How To Use Meitu, The Photo Editing App The Internet Can't Get Enough Of

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Admit it: You've totally wanted to look like Éowyn from Lord of the Rings and/or have peach blossoms floating down your hair at least once in your life. Well, with the new genius selfie-editing app called Meitu, now you can. And if you're wondering exactly how to use Meitu, you've come to the right place, my friend.

Ever since the Chinese app launched back in 2008, Meitu has exploded in popularity around the world. So far, it's available in more than 26 countries and it's been downloaded 1.1 billion times. The app offers airbrushing tools and other visual editing for photos, as well as virtual makeup and stickers. While the app's interface is pretty intuitive and easy to use, there are a lot more options than many other photo editing apps that offer only filters or only stickers.

As a photographer and a huge fan of photo apps like VSCO and Instagram, I was pretty excited to add Meitu to my mobile folder of visual editing apps. Again, Meitu offers tons of alternatives besides just pre-designed filters. At the same time, editing photos manually can take up a lot of time that, quite frankly, many of us don't have during the day. It's nice to have different types of editing alternatives all in one single app like Meitu, depending on the amount of time I have and the different kinds of photos I'm looking to edit.

Worth noting: There have been a few concerns about the amount and type of information Meitu appears to be collecting from its users; however, Meitu said in a statement to CNET that the data collection is due to the app being headquartered in China, where the tracking services that are usually supplied by app stores aren't accessible. "To get around this, Meitu employs a combination of third-party and in-house data tracking systems to make sure the user data tracked is consistent," a Meitu spokesperson told CNET. They added that "the data collected is sent securely, using multilayer encruption to servers equipped with advanced firewall, IDS, and IPS protection to block external attacks." Just something to know before you decide whether or not to download the app.

After playing around with the app, I can say that Meitu definitely takes photo editing to a whole new level. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use Meitu and what the app has to offer:

Download The Meitu App

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Go to the App Store on your smartphone and search for "Meitu." The first app that should show up has a pink icon with the Chinese character "xiu," which means "beautiful" or "elegant." This is Meitu. When you download Meitu and open then open the app on your phone, you'll see that the main page includes all of the photo editing options available, such as "Editing" and "Retouch." The latter has some astonishing options; for instance, you can make figures in the photo appear taller, get rid of acne, and even brighten dark circles (bye, bye, concealer!).

Swipe left and you'll continue to see more options, including "Hand-drawn," "Collage" (where you can combine photos to make a mosaic-like poster) and "Auto Beauty."

Click On "Editing" For Basic Photo Editing Options

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If you're looking to manually touch up a photo, the "Editing" option has a number of features that are relatively standard when it comes to photo editing, such as "auto," "brightness," "contrast," and "sharpen" (similar to what you can do on Instagram).

One of the most intriguing features of Meitu is "Hand-drawn," which lets you add colorful backgrounds and, yes, basically turns you into an anime character. Here's a breakdown of how exactly to use the "Hand-drawn" option to enhance your selfies:

Open "Hand-drawn"

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Again, swipe left on Meitu's main page and click on "Hand-drawn." The first page you'll see will show an example of what you can do to your photos with "Hand-drawn" (plus, it'll boast about how many times this particular feature has been used by Meitu fans). Click the pink button that asks you to "Try now."

Skim Through Meitu's Photo Advice

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Before you can choose a picture for "Hand-drawn," Meitu is kind enough to provide some ideas for how to select the best selfie. For instance, your face should be directly in front of the camera, not on the side.

I will point out that Meitu seems to conform to very narrow standards of beauty. For instance, one of the tips suggests that you need to have long hair in order to make the photo editing app work. Honestly, who cares? Ultimately, pick the selfie that you like the most.

Allow The App To Access Your Camera

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Before editing, you'll have to give permission for Meitu to access your photo album and camera. Once you've done that, you can either take a photo and upload it directly to Meitu or select an existing photo from the album on your phone.

Keep in mind that only photos that feature just one face is allowed (sadly, this means you can't edit group pictures).

Choose Your Desired "Hand-drawn" Filter

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Once you've uploaded a photo, you can now begin applying filters to make your selfie look "hand-drawn!" The photo work station is up top, while a carousel of seven filters are at the bottom. Filters range from "Angelic" to "Fairy Tale" to "Petals." My app in particular notes that "Blossoms" is the most popular filter at the moment, and that "New Year" is a new filter. I'm hoping this means that Meitu will rotate different "hand-drawn" filters through its photo editing system.

Apply The Filter

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I chose the "Mermaid" filter for my selfie. As you can see above, the filter automatically applied blush to my cheeks, got rid of any blemishes or skin imperfections, and added a twinkle to my eyes (do they seem bigger than before, too?). Bubbles float in the background and foreground, giving a "watercolor-like" appearance.

Pick What You Want To Do With The Photo

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The last thing to do in "Hand-drawn" is to decide if you want to share the photo with your friends on a variety of social media, such as Facebook, WeChat, or Instagram, or if you'd like to change the effect and use another filter (the one I'm using for this photo is the "Angelic" filter, in case you were wondering).

Granted, the final result doesn't look remotely anything like what I do in real life. But I guess nobody edits a photo to make it look realistic, right? If the "Hand-drawn" feature is a bit much, you can always go back to applying more subtle changes with the "Editing" option.

And there you have it! Now, you should have all the knowledge and tools you need to tweak all of your selfies like a pro using Meitu. Happy editing!