If you love taking selfies, but do not know how to take the best shot, there is help at hand. Computer scientists have developed a smartphone app that helps people learn the art of taking a cellphone self-portrait.
Inside the app is an algorithm that directs the user where to position the camera allowing them to take the best shot possible.
"Selfie's have increasingly become a normal way for people to express themselves and their experiences, only not all selfies are created equal," said Dan Vogel, Professor of Computer Science at University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.
"Unlike other apps that enhance a photo after you take it, this system gives direction, meaning the user is actually learning why their photo will be better," Vogel said.
In developing the algorithm, Vogel and Qifan Li, a former student at Waterloo, bought 3D digital scans of "average" looking people.
They took hundreds of "virtual selfies" by writing code to control a virtual smartphone camera and computer-generated lighting which allowed them to explore different composition principles, including lighting direction, face position and face size.
Using an online crowdsourcing service, the researchers had thousands of people vote on which of the virtual selfie photos they felt were best, and then mathematically modelled the patterns of votes to develop an algorithm that can guide people to take the best selfie.
They later had real people take selfies with a standard camera app, and an app powered by the algorithm.
Based on more online ratings, they found a 26 per cent improvement in selfies taken with Waterloo's app.
The researchers presented the work at the 2017 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems in Edinburgh, Scotland.
"This is just the beginning of what is possible," Vogel said.
"We can expand the variables to include variables aspects such as hairstyle, types of smile or even the outfit you wear. When it comes to teaching people to take better selfies, the sky's the limit," Vogel added.
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