Tiktok : How the controversial “bold glamour” filter used by millions of people works

This fashionable filter can beautify faces, at the risk of causing new complexes. Above all, it does not just apply classic effects but uses artificial intelligence.

Tomorrow we will all be transformed? At least virtually. The appearance of the “Bold Glamour” filter on has impressed users for a few weeks. This tool, which could be translated into French by “daring glamour“, transforms anyone into a “beautified” version, at least if we stick to the standards marked by plastic surgery.

This is not the only filter that has recently fascinated users. For example, “Teenage Look” allows you to display a rejuvenated version of your face.

And unlike traditional filters, which add 3D images to a face, these new filters seem to blend into the face. You just have to pass your hand to realize it: nothing moves, even when stretching the skin.

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Because “Bold Glamour” actually uses artificial intelligence. The filter uses a GAN (or Generative Adversarial Network) which puts in competition two competing networks. In this case, the camera shot on one side and the desired glamour style on the other. And it is this competition that allows to refine the work and to find a kind of satisfactory between them.

Not new but finally accessible

If the GAN is not new, it was until now reserved for specialized software, which is run on a PC. The real achievement is now its accessibility. “TikTok's filter works on a mobile device, accessible by billions of people, with no technical knowledge required, in real time, and often (not always) it seems totally credible,” Memo Akten, a professor at UC San Diego Visual Arts, told The Verge.

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And that changes everything, because filters will become increasingly difficult to detect, including on real-time videos. Beyond the deep fakes that can emerge on the Internet, these filters are also a concern for users who fantasize about a perfect face that they will never have, even with plastic surgery.