Spark AR Studio

My Journey: Creating Instagram Filters using Spark AR Studio

Around a month and a half ago, I’ve decided to start teaching myself how to develop Instagram/Facebook filters using Spark AR Studio, an AR development software created by Facebook.

In that time, I was able to make 48 filters in total. I made face masks, games, camera effects and voice-only filters (e.g. beatbox filter).

I made a little stop to continue researching and learning new technologies. Spark AR motivated me to get started and make a transition from a web developer to mobile development, something I was craving to do for quite some time.

Spark AR Studio makes AR development very easy and accessible. I was already familiar with the Javascript programming language. Getting into Spark AR scripting didn’t take much and I was able to make my first filter in two days only after I started learning it.

My first filter was an augmented reality selfie game that I called ‘BoomBoom!’.

I was still lacking quite a lot of knowledge needed to make it the way I wanted it to be, but still, I was happy that I was able to achieve those results in such a short time nonetheless. Also considering that I don’t have experience in game development and I needed to figure things by myself as I go.

I start making different IG filters in order to be able to learn different aspects of Spark AR filter development. The only way to do so is by making filters that require different features from this platform and try to realize them.

I made other games like ‘Stunt Plane, which required mathematical knowledge, so I had to learn how to do that, learning vectors in the 3d space and other mathematical equations that were necessary to achieve certain mechanics in my augmented reality (AR) games.

I was very happy that I was able to finally achieve the results and enjoyed seeing how mathematics helps realize those ideas and bring them to life on the screen. I told myself, if I can do that, I am able to do anything.

There were still some features that this platform lacks, like creating instances of objects dynamically at runtime, which as of the time of writing, this feature isn’t supported.  This means that I needed to allocate instances of an object ahead of time and positioned it in the scene in order to be able to access it at runtime.

I create a Hijab Try-on Instagram filter that is inspired by some of the footwear AR apps that I tried in the past. I wanted to make something similar, but not with shoes. The result is a super realistic looking Hijab try-on filter with manual size-fitting that feels almost tangible.

I was happy to be able to make a game like ‘Hungry Frog’, which allow players to capture flies in the real world 3d space using a virtual tongue, an extension of their own tongue.

Many people played it enjoyed it.

One of my personal favorite games is ‘Soccer Head’, which allows you to bounce a virtual soccer ball on your head in augmented reality!

I continued to push things forward and created a virtual character, a tree which you can use as a custom. I really liked the end results and I actually made some funny videos with it.

I then continued to do more artistic stuff and lately my focus is on that. I saw that many Spark AR developers are focusing on that and I’ve decided to make my own artistic filters as well. There are still many things I haven’t tried but I want to learn other technologies and later try to combine all that knowledge into a standalone AR app that I will develop using Unity and complementary AR frameworks.

I share all my filters on my Instagram profile WOW! filters. You can check it out and see all the filters I’ve developed and try them yourself.

Overall, I am just getting started and there is a long way to go. Technology s moving faster than ever and I need to continue learning to stay up-to-date with many of the latest technologies and learn how to use them.

It doesn’t mean that I will utilize them all, I just want to know what’s available and then try to realize some of my bigger ideas that are yet to be developed.

What I did until now is just simple apps that allow me to get into AR development. In the near future, I hope that I’ll gain enough knowledge to be able to realize my best ideas and share them with the world.

Still, I will continue making more Instagram filters using Spark AR and Spark AR will continue offering more interesting and useful features in the future to come. Maybe I’ll open an AR dev studio, something that I am considering doing, but I haven’t made up my mind yet.

If you are searching to get into AR development, I highly recommend checking out Spark AR Studio by Facebook, a fantastic dev platform for creating cool AR content that many users can easily try out on Instagram or Facebook.