I’m not a regular Instagram poster these days; I found the platform completely drained my sanity in the 10 years I was an active user.
Everyone from celebrities to influencers and even my friends always seemed to have a more glamorous life, more aesthetic surroundings, and frankly better photography skills than I, and in a Zillennial tale as old as time (or at least, the social media boom of the 2010s) I progressively became more and more jaded and self-conscious until I eventually pretty much stopped using the app altogether in 2021.
However, there are more and more ways to circumvent the reality captured in your photos. If we thought FaceApp and filters were bad, hold on to your britches; Canva’s AI tool can completely transform your surroundings for free in just a few clicks.
AIn’t no mountain high enough
My experience with Canva's impressive AI-powered Magic Edit tool started with this video from TikTok user @jinedalessandra, who demonstrated its capabilities by transforming her beachy playsuit into a more business-professional blouse.
I did some more digging and found even more creative ways people were using Canva AI to transform images, and inspiration hit: what if I could finally achieve the aesthetic home backdrop of my dreams without an expensive trip to the furniture store?
After battling Canva's photo editor for a while, I managed to upgrade my bland, old, and slightly discolored sofa into a tidier and more contemporary model, added some digitally rendered foliage impossible for me to murder with my anti-green thumbs, and made a few other tweaks, et voila:
Now, if you give more than a cursory glance, it’s fairly easy to see where the edits are, but that’s mostly due to the image quality and the volume of edits I was making. What you probably didn’t notice is that my shirt in both pictures is AI generated, for example.
So, will I be using this tool regularly, if at all, on my Instagram? Nope.
I’ve come to realize that, for me anyway, the platform feeds into my fears of inequity, and that life is for the living - moments I capture while on adventures, with friends, or feeling self-assured enough to indulge in a rare vanity post are how I’ll express myself online.
Canva's Magic Edit is still an impressively powerful tool, considering it's also free and still in beta, but it's definitely more useful for quick edits on less crowded, higher-quality images.
Regardless, it’s good to know I’ve got the option to transform my dirty laundry into a bonsai the next time I forget to tidy up before taking a selfie.
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Josephine Watson (@JosieWatson) is TechRadar's Managing Editor - Lifestyle. Josephine has previously written on a variety of topics, from pop culture to gaming and even the energy industry, joining TechRadar to support general site management. She is a smart home nerd, as well as an advocate for internet safety and education, and has also made a point of using her position to fight for progression in the treatment of diversity and inclusion, mental health, and neurodiversity in corporate settings. Generally, you'll find her watching Disney movies, playing on her Switch, or showing people pictures of her cats, Mr. Smith and Heady.