Who do we love? Ourselves, methinks. The usage of the word "selfie" has increased over 17,000 percent in the last two years, according to the editors of the Oxford Dictionaries. Scrabble considers it a valid word (only 9 points, though).
For years, my idea of taking a selfie was leaving my house without the kids. But now I know better. A selfie is a self-portrait taken with a mobile device. And it's not as easy as it sounds. To get a good one you need arms like a gorilla, remember to shoot from above (unless you like nasal hair photos), and pray for perfect lighting conditions. Sickly green skin, noses as wide as the Grand Canyon... just Google "Taking Better Selfies" and you get 12 million results, so clearly it's not just my problem.
Last week I stumbled across two small, free apps designed for selfie vanity. Both are from Cyberlink, a company known for its photo and video editing software.
The first app, YouCam Perfect, is designed to help you take better selfies. The second app, YouCamMakeUp, lets you add a little glam to the selfie once it's taken. YouCam Perfect starts with the simple mistake of incorrect lighting. By adding a variety of touches from Forest to Gentle, you can pick the lighting that suits the shot. You can remove wine glasses, mother in laws or other unwanted objects from the shot with a simple wand. Clean up a few blemishes or contour your face for a more chiseled look. You get better at it after a few tries but basically all you do is snap yourself, work through the menu's slider bars and apply features. Notice I'm slightly more kempt.
Finally, I bring my selfie into YouCamMakeUp. A little eyeliner and lash, a little lipstick, some teeth whitening, eye-bag remover and a little blush. Yes, I look a little cartoonish but selfie lovers will have a blast.
Could the apps be better? For sure. The two apps have some redundant features and are not well integrated. How does it stand up to other imaging apps? Totally devoted to selfie improvement and ridiculously easy to use. OK, I look a little freaky in their makeup but I look a little freaky without it, too.
To download your own selfie helper:
Robin Raskin is founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations that intersect lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances every aspect of our lives through the eyes of today's digital consumer.