Have you tried the photo editing app Pixtr? This new “Photoshop for your phone” might just revolutionize your selfies (and incite controversy in the process, of course).
Unlike other apps that are designed for photo editing, Pixtr is specifically for pictures of people. I first heard about the iPhone app this morning on Birchbox’s blog. Here’s what they had to say about it and the technology it uses:
The app enhances your pics by using facial recognition software to erase wrinkles, fade zits, enhance skin tone, and tweak prominent features like your nose or jawline. It performs the kinds of retouching magic once reserved for Photoshop artists, yet it doesn’t require any technical savvy (all you have to do is select the pic and the app does the rest). Pixtr even takes your gender into consideration, so if you’re a girl you won’t have to worry about ending up with the jawline of Jon Hamm.
I tried Pixtr myself, using a not-terribly-flattering picture of me from a festival I went to this weekend:
As you can see, the pictures aren’t terribly different. It looks like Pixtr mainly adjusts the white balance, shadows, and saturation on photos, making them look slightly better without really changing too much. The acne scar on my cheek is still there, as are my undereye circles (I was camping, y’all), even if my lips are a little pinker and the whites of my eyes a little brighter. I don’t see any difference in the symmetry of my face, although the before and afters taken by Birchbox staffers do seem to show some benefit in that area.
There’s a healthy debate going on about Pixtr in the comments on Birchbox’s Facebook page. Some people seem to think Pixtr is reinforcing “fake” beauty standards and others are saying this is a harmless app, no different than using Instagram to make your selfies look a little prettier. Personally, I don’t think an app like this is anything close to Photoshop and I don’t think Pixtr is going to make “everyone look like Kim K on the front of a magazine!” as one commenter put it.
In a world where selfies are increasingly ubiquitous (as is the marketing around them, like I wrote about a few months ago), it doesn’t surprise me that there’s an app specifically designed to make people’s smartphone photos look more attractive. And I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’m the first to admit I have a vain streak and I’d be happy to use Pixtr to perfect my selfies. Hell, if Pixtr did have an airbrush tool, I’d probably use it; There’s a difference between me, a normal woman, using a simple iPhone app to edit images of myself and national magazines and advertisers enhancing or changing the images that millions of people see each day. I don’t see anything wrong with acting as the architect of your own online image; I’m quite vigilant about the pictures of myself I allow on the internet (and don’t even get me started about the Facebook photos I’m tagged in). And as you can see above, the actual editing Pixtr does is pretty minimal, so I highly doubt it’s going to create a culture of fake, overedited iPhone images.
By the way, Pixtr will also connect to your Facebook account and edit pictures from your albums, so it’s not just limited to photos from your phone.
What do you think about Pixtr? Do you think it’s no big deal or will contribute to our culture’s already unreal beauty standards?
Photos: Pixtr, Carrie Murphy