Facial Sea Anemon Alien Look — Instagram Filter Review

Published on May 3, 2019 | Filter name: "Crystal Tentacles"

Filter creator: omega.c

Today I've tried out "Crystal Tentacles" Instagram face filter by Ωmega. This filter is quite similar to other of his filters where 3D models are animated, I assume programmatically with bones animation, based on the head rotation, but I'm not sure. The filter puts several crystal tentacles on our face and those are animated to the opposite side of which you rotate your head. It kinds of a similar thing that happens to the hair once we are in the water. Like there is traction between the flexible object and the surrounding material.

This animated face filter therefore looks and feels very organic some different sea anemones that look like a flower, but they are actually marine animals. Here however you don't get to question who's that weird looking thing underneath those beautiful-looking tentacles.

Crystal tentacles Instagram filter

The other great thing about this filter is that it produces smooth gradual animations. It does make it look more organic of course and it also fits the speed that we usually rotate our head when exploring different filters. However, when I moved my head very fast, it behaved a bit different and it looked stiffer. Try moving your head slowly and you can see that the speed of which the tentacles move back is quite slow compared to if you move your head fast from left to right and vice versa. I expect the tentacles to move quite a lot after that intensive head shake, but it wasn't the case.

Of course, it doesn't mean that a filter needs to obey Earth's physics nor to simulate specific materials for that matter. However, I think that there is some sort of a connection when we use real-world physics-based simulations controlled by us and the way we are immersed by the experience. The thing is that we can assimilate with certain object and materials behaviors in a way that it brings us to the point where the virtual can look and even feel real to us. I wanted those tentacles to feel like part of my body but both the animation and the non-seamless connection with the face skin kind of impair that experience.

The reflections that look real based on the user face texture did help though. That being said, this is by far one of the most convincing and responsive organic-looking animations that I've tried to date as an Instagram filter.  I've seen other similar filters done by the same developer, @omega.c (Instagram) and they were not less impressive than this.

Two women with crystal tentacles Instagram filter

This filter can turn you into an alien-looking lifeform in a way. Just imagine many of the sci-fi or fantasy films that you watched over the years. You probably will remember many human-alien characters and what makes them different is the body parts that us humans don't have. For example, Mantis from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy which has those two tentacles over her head and dark large eyes. It doesn't take a lot for us to perceive her as an alien humanoid, because she looks different than us.

Users can tap on the screen to circulate between 5 different shading options. I personally love the transparent/glossy one the most as it blends better with the face but the glowy pink one also looks amazing. in my opinion. I also like how when I move the head continuously, the tentacles continue to bend over until I stop the head from moving and then the tentacles are animated towards looking straight.

Speaking of which, there is another filter by the same developer called "Crystal Spikes", which uses the same core design idea, but at in that filter, they expand and retract rather than animated from side to side.

The thins is that I haven't seen a lot of Instagram face effects that make good use of this fine head-posture-based animation. Maybe because this is done by code and it's harder to pull off, but again, I am not aware of the way of how the developer of this Instagram filter made it.

One last thing. This filter is among those IG filters that look great in videos. You can still produce some neat looking pictures using it, but it really shines when you film yourself while moving your head and others, who might not know anything about this filter, see the full effect in the video as you move your head. 

Overall, one of the more impressive Instagram face filters out there. This filter doesn't blow you with lots of colors, shapes or crazy animations—it impresses with its simple and elegant organic looking physics and style. I can't way to spend more time with Omega's other augmented reality IG filters.

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