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Create the perfect selfie with an app used by 100 million Chinese

Meitu Xiuxiu (English name “MeituPic”), is the most popular photo-editing app in China with about 100 million registered users. It is geared mostly towards women and particularly the young and selfie-obsessed. In fact, the Meitu company’s whole strategy is based on selfie-taking products, from smartphones to apps. MeituPic was developed as an easy to use, simplified version of Photoshop, so that anyone can make their selfies look like a flawless work of art with classical proportions. Here are the eight retouching features of MeituPic, explained with examples from art history.

Auto retouch
Leonardo Da Vinci, Mona Lisa, 1517
I beautified the Mona Lisa using “auto face-lift in one fast tap” (according to Meitu), which did wonders for her cracked-canvas complexion. You get several options with different styles of filters, but it doesn’t seem to do much other than brighten and smooth out complexion and slap on different styles of filters.

Vincent Van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889
Using MeituPic’s skin feature, Van Gogh’s skin has been dramatically improved, rendering the unhappy artist fit for a Neutrogena commercial. This section gives you three options: you can “smoother” skin, whiten, and correct skin tone.

Samuel Cooper, Portrait of Oliver Cromwell, 1656
I used the acne function to remove the warts from the face of the Lord Protector who famously proclaimed that he wanted to be depicted exactly the way he looked, “warts and all”. Poor Cromwell is probably turning in his grave right now. This was surprisingly easy to use, with very natural looking results. All you need to do is select the brush size and poke the offending blemish with your fingertip to make it disappear.

Leonardo da Vinci, Ginevra de’ Benci, c. 1474-1478
The auto face slimming function worked impressively well with this portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, who now has the “guazilian” (V-shaped face) revered by Chinese people. The auto feature worked perfectly with this one. It’s probably my lack of skill, but she started frowning and grimacing at me when I tried the manual option.

Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, 1484–1486
Not that the goddess of love and beauty at the moment of her birth needs it or anything, but I used the “taller” function to make Venus’ legs longer here. This is super easy to use. All you need to do is drag the blue sliders to select the leg area, then use the main slider to make the legs longer. All it does is stretch that part of the image, but with surprisingly little distortion in the background.

Eye Enlarger
Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893-1910
I enlarged the eyes of the figure in Munch’s painting of existential angst to give him that oh-so-desirable wide-eyed look. This is an easy to use feature (it’s one-click and go, with the auto option), but I found that the more I tried to enlarge, the blurrier his eyes got.

Dark Circle
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Young Sick Bacchus, 1593-4
Caravaggio, known for his dramatic lighting technique and portrayal of subjects with very human flaws, painted this picture of an ill-looking young Bacchus, perhaps recovering from a night of wine and debauchery. I decided to fix him up with Meitu’s dark circle remover. All this feature does is fade out the area that you select, which didn’t work that well on young Bacchus.

Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1801
This piece of brilliant propaganda depicts Napoleon with perfectly windblown hair and chiseled features, dazzling the viewer with his intense stare. I tried to put an even more seductive spark into Napoleon’s eyes, which the auto tool did quite satisfactorily, though it only became noticeable after a few repeats. Oh my, can that man ride a horse. 

(with inspiration from Joshua Linder, Beijing filmmaker)

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