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article imageFacebook Messenger video chats get animated masks and filters

By James Walker     Jun 26, 2017 in Technology
Facebook has released a new update for Messenger that adds a slew of features around video chats. The company has brought its filters and masks for photos to video content too, drawing more parallels with rival Snapchat.
Facebook said the features are meant to make Messenger "more fun" and engaging. Video chat is being evolved into a new experience that's focused on socialising and entertainment, surpassing its previous focus on pure communication.
You can now apply a variety of different filter effects to Messenger video chats. There's a live preview screen that lets you find the right filter before you start chatting with your friends. A large selection of filters is included, ranging from basic exposure changes through to more striking colour shifts and distortions.
Facebook Messenger video chat effects
Facebook Messenger video chat effects
Facebook
Facebook's also brought Messenger's masks into video chat. You can overlay 3D masks on your face and your surroundings for a touch of novelty. The app uses machine learning to animate each mask, giving them advanced motion tracking to ensure they stay fixed on your face.
A set of new masks has been added to accompany the feature's video launch. There's an expanded line-up of animated effects too, including falling hearts and twinkling stars. You can interact with the effects and wave your hand over the camera to change how they display.
Facebook Messenger video chat effects
Facebook Messenger video chat effects
Facebook
Video chats now support Facebook's Reactions, letting you express an emotion while you're in a call. Pressing one of the five icons at the bottom of the screen (love, laughter, surprise, sadness and anger) will create an animated effect on the chat that everyone in the group will see. It's another attempt to make video calling on Messenger a more social experience for routine use by groups of friends.
"Video chats with your friends and family in Messenger just got a whole lot more fun," said Facebook. "Check out the awesome new features—like animated reactions, filters, masks and effects, and the ability to take screenshots—available for one-on-one and group video chats. You can now share your emotions with a reaction, add a filter to feel like your best self, make someone laugh with a bear mask, and even take pictures of your time together."
Facebook Messenger video chat effects
Facebook Messenger video chat effects
Facebook
It's clear that Facebook is trying to pitch Messenger as an alternative platform to Snapchat. The company's expansion of effects, masks and animations is part of its ongoing battle to convince young users to stay within its ecosystem. By embracing the in-the-moment interactions that Snapchat built its brand on, Facebook intends Messenger to become a more expressive app capable of winning back its former favour with teen users.
Messenger stands alone amongst other video apps in providing rich filters and effects. By adding advanced stylistic options, Facebook can show that Messenger is still a relevant app that's worthy of your attention. The update is available now on Android and iOS devices.
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