Instagram Cheetos filter earns recognition for Sunny Hills senior

Senior Ruben Parker promotes his

Senior Ruben Parker promotes his “Chunti” filter on his Instagram story. It has received over 2 million views. Image used with permission from Ruben Parker.

Aaliyah Magana

Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter.

These platforms have become more popular among youth because of word-of-mouth about the latest trends.

Instagram entered the fray Aug. 13 by collaborating with Spark AR Studio, a Facebook-owned designing software used to create the augmented reality (AR) effects via an open-to-anyone beta version.

Since then, more and more users are beginning to take the time to create their own filters to broaden their followers’ effects gallery and boost their follower count.

Celebrities such as Hailey Bieber have used effects such as the “Which Disney Character are you?” that was created by content creator Arno Partissimo and Vanessa Hudgens, who used the “In 2020 I will be …” filter created by Filippo Soccini. Each creator has over 100,000 Instagram followers.

Sunny Hills High School senior Ruben Parker is among those who are latching on to this recent trend of creating AR effects.

Before Instagram released this feature, Parker only had 1,987 followers on his Instagram handle (https://www.instagram.com/rubendparker/) before he started designing and releasing effects for Instagram.

As he was browsing through accounts he follows, he began to wonder why an extra tab existed in between the posts and tagged icons. The idea for the “Chunti” filter came to Parker as he sat and ate Flamin’Hot Cheetos with red fingertips and realized how chunti he is.

“I decided to take my love for social media and mix it with my love for Hot Cheetos,” he said.

“What’s a vibe” is the name of his first filter, which includes the urban dictionary definition that he then screenshot, placed into Photoshop and turned the photo into a portable network graphic (png) and overlapped onto the face asset canvas used in Spark AR Studio.

And then his followers spiked by 1,320 thousand since he completed his first AR effect and made it available to any Instagram follower so long as that person clicks the “effects” tab on his Instagram page.

On Nov. 18, he used the program on his Macbook Pro 2019 and Googled graphics to cut out in Photoshop, then turned it into a png and placed it onto the canvas. By navigating the toolbar and default features of the program, Parker was able to create vivid, high-quality filters with inspiration from his interests.

Parker said he has had an Instagram account since eighth grade but had never taken it seriously and now uses social media such as Twitter and TikTok.

He said that he chose Instagram as his main platform because of its creative option and gets inspiration from things that match his “vibe.”

“I think of a wide following audience as a good opportunity so that when I start a business and sell my product, the followers will already be there to boost my career,” Parker said.

The reason behind the trending filters or effects on the app is because of the variety of looks offered that can make pictures stand out, especially if they’re customizable.

To promote his page, Parker said he decided to add the #instagramfilters that added “Chunti” filter to Instagram’s explore page on Dec. 22.

The effect includes glossy hot Cheetos floating in the background, Chester Cheetah as a face accessory and a Cheetos logo under each eyebrow.

Parker had posted himself using the filter and tagged Chester because of his inspiration from the chip brand, which the owner of the page responded in the comment section with: “you abouta break the internet.”

Out of all nine filters Parker has created, the “Chunti” filter has received over 2 million views or impressions (numbers of times it has been seen or reposted).

Insta-famous and famous YouTuber Louie Castro (AKA “Da Baddest Perra”) used Parker’s “Chunti” filter on his Instagram story on Jan. 6.

Over the course of only a few hours after Castro’s story post using his filter, Parker had posted a video of him frantically dumping a Forever 21 bag of different flavored Cheetos bags on his desk as he got ready to watch the Youtuber’s newest upload on Jan. 7., which again was reposted on his story the same day.

“I gained 12,000 views [on the post] in less than half an hour,” he said. “I’m almost to three thousand followers because of his reposts. He’s powerful.”

Freshman Chloe Lee met Parker in their fifth-period class, where he would show her his ideas for future filters but had only used the filters supported by Snapchat.

“Ruben has always been a trendsetter and has always seen things from a different perspective,” Lee said. “He shows it through his filters — that’s why he gets attention from so many popular influencers.”

She said Parker’s friends and family have always been supportive of his ideas by reposting pictures taken with their filters such as his “Golf” filter. This effect includes the word “Golf” in an animated, colorful and blocky text under both eyes and a smoothening skin effect.

“At first, I was surprised because filters were new to Instagram,” Lee said. “But then, I saw him working on them, and I realized he’s so passionate and creative.”

Senior Evelyn Mcilveen said Instagram’s new effects have become popular because of how unique they are.

“I like to use them for my story but those popular ones where it chooses what Disney character you look like is what I send to my friends,” Mcilveen said.

Meanwhile, as Parker begins to feel more comfortable using Spark AR Studio by hours of practice, he now takes about 20 minutes to create a filter on his MacBook Pro 2019 and waits two to three days for approval by Instagram. He doesn’t plan on stopping with his creations there.

“I plan to grow my social media pages by creating more content as well as collaborating with more influencers in my area,” he said.