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The future of Instagram face filters is bright, metallic and surreal

Brenda Cardenas, a creator of augmented reality effects, remembers the filter that sparked the recent insanity of Instagram.

"The Beauty3000 filter," she says. "[It] just blow everything up. As suddenly, all our [filter usage] the numbers started to rise.

A phosphorescent mask surrounds the face of anyone using the Beauty3000 filter, giving the impression that they have just come out of the shimmer Annihilation. It's strange, intriguing, and makes everyone look good. It is not manufactured by Instagram, but rather by a group of designers whose offbeat tastes change the aesthetics of face filters.

Beauty3000 comes from Johanna Jaskowska, a designer who participates in an Instagram beta program that allows users to create custom face filters and distribute them to their subscribers. Instagram announced the program last May and extended the closed beta in October, but the effects seem to have occurred only recently.

Influencers posed with them in Stories, like the model Teddy Quinlivan and the musicians iLoveMakonnen and Rosalía. The creators of filters say that their numbers are growing because of that. Snapchat's puppy filter may have started the trend of face filters and become a meme in itself, but Instagram's creators are now moving the filter design forward with a less stylish look and a futuristic childish vibe. , often covered with gloss.

Most of these filters do not perpetuate Kardashian beauty standards, such as contoured faces and neat eyebrows. Instead, they are more experimental. A filter creates a halo made from gilded metal hot dogs. Another blocks a person's face with crystal hands. @Exitsimulation, the creator, creates shimmering masks of a user's face that revolve around his real face. The usual atmosphere is not accidental: creators talk to each other in a Facebook group to share their future ideas and comments or advice.

Mate Steinforth, which makes more cyborg filters, avoids creating traditionally-styled filters like bunny ears and shiny faces. "I'm not particularly interested in making Instagram influencers look better," he says.

Instagram has a unique way to unlock new filters: you have to follow their creator. If you want to access Beauty3000, for example, you must follow Jaskowska's account, @johwska, before it appears on your built-in Instagram camera. For each use, the name of the filter and its creator are listed at the top. Instagram does not pay the creators to make these masks, but the viral nature of their spread means that designers who work hard can see their progression grow exponentially.

Cardenas says she has gone from 120 followers to 25,000 in about a month and a half. Another creator, Tomas Posse or @tokyyto, had 1,000 subscribers when he started posting filters in December. After his filters were displayed around the application on different accounts, he joined 162,000 subscribers.

Posse does not attribute its growth to a particular influencer, although the musician Rosalía, which has over a million fans, used a filter of her name Woop on behalf of her makeup stylist. Woop, which combines several effects, including the one illustrated above, is one of its most popular filters, the other being TK2, which offers a glow of a purple color to the colors of the Beauty3000. Posse says "a lot" of people started asking with his filters, which caused other people to want to try them too.

The filter manufacturers still do not know what works best on the platform and what kind of effect will become the next Beauty3000. Facebook authoring software to create these effects, Spark AR Studio, also includes pointers to get people started. Do not let people completely unrecognizable for themselves, suggests the company. Allow recognizable parts of an environment to stay in the frame. Remember to add support for multiple faces. All best practices are suggested in the name of making photos and videos "more shareable".

Steinforth thinks there is no constant for this type of filter that becomes viral. "I do not think there is a recipe for making a filter that works," he says. "It's totally random."

All the creators that I spoke to noted that Europeans, and especially Russians, seemed to pose with more effect than Americans. None of them could understand why, and Instagram did not comment on why the Russians apparently prefer to use filters more than others.

"We just need influencers who use them in the US, and it's going to explode," says Posse. "It's a trend, from my point of view, it will go around the world."

The solution for the effects of Instagram is still messy for users I am only a few creators, and yet I am already lost in the effects of my camera trying to find one to use. In addition, following more creators adds more and more posts to your feed. It's good for Instagram because it means more content for people to come back; and it's good for creators, who have an integrated audience for all the work they produce. They can also position themselves with brands as having a large audience. Steinforth and Cardenas both mentioned the potential for creating filters for brands.

Instagram has had a lot to do to catch up with Snapchat's facial lenses, which users have been able to create since Snap's lens studio since December 2017. Snap says there are more than 100,000 custom lenses floating around, and the creators say that it is not that simple. by checking a box to make their filters accessible on both Snapchat and Instagram. But given the fact that Instagram Stories has 400 million daily users compared to the 186 million daily users of Snapchat, it makes sense that the focus should be on Instagram.

Years after the launch, Snapchat's goals allow users to play games with their selfies, improve their looks and even shop around. The future of Instagram filters is still getting ready, but the first step to winning the filter market is clear: capture the creators.

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