Piku Piku review: Bring selfies to life as short animated GIFs with live filters

piku piku ios icon
At a Glance
  • Americos Piku Piku 1.1

    Macworld Rating

    Piku Piku records quick selfie GIFs or short videos with a wide range of live filters using the front or rear iPhone camera in portrait or landscape modes.

piku piku gif record

Piku Piku creates short repeating animated GIF files with live filters, right from your iPhone.

Selfie camera apps are a dime a dozen these days, but most are limited to shooting and sharing still images, rather than video. If you prefer to send fun, short messages using motion instead, there’s an app that makes it drop-dead simple.

Selfies in motion

With a name presumably cribbed from the Japanese anime sound effect for blinking, Piku Piku is a free iPhone camera app designed for creating short repeating videos to share with friends and family. Recordings are limited to just two seconds, but that’s plenty of time to make silly faces or mug for the camera.

In addition to the default video mode, Piku Piku can also create animated GIF files, which take a few extra seconds to process once captured. In either mode, files are saved to your Camera Roll, as well as in a dedicated album so they’re easy to find in the future. Everything is fast and automatic, with no quality or compression settings to fiddle with.

piku piku timer mode

Never again miss out on the perfect selfie video, thanks to Piku Piku’s built-in timer mode.

piku piku in app purchases

Additional live filter packages are available via in-app purchase, including a reasonable “unlock everything” option for $5.

Third-party cameras are rarely as convenient as Apple’s native app, accessible with a swipe up from the lock screen. Piku Piku makes selfies as easy as possible, thanks to Selfie or Camera mode buttons available via 3D Touch Quick Actions and/or Notification Center widget.

Live filters

If plain video selfies aren’t exciting enough, Piku Piku also includes live filters that can be applied to recordings in real-time. After launching the app, swipe left or right to cycle through all of the available filters, which are ready to use immediately.

Although the app is free, the majority of the filters must be purchased in packs of seven ranging from $1 to $4 each. There’s also an economical “Unlock Everything” offer which includes all past, present, and future packs for a one-time $5 in-app purchase. Most filters apply shades of color rather than stylized Instagram looks, but there are a handful of specialized, MTV-style options like Comic, Pixel Art, and Sketchy.

Piku Piku can be used in portrait or landscape mode with either camera, and thoughtfully includes a front-screen flash as well as handy built-in timer. It could really benefit from a better way to browse filters, rather than have to swipe through 30+ options in search of the right one.

Bottom line

The current crop of live filters doesn’t add much overall value to the app, but Piku Piku is otherwise a fun, free way to make goofy animated GIFs to share with friends.

This story, "Piku Piku review: Bring selfies to life as short animated GIFs with live filters" was originally published by Macworld.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Piku Piku records quick selfie GIFs or short videos with a wide range of live filters using the front or rear iPhone camera in portrait or landscape modes.

    Pros

    • Create looping selfie videos with live filters
    • Front-screen flash, built-in timer mode
    • 3D Touch Quick Action, Notification Center shortcuts

    Cons

    • Swiping through filters is a bit tedious
    • Most filters aren’t very stylized
    • No customization or settings