Facetune maker Lightricks is out today with a new app, Filtertune, designed to create a community around custom photo filters. With the app, creators can make their own personalized preset photos filters, then share them across social media as photos that have a special QR code attached. When others see a filter they like, they can screenshot it to import it back into the Filtertune app for their own use.
While it would be easier to create some sort of in-app system for sharing filters — similar to Instagram’s “Effect Gallery,” for example — Lightricks’ user base isn’t concentrated in one single app.
Instead, it offers an ever-expanding suite of mobile photo and video editing apps, including its flagship Facetune and sequel, Facetune2, as well as Facetune Video, Enlight Quickshot, Photofox, Videoleap, Pixaloop, Boosted, Seen, PosterBoost, Artleap, and Beatleap.
Combined, its collection of apps have seen over 400 million downloads to date, but its active user numbers are much smaller. Lightricks says its collection of apps has 300 million registered users, led by Facetune and Facetune2. Paid subscribers had reached 3 million as of last year.
While these numbers and the apps’ growth helped to turn Lightricks into a unicorn, Instagram offers access to a much larger photo sharing community. That’s why it makes sense for Filtertune to provide tools that allow users to tap into existing social media platforms to share their filters and discover new ones.
In fact, Lightricks says the idea for the app was actually prompted by social media trends where online influencers were posting “How I Edit My Photos,” and offering their own presets for fans to download or purchase.
Filtertune, however, isn’t a marketplace for filters. It’s just a tool for creation, editing and sharing.
Using the app, you can either edit an existing filter or create one of your own from scratch.
The app focuses on realistic photo editing, not using overlays of digital assets to create new styles — like apps that swap out the background, for example, or those that use AR.
When your filter is complete, you tap the sharing button which adds a banner to your photo that reads: “Get this filter,” and offers download instructions along with a QR code. You then save this image to your iPhone Camera Roll, then post it anywhere you want — like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, in an email, in a messaging app, or on your own website.
When others see the shared image, they save it to their own Camera Roll by taking a screenshot.
The next time those users open the Filtertune app, it will scan for new filters by looking for images with a QR code. When it finds them, the new filters will be added to the in-app collection.
Users can then use Filtertune to edit photos with any of the custom filters discovered from across social media.
It is interesting to see how much Filtertune leans on Instagram to drive discovery here. Even the “Discover” button in the app, when tapped, takes you directly to the #filtertune hashtag on Instagram, instead of a dedicated section within its own app where users could find new filters to try.
“Filtertune represents a natural evolution of our growing product experiences, and with it, Lightricks will continue fostering a culture of online community, sharing, and collaboration that is necessary for young artists, creators, and anyone who enjoys social media,” said Zeev Farbman, co-founder and CEO at Lightricks, in a statement about the new app’s launch.
Farbman also noted that Lightricks’ Facetune2 and Quickshot apps have seen a 30% increase and a 35% increase in users in 2020, respectively. The company also told TechCrunch that Ligthtricks, overall, has seen a 45% increase in monthly active users this year.
The new app is a free download on iOS.
Updated 10/27/20 1:30 PM ET to reflect newer user numbers provided by the company.