What is the AI Filter Trend on TikTok?

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Artificial intelligence (AI) filters are exploding in popularity on TikTok, allowing users to transform themselves and their surroundings into stunning works of digital art. From anime portraits to augmented reality effects, AI is shaping a new generation of creativity. Read on as we dive deep into the AI trend taking TikTok by storm.

Defining the Rise of AI Filters

So what exactly is the AI filter trend on TikTok? In essence, it involves using artificial intelligence powered filters to apply artistic effects to photos and videos in real-time. Some of the most popular include:

  • AI Portrait – Transforms selfies into artistic portrait paintings

  • AI Anime – Anime-inspired filter that turns users into manga characters

  • Meitu – Creates AI drawing slideshows from photo albums

  • Lensa AI – Generates AI avatars from selfies

These filters use neural networks trained on massive datasets of images to analyze an input photo or video frame-by-frame. The AI then generates a stylized, transformed output that turns everyday photos into stunning works of art.

According to TikTok, the #AIManga hashtag has been viewed over 9.8 billion times, while #FacePainting reached over 6 billion views. The appetite for these transformative filters continues to grow rapidly.

Victoria Petrock, analyst at eMarketer, told The Verge: "Users are flocking to these AI filters because they make it easy for everyday creators to produce flashy content."

Indeed, these filters put professional-level editing tools into the hands of anyone with a smartphone. But what‘s behind their soaring popularity? Let‘s analyze why AI filters are blowing up online.

The Allure and Implications of AI Filters

Unleashing Creativity

Firstly, AI filters unleash artistic creativity in anyone. With just a couple taps, you can transform yourself into a glamorous portrait painting or anime character. These filters make users feel like artists.

They also enable new forms of self-expression. Anime fans can embrace that culture while others experiment with different visual styles. AI filters provide inspiration and empower people creatively.

Next-Level Entertainment

Seeing yourself cartoonified or artistically rendered is novel, surprising, and entertaining. As Petrock notes, the flashy transformations dazzle users.

Sharing the results also makes for engaging social content. In an analysis of over 5,000 TikTok videos using the filters, marketing firm Hypeauditor found the average engagement rate was 18.2%, well above the platform average of 11%.

Cultural Relevance

Trends like anime and cosplay resonate with TikTok‘s core demographics. Anime-inspired filters in particular fit seamlessly with youth culture. They let users virtually costume as manga characters.

The apps also UX designer Dominikus Baur told Wired, "It‘s very much resonating with internet and meme culture." Memes indeed amplify interest in these filters.

Democratizing AI

The technology itself fascinates people. AI filters represent leading edge computer vision AI, but distilled into a fun consumer app anyone can use.

They make advanced neural networks accessible. As media theorist Douglas Rushkoff put it, "These image generators pour AI’s abstraction and pattern-making abilities through a human-centered, creative filter."

Machine Creativity

On a deeper level, AI filters also raise philosophical questions around machine creativity. Computer generated art traces back to the 50s, but these tools represent a new level of autonomous creation.

The filters showcase AI developing its own artistic styles and skills. While debated, some consider this a form of creativity. Rutgers professor Mark Brill sees the AI as "imagining on its own.”

Raising Concerns

However, AI filters also raise concerns around misinformation, bias, objectification, and privacy.

Photos transformed into photorealistic portraits could enable propaganda and scams. The AI Styles pretrain on limited datasets which can perpetuate stereotypes and lack diversity.

Overly sexualized filters promote harmful messaging and objectification of women. Training the algorithms necessitates collecting enormous personal photo datasets which threatens privacy.

There are calls for technology companies to address these issues amidst their AI push. But interest in the filters continues to surge.

Viral AI Filter Examples

Now let‘s look at some viral examples that illustrate the creativity and entertainment value that make these filters so popular.

AI Manga / Anime Filters

The AI Manga filter has been used in a staggering 9.8 million TikTok videos. Like this anime-style drawing:


AI Manga Filter

The AI manages to capture fine details like hair strands, facial features, and background elements to generate manga-like art. Anime aesthetic videos also use Meitu slideshows:


Meitu AI Drawings

These vivid drawings transport users into the stylized world of anime and manga.

According to Meitu, their app which makes AI drawings saw downloads increase 7x after going viral on TikTok. Their CTO says, “We were blown away by how users unleashed their creativity.”

AI Portrait Filters

Portrait painting filters like AI Portrait generate striking artistic renditions from selfies:


AI Portrait example

The AI painting effect has been used in over 3.2 million videos on the platform. These filters let anyone paint a masterpiece – with just a smartphone camera.

Lensa AI drives a similar trend, using AI to transform photos into magic avatar portraits.


Lensa AI avatars

Downloads of Lensa skyrocketed 963% after gaining traction on social media.

Surreal Art

Filters like AI Art leverage neural style transfer to turn photos into surreal paintings.


AI Art Filter

The AI generates unique, dream-like sceneries. This wild creativity made #AIArt go viral with over 5 billion views.

These examples showcase the artistic potential unleashed by AI filters. Their magical transformations explain why millions flock to try the effects for themselves.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using AI Filters

Let‘s run through how you can start using AI filters on TikTok and popular third-party apps:

#1 Download TikTok

First, download TikTok from your device‘s app store (free on iOS and Android). The platform offers a diverse range of AI effects.

