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Science Has Proven the Way to Take the Perfect Selfie

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We've probably all taken some time out of our day to stalk Kylie Jenner's Instagram and admire those flawless selfies. Okay fine. I admit, I've definitely taken more than just "some" time out, but hours in a state of awe on how the selfie queen manages to look so perf in every pic. There's got to be more than just finding the right angle because I've tried that, and I still come out looking like a potato. There are actually many other factors that go into capturing the perfect selfie according to Andrej Karpathy, a computer science graduate student at Stanford University and his work on an image-recognizing deep neural network. To determine what it takes to get your selfie on point, Andrej used Convolutional Neural Networks (ConvNets), which are used to recognize things, places and photobombers in our pictures. He threw 5 million images into the network and devised a script that would collect every image tagged with #selfie. He then narrowed the images to 2 million that contained at least one face and assigned a couple of parameters and proportions so that the results were as fair as they could be. The results were binary: good or bad. The network went through each selfie many times and turned on a filter that would allow it to separate a good selfie from a bad one.

So what did ConvNet and Andrej discover? Well, for one, females' selfies were consistently ranked higher than men's.

Other Selfie Dos:
  • Make sure your face takes up ⅓ of the image
  • Cut off your forehead (grrrr...I like embracing my Rihanna-looking forehead)
  • Show off the long locks
  • Slab a filter that fades out and decreases the contrast
  • Oversaturate the face (without looking like a pumpkin of course)
  • Add a border (even though that won't go with my theme! )

Selfie Don'ts:
  • Avoid taking selfies in low lighting. Darker photos were ranked very low by the ConvNet.
  • Don't frame your head too large. Basically, let's not be able to see up your nostrils
  • Steer clear from group shots. You might have to come off as anti-social to your friends when they ask for a group selfie, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

In his research, Andrej also mentions how a good portion of the variability between what makes a decent selfie to a not so decent one, can be explained by the style of the image, not the raw attractiveness of the person. Another plus, the best selfies do not necessarily have to be the ones that show the most skin; therefore, if you want to take a selfie in your onesie, then you totally can.

Andrej decided to take things up a notch and ran the ConvNet on a few famous faces. He saw that the group photos rule of thumb does not apply when you're a celebrity. As expected, because what would #squadgoals be without pictures of T-Swift and friends?
Someone who couldn't get away with breaking selfie rules was Jennifer Lopez, who remained at the bottom of the selfie list because of her bad framing.

If you want to have your selfie approved before you Instagram it, you can actually tweet it to @deepselfie, the Twitter bot Andrej packaged the network into. Just simply include it to your tweet and mention the bot, as you normally would when you tweet someone. It'll look at your selfie and let you know what it thinks. You can also read more about Andrej's work here.

If you're not into science/technology judging your selfie, you do you, honey boo! Regardless, you already know you look fab in every lighting and angle.
(Cambio Col[lab] is a lab for young creators to showcase their passion and develop their voice. Like what you're seeing? Share it to support their effort!)


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