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(Pocket-lint) - If you use Facebook and Instagram, chances are you've seen all your friends sharing Pixar-style cartoon selfies. This is all thanks to a new viral app, called Voila AI Artist, which takes less than five minutes to download and make your first animated photos. Here's everything you need to know about the app, including how to use it and whether there are any alternatives available.

What is Voila AI Artist?

Voila is a photo editor app for iOS and Android. It allows you to upload a photo of a face or capture a photo of a face. Then, using some form of artificial intelligence, it turns the photo into something that resembles a cartoon character. Technically, it has four manipulation modes: 3D cartoon, Renaissance painting, 2D cartoons, and caricatures. The 3D cartoon mode is the most popular. 

Once you pick and apply a mode, you can then choose from three different filters available. For instance, under 3D cartoon, you can choose between Royalty 3D, Baby 3D, and Cartoon 3D. A fourth Voila option combines the three filters with your original upload in a collage view. You can’t do any other image editing, including adjust the eyes, mouth, or hair, or play with colour or contrast. 

If you want to test Voila AI Artist on celebrity photos, there's no need to head to Google Search. The app features a celebrity image search, so if you ever wanted to see what Kim Kardashian West would look like as a Disney princess, you can now.

Once you're happy with your photo, you can share it to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and elsewhere. You can also save it to your device.

How to cartoon yourself with Voila AI Artist

  1. Download Voila AI Artist for iPhone or Android.
  2. Launch the app.
    • It will ask for permission to use your phone's camera roll.
  3. Select from the four modes (tap the arrow to begin):
    • 3D Cartoon (recommended - it's the mode going viral)
    • Renaissance
    • 2D Cartoon
    • Caricature
  4. Choose a camera option:
    • Camera (to take a photo)
    • Gallery (upload a photo)
    • Celebrity (search for a celebrity)
  5. Take a photo, upload a photo, or find a photo to use.
  6. Voila will begin the rendering process. Free users will likely see ads at this point.
  7. The result shows four options: A composite grid with the original photo plus the three filtered renderings.
  8. You can then select the photo and click the share button in the corner to save it.
    • Alternatively, you can share it with others through Voila, like to Facebook or Instagram.

Is Voila AI Artist free to use?

Voila AI Artist is free to use on iPhone and Android. However, it's loaded with ads. So, of course, there is a premium ad-free option. Keep in mind, with the free version, you will see lengthy full-screen ads (one or two, usually) after nearly every image upload. The premium tier, Voila Pro, not only removes these ads but also the watermark and even speeds up the rendering process.

On Android, Voila Pro costs $2 per week, $4 per month, or $21 a year. On iOS, it's $3 per week, $6 per month, or $30 per year (as of June 2021). There's a free, three-day trial with that option, too.

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Does Voila AI Artist collect your data?

We scanned the privacy statement. The app's parent company promises to delete your photos 24 to 48 hours after the photo was last used by the app. Voila does collect personally identifying information, such as your phone and your activity online, to share with third-party partners and advertisers in your country (including advertisers that may track your activity across the web).

The app's owner, WeImagine.AI, also discloses your personal information to its sibling companies, affiliates, and subcontractors. 

Are there alternatives to Voila AI Artist?

Read more: How to use Snapchat's cartoon lenses: Morph into a Disney or Pixar character

There are cartoonify-ing apps available, as well as filters in some of your most favourite social media apps, which will help you achieve the same cartoon effect. For instance, Snapchat offers a Cartoon Face lens, Cartoon lens, and a Cartoon 3D Style lens, all of which make you look like a cartoon that resembles a Disney or Pixar character. This first Lens actually went viral last year - but with TikTok and Instagram users, who shared their Snapchat cartoons on those platforms.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Stuart Miles.