Voilá AI Artist: what you need to know about the latest viral selfie app

After more than one year of online life, you would be forgiven if the line between reality and digital life started to get blurry. And the latest viral face swap app, Voilá AI Artist, doesn’t help by turning all your friends and relatives into Pixar style animated characters, Renaissance paintings and 2D cartoons. If you haven’t already been blown away by the app, here’s what it does and why you should be careful By using it.

What Voila does

Voila is a photo manipulation app for ios and Android which takes a photo of your face and, using some AI magic, turns your photo into something that looks a bit like a cartoon character. The app has four main modes: 3D cartoon (i.e. Pixar / Disney style), Renaissance painting, 2D cartoons (still pretty Disney-ified), and caricatures.

It is more or less that ! Unlike similar apps like FaceApp, there aren’t a lot of advanced editing features or tools. Once the filter is applied, you can choose from three different variations – for example, under Renaissance you can choose between 15th, 18th, or 20th century options – but you cannot change features like mouth or hair , or play with basic image editing tools like color or contrast.

You can choose to upload photos you’ve already taken or use your phone’s camera to take a new one. The app even offers a celebrity image search, so if you’ve ever wanted to see what Tommy Wiseau would look like as a Disney Princess, now is your chance.

Voila has become very popular in the last few weeks alone; According to data from application analytics firm Sensor Tower, it has grown from nearly 300,000 installations on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store worldwide in April to nearly 8 million already in June. More than half of all installations came from Brazil, although Sensor Tower says around 2.3 million came from the United States.

How much does it cost (and for what)

Once you start using Voilá, it won’t be long before you discover one of the many ways the app makes money. For starters, you can expect to see a full screen ad or two after almost every image upload. However, you can remove the ads by subscribing to the app. Yes it is a subscription, not a purchase. There is no way to buy the app once.

In exchange for a Voilá Pro subscription, not only will the ads be removed, but the application will use “Turbo Processing”, although it is not clear how much faster the application would be; In my testing experience, the ads took longer to pass than the processing itself and remove the watermarks from the images.

Voilá Pro costs up to $ 2 per week on Android or $ 3 per week on iOS (yes, the iOS version is more expensive across the board). If you pay for the whole year, Android users can get the app for $ 21 and iOS can get a year for $ 30. It’s worth pointing out here that paying weekly for a year can cost over $ 100 on both platforms, so if you plan to use the pro version for a long time, it’s not a good idea to ‘use weekly payments.

To be clear, here it is Is provide the features it promises – if you want cartoonish images of yourself, you’ll get them – but many other similar apps do that too. ToonMe, for example, has taken to the internet doing a very similar thing only a few months ago. If you’ve already forgotten ToonMe (or never heard of it to begin with) you probably don’t need a one-year Voilá subscription, so make sure you don’t accidentally sign up for a payment. recurring which will quietly deplete your Account.

How virus apps can (potentially) harm your privacy

Canceling a paid subscription to a viral app (or better yet, don’t subscribe in the first place) is the easy part. What’s more difficult is keeping your data private when you download the new hot meme app that’s circulating. Like with many other applications of its kind, Voilá gets permission to transfer and store your footage – necessary if you want to use the app – which the company says it removes after 24-48 hours, but there’s no way to confirm if that’s happening. actually produced.

The app also uses your data for targeted advertising, which is unfortunately quite common. However, aside from the normal data privacy issues that we all expect, it’s important to know how virus apps can be used as data collection schemes. the Cambridge Analytica scandal 2018, for example, started with a Facebook app that paid users to answer a few questions, but then collected more data than it revealed about users’ friends and family. same data collection via specific face modification apps is common.

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