cameras, people can quickly take photos and videos, share them or not, and stop worrying that too much editing makes them look fake.
Trends for the future
Gartner predicts that by 2022, 80% of smartphones shipped will have on-device AI capabilities, up from 10% in 2017. Among the recently introduced AI-powered cameras there are iPhone X, OPPO F5 ("selfie expert"), Vivo V7, Samsung Galaxy J7+, Huawei Nova 2i with more to follow in the near future.
Businesses are actively exploring and implementing augmented reality to improve client-facing interactions and drive more sales. With AI beautification, camera-based customer experience can not only be enjoyable but personalized too, i.e. based on individual features.
An experiment by journalist Esther Honig excellently shows that “ideal beauty’ is not a set of capital truths and calculations. Esther asked 28 photoshop artists from different countries to make her beautiful by retouching her photo.
The results were interesting.
Chinese people prefer a pale complexion while European and Latino consumers learn toward the tan skin. Female facial features are expected to be delicate whereas morphing is fully justified. A masculine face is often associated with a wide jaw, broader nose, and more prominent chin.
AI beautification will take into account all those features and empower people with the freedom to look beautiful on their own terms.
Domains to adopt AI beautification
Skincare is the leading category in the global cosmetic market, accounting for 36% and it’s forecasted to remain the most profitable one. With the real-time skin type, age and gender detection, brands selling skincare products can make a personalized product recommendation and show the expected results applied to customers.
Cosmetic brands like L'Oreal, Covergirl, Sephora and others have already introduced AR to their customers. Virtual try-ons as “Sephora Virtual Artist” or “Virtual Makeover Tool” allows customers to try on makeup and test different looks to find their perfect one. A gimmick now, such virtual try-on assistants may be taken for granted in future.
Brands selling glasses, jewelry, accessories, or headwear, are also expected to introduce more virtual try-on tools. Powered by AI beautification, such tools will not only visualize the product itself but also make customers look good when trying it on and thus, enjoy the process.
- Plastic surgery
The possibility to preview the effect of plastic surgery and cosmetic operations at home is a great way to enhance the surgical and patient experience. Not only can it save both the doctors’ and patients’ time, but also help patients to avoid spontaneous decisions and unneeded operations.
- Smart beauty camera experience
Apart from a stand-alone app, Banuba’s beautification technology is available as a face modification SDK and can be integrated into any camera-based app – both web and mobile.
It comprises a set of algorithms and technologies which allows for more personalized and ‘unobtrusive’ beautification.
- Face-smartphone distance
The technology measures the distance from a face to the smartphone within a millimeter accuracy and adjusts face parameters based on that.
- Hair color, hair type and skin color detection
By detecting the face and recognizes the skin color, the hair color and the type of the hairstyle the technology allows to adjust skin tone per user preferences.
- Ethnicity, gender, and age detection
Detect ethnicity, age, and gender and set beautification parameters accordingly. E.g children will not receive enhancements that make them look adult.
- Video conferencing
Fix the fish-eye effect and distortions of the front camera during a video call. Advise users on the best selfie poses and places taking into account lighting, geo and camera angle. Change the color of the iris, increase and correct eyelashes, apply makeup. Improve the correction of eyebrows shape and color. Improve skin tone.
- Color corrections
Improve the quality of the photo and brighten colors.
AI beautification has lots of potential applications. And it’s not just about beautiful digital images.
Cameras are becoming the central part of the phone – a bridging gap that will connect business and customers allowing for face-to-face interaction even if you are miles away.
With facial recognition, machine learning and beautification algorithms, this interaction becomes enjoyable and personalized.
Want to empower your camera experience with AI beautification? Need a technology or marketing advice or both? See how we apply beautification technology to create camera solutions for businesses.