#2 Browse Effects and Try Filters

Open TikTok and tap the + button to access Effects. Search through popular ones like "AI Portrait" or "Anime Style".

Tap a filter and point your camera at a subject to see the effect. Try taking photos of people, objects, and sceneries to see the AI‘s transformations.

#3 Share Your Favorites

Once you snap some amazing AI filter videos, post them on TikTok or other social platforms. Hashtag your best creations like #AIArt and #AIManga so others can find them.

#4 Download Additional Apps

For even more filter options, try dedicated apps like Lensa AI and Meitu. Import your photos to generate slideshows, avatars, and other effects.

Many additional AI filters exist across apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook too. Search for top apps to access a huge range of artistic and creative filters.

Maximizing Your AI Filter Results

Here are some pro tips when shooting photos and videos to use with AI filters:

  • Good lighting – Proper exposure impacts the AI‘s processing. Avoid too dark or overblown images.

  • Clear focus – Sharp, well-focused shots work best. Hold your camera steady.

  • Varied framing – Take close-ups, selfies, full body, sceneries. Different compositions inspire the AI.

  • Creative backgrounds – The AI incorporates backgrounds into the art, so get creative!

  • Fun outfits/props – Dress up and use props to take the AI art to the next level.

  • Multiple people – Try filters on groups and see how the AI renders interactions.

  • Make it weird! – Odd angles, faces, and compositions produce the most shareable results.

Get experimental and let the AI surprise you. Saving your best creations also lets you reuse them on multiple platforms.

Why AI Filters Must Be Used Responsibly

While AI filters unlock creativity, their rapid rise also necessitates discussing responsible use.

Privacy Concerns

Training AI filters requires massive datasets of photos. For example, Meta trained one portrait AI on over 3 billion Instagram images scraped without consent.

Lensa gathered facial data from users and also required signing away rights to user images. Critics say TikTok‘s data collection for AI likewise disregards privacy.

"AI is only as good as the data used to train it. Tech firms need to be transparent about their datasets and get clear user consent." – Prof. Fei-Fei Li, Stanford AI Lab

Companies leveraging private data to fuel AI must respect user privacy and consent.

Bias and Representation Issues

The datasets used to train AI filters often lack diversity and contain stereotypes. Meta‘s portrait AI over-indexed on images of white women.

"These filters don‘t work well on people of color because the algorithms have not been trained adequately on diverse faces." – Mutale Nkonde, AI policy advisor

Biased data perpetuates exclusion. Ensuring inclusive, representative datasets is key.

Mental Health Concerns

Overuse of beauty and body altering filters can negatively impact self-image and mental health according to researchers.

"Impossible beauty standards promoted by AI filters social media causes body anxiety and low self-esteem, especially in younger users." – Dr. Sneh Khemka, psychologist

Companies must consider these wellbeing impacts, particularly on impressionable young people.

Deepfake Dangers

As AI image generation grows more advanced, the threat of AI-powered misinformation and scams grows. Realistic deepfakes could be used to spread political misinformation or fake revenge porn.

"Deepfakes lower the bar for exploitation. We need AI detection tools and education around responsible creation." – Henry Ajder, Deeptrace

Safeguards must be enacted to prevent dangerous generative media abuse as the technology evolves.

Tech firms, lawmakers, and users themselves all have a role to play in fostering responsible use of AI filters. Their creative power comes with great responsibility.

The Future Possibilities of AI Filters

While concerns exist, the creativity unlocked by AI filters can‘t be understated. What might the future hold as the technology progresses?

More Realistic and Interactive Effects

As computer vision AI advances, filters will produce near-photorealistic results. AI-generated voices and motions could enable interactive, personalized videos.

Integration Across Platforms

Cross-platform filters that work across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc allow users to get the most viral effects anywhere.

Mainstream Adoption

Leading apps like Instagram building own filters into their cameras makes AI effects ubiquitous. Targeting filters to users‘ taste increases engagement.

Brand Partnerships

Sponsored branded filters let companies cash in on viral AI trends. User-generated content and hashtags market products.

Generative Commerce

Going beyond marketing, AI could enable on-demand product generation. Customizing clothing or accessories to user selfies could revolutionize retail.

Ethical Innovation

Hopefully, with proper oversight and governance, progress continues responsibly. Prioritizing diversity, consent, and positivity guides technology for good.

The future is unknown, but creativity will thrive at the intersection of art and AI.


AI filters represent a revolutionary shift in consumer creativity and visual culture. TikTok has propelled the trend into the mainstream through viral memes and hashtag challenges. These transformative filters allow anyone to reimagine their self-image with a tap, unlocking artistic potential in us all.

While concerns exist around data privacy, representation, and mental health impacts, visual AI continues progressing rapidly thanks to users‘ unquenchable appetite for creativity. Companies like TikTok, Snap, Meta, and stand-alone apps like Lensa and Meitu compete in an arms race to produce the most captivating filters.

Perhaps most incredible is filters showcasing AI developing a sense of imagination and artistic style. The technology still has far to go, but its expressive power hints at a creative future between humans and machines. AI filters reveal both the wonder and potential perils of our information age. Their cultural impact has only just begun.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.