Some of the best fun you can have these days is right on your smartphone. I’ll be looking at some of my favorite apps this year.
And what better place to start than all-in-one ‘baby photoshop’ FotoRus. It may not look very assuming, with its array of stickers and stars and effects, but this is dress-up dolly for grown-ups – featuring yourself.
Not only will the app smooth your features, as though you were a politician on a magazine cover, it will make you up, add false eyelashes, and generally swipe the years away like a rejected Tinder profile.
If the app needs one extra trick its a ‘hair combing’ extension.
But that’s not all. It can also make you smile more, slim your nose, whiten your teeth, straighten your nose, make your eyes larger, and make them brighter. And get rid of your spots.
Holy Plastic Surgeon Batman!
The only trouble is that once you’ve looked at the new, “surgically” improved you, returning to your own real headshot is a bit of a let-down.
Never mind. Wrinkles give you character (so I’m told).
OK, so here we go. For this feature I bravely snapped a selfie of myself in the office under the harsh strip lighting. It’s quarter to three pm and I am not the type to ‘touch up’ my make-up. Here we go (blench):
But enter your photo into the lowest setting of auto-smooth, and it “fixes” you – although it doesn’t seem to appreciate any darkness in the skin, and I have gone scary white.
So far so good – I look like myself, but just a smidgeon better. Note the white skin, reduced wrinkles and bright eyes that look like I have no kids and no Lapsang Souchong black tea habit. Now I can up the ante a little – my nose is slightly thinner, and my smile is bigger. Yes, you can push up your own smile!
I learned from this app that smiling broadly is always a good idea.
So is more “beauty” better? Actually, I don’t think so. The app has multiple settings for “beauty” fix, but as you push up the fix level, your photo gets progressively blander, paler and smoother until almost no features remain. My wrinkles have almost disappeared at level three, but so has my personality – and I appear to be made of plastic.But fixing your face is not all this app can do. You can hop away from whitening your teeth and brightening your eyes to having FotoRUs put on the “full face of make-up” you never wear yourself. The pre-set looks are all “Aunt Sally” level of horror. Prepare yourselves for this nightmare….
So now the prettify effect is turning ugly. One flaw in this application is that, if you select ‘make up’, you HAVE to see yourself with the over-made-up- default setting first. But then you can reset make-up to “none” and add, individually, effects like eyelashes, blusher, “glitter”, eyeliner etc – and, with a slider, push it up and down. The only flaw here is that you can’t get the skin color back to your normal look – it’s always over-pale – nor can it do anything about your hair.
Playing around with a “look” this might be how I’d prettify myself up.
However, at the end of the day you are faced with the decision – do I share a selfie that is more attractive than I normally am – when people in real life will only ever meet the real you?
In my twenties I once encountered a skinny, flat-chested girl in a Dublin nightclub, normal-to-fine looking but not that stunning, who looked “a bit like Christy Turlington”. Then somebody told me it was Christy Turlington. Photoshop is an amazing thing – but ultimately, it’s always back to the real you (below).