This weekend, all of your friends changed into Pixar-inspired animation characters one by one. This isn’t a nightmare, and you’re not by yourself.
Snapchat released a Cartoon 3D Style Lens on Thursday that employs augmented reality to transform you into a “Frozen” backdrop character. The Cartoon 3D lens has been seen over 1.7 billion times on Snapchat, with over 215 million users engaging with it. People are flocking to TikTok to share videos of themselves as disney princess filter, despite the fact that TikTok’s own AR cartoon effects aren’t quite as convincing as Snapchat’s.
This isn’t the first time an AR craze inspired by disney princess filter has gone viral. Snapchat received 28.5 million new instals in August 2020, its highest monthly month since May-2019, when it received 41.2 million new instals. It’s possible that the release of the Cartoon Face lens by Snapchat in early August 2020, which users recognised could be used to “Disneyfy” their pets, was no accident – the hashtag #disneydog released 40.9 million views across platforms on TikTok. Then, in December, Snapchat hit viral gold again with the release of the Cartoon lens, which released more realistic results for human faces than the previous edition.
According to Sensor Tower, Snapchat’s global instals increased month over month for the remainder of 2020, with the exception of December, when instals fell marginally. Despite this, Snapchat received 36 million downloads in that month. Snapchat is now ranked No. 6 on the App Store’s free apps lists, compared to TikTok’s No. 2 spot, after the latest Cartoon Style 3D lens became viral again. Despite this, Snapchat had 32 million downloads in May, down from 34 million in April, and TikTok had 80.3 million instals, up from 59.3 million in April.
However, there’s a new app in the top spot that contributed to the weekend’s cartoon eruption. Voilà AI Artist, which was released in March disney princess filter, is yet another platform that transforms us into cartoon versions of ourselves. Unlike Snapchat or TikTok’s AR-powered effects, Voilà is a picture editor. Users upload a selfie, and it reveals what you’d look like as a cartoon after seeing an ad (the ad-free versions costs $3 per week).
In March 2021, Voilà AI Artist has only 400 downloads worldwide. The app had topped 1 million downloads by May, and it had been downloaded more than 10.5-millions times in the first 2 weeks of this month alone.
Apps like Voilà, like the endless versions of the ” disney princess filter ” craze, aren’t new. In 2019, the FaceApp app went viral, showing people how they’ll appear when they’re elderly, greying, and wrinkled. The app sparked a privacy debate after it uploaded users’ photographs to the cloud in order to utilise AI to edit their selfies. For “performance and traffic reasons,” FaceApp says it “may retain updated photos in the cloud,” but “most images” are destroyed “after 48 hours.” Nonetheless, the unclear terminology raised red flags, prompting us to consider the potentially dangerous consequences of seeing what we will look like in 60 years. FaceApp had released a “hotness” filter two years prior, which made users’ complexion lighter — FaceApp has issued an apology for its racist AI. Wemagine owns the company Voilà. In Canada, AI LLP has also been chastised for its Eurocentrism. As these apps become more popular, they have the potential to reinforce some of our society’s most destructive biases.
Voilà, like FaceApp, requires an internet connection to use. Users also offer the company a “non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable licence to host, store, use in any form, reproduce, alter, adapt, edit, publish, and distribute Uploaded and Generated content,” according to the terms. That is to say, if you post an image to the platform, Voilà has permission to use it, but they do not own it. This isn’t unusual for these apps; for example, when we post photos to Instagram, we also grant the platform permission to use them.
It’s no surprise that Snapchat re-upped its Pixar-inspired AR lens as Voilà ascended to the top of the App Store. Facebook’s Spark AR platform is getting new features, and Apple revealed a substantial update to RealityKit, its augmented reality software, at WWDC last week. These tendencies, however, reflect more about our growing familiarity with face-altering augmented reality than they do about our disney princess filter nostalgia.
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