How to Create Instagram AR Filters: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to make instagram ar filters

If your brand is using Instagram for business, then you are most likely aware that Instagram Stories with AR camera filters are considered as a powerful method to engage with a younger audience.

According to social media studies, 500 million of people use Instagram Stories on a daily basis. What is more, 67% of Instagram consists from users aged between 18 and 29 years.

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These numbers are really impressive!

Although previously, only approved creators had an opportunity to design and publish their own filters, however, now everyone can easily create custom AR camera filters for their Instagram Stories using “Spark AR Studio” tool.

 Wondering how to create Instagram Stories filters for your brand?

In this article you are going to discover what Instagram AR filters are, why they can be useful for your brand and how to create your own Instagram filters.

Let’s get started!

What is an Instagram AR face filter?

Most probably that you have noticed Instagram cool Stories filters, such as the classic puppy ears, neon frames or floating golden orbs. All these are Instagram AR filters.

Augmented reality (AR) filter is a computer-created effect layered over the real-life image a camera displays. In Instagram Stories, an AR filter modifies an image which a front or back phone’s camera shows.

These digital filters are superimposed into people’s faces and move with them as they move.

However, keep in mind that AR camera filters differ from Instagram default filters.

Applying Instagram default filters, you change the quality of your photos in one click what means you don’t need to spend a lot of time on editing your images for Instagram. While AR filters are just interactive elements available in Instagram Stories.

By visiting your brand’s Instagram account and clicking on the face icon, users can easily find your created filters.

Also AR filters created by different people can be discovered in an Instagram Effect Gallery.

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Why your brand should create Instagram AR filters?

While AR filters can be not suitable for all brands, however, they are a great assistance for brands whose target audience is younger individuals.

So, here are 3 key reasons why you need to think about starting to create AR filters.

First of all, these Instagram filters help brands to draw audience’s attention, evoke their interest and, consequently, encourage them to engage with your brand’s content.

Secondly, AR filters are considered as an effective way to boost your brand awareness. If your filter is not promotional, then it will be put in Instagram Effect Gallery where anyone can view it.

What is more, when Instagram users share their Stories using your filter, their followers will be exposed to your brand. In this case, you will be able to reach a wider audience and strengthen your brand’s recognition.

Finally, AR filters are one of today’s cutting edge social media features. Also these filters are still a new and not a lot of brands are applying them yet. Therefore, don’t miss a chance to be ahead of your competitors and try to create your own Instagram AR filter.

Keeping these reasons in mind, let’s dive into the development process of an Instagram AR filter.

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How to create an Instagram AR filter using “Spark AR Studio”?

If you are just starting with visual design and 3D modeling, then Spark AR Studio platform can look overwhelming. However, don’t allow that to discourage you.

What you need is to devote your time and understand how it works.

So, let’s review the steps that you need to follow in order to start creating filters for Instagram Stories.

Step 1. Consider your brand’s audience

The first step that you need to take while creating an Instagram Stories filter is to think about your brand’s target audience and how they will apply your filter.

Most probably you know that a majority of these AR filters are suited for selfies, but some of them have special effects or graphics that are made for other types’ images.

So, you should devote your time and think about who, why and how people can use your AR filter.

Step 2. Come up with a filter that will be usable

Although there are no strict rules how your filter should look like, however, it is very easy to get lost with endless design possibilities. In this case, better have a clear vision of your filter and only then start to visualize it.

Some brands make a huge mistake by inserting their logo into their filters and this actually makes other Instagram users a little bit cautious about applying it as it means that they are promoting a brand.

Therefore, it is advised only to include your brand’s logo on the filter’s thumbnail.

What is more, while thinking about designing your AR filter, try to decide whether it will move, change or track a motion.

All in all, make a filter that Instagram users will want to use over and over again. In this way, your filter needs to be unique and stand out from the crowd.

Step 3. Download AR filters’ creation tool

Once you have thought over your target audience and filter’s design, it is time to get started with Spark AR Studio.

So, first of all, download and install the latest version of Spark AR Studio from the official website into your computer.

Step 4. Learn how Spark AR Studio works

When Spark AR Studio is installed, you will see a screen with various samples. It is advised to review them in order to learn about Spark AR Studio’s features. This will help you while creating your first Instagram Stories’ filter.

Furthermore, you have an opportunity to read guides and watch video tutorials in the Spark AR Studio’s learning center to figure out how this platform works in general and how to start using it.

Step 5. Jump into creation of AR filter

Once you feel that you are ready to get started with Spark AR Studio, you need to decide whether you will use one of filters’ templates or create your own filter from scratch.

Although, templates serve as a great assistance to start building your filter, but creating a fresh project is a better idea in order to make your filter look unique. So, let’s begin to make a filter from scratch by clicking on the “Create a new project” button. After that you will automatically transferred from homepage to development dashboard.

However, before you start creating your first AR filter, you need to get used to Spark AR Studio interface. Below are the main features that you need to know about.

  • Viewpoint. It is the central area where you are able to see and work with a filter you are making. If you choose the “Camera” section on the left-side menu, the blue lines will appear in your Viewpoint which show where the camera is pointing.  What is more, at the top of the Viewpoint there are things called manipulators. They may change position, scale and rotation of your filter’s object.
  • Simulator. It is as a representation of your device, such as mobile phone or tablet, in order to help you to see in real-time how your Instagram AR filter will work on a user.
  • Scene panel. It is the left-hand menu on the top of the screen where you can add visual elements called objects into your AR filter.
  • Assets panel. It is the sidebar menu at the bottom of the screen where you have an opportunity to insert assets to a filter’s project or create assets. In this case, press the “Add Assets” and create assets or insert your own, like audio files, animations, 3D images, materials or textures.
  • Inspector. It is the field on the right side of the screen which allows you to make changes to your AR filter’s objects and assets.

Now as you know all main instruments, it’s time to start creating your AR filter.

So, select a 3D asset for your AR filter from Assets panel or insert your own. Once the asset is uploaded you will be able to see it in the Viewpoint. After that use Scene panel in order to edit how your asset looks, moves and interacts in real world. All edits you will see as a result in your AR filter.

For instance, you may change the color and intensity of ambient lightening, give your 3D object more depth modifying directional light, make your filter available on the front, back camera or both.

Step 6. Export your filter

Congratulations, you have just created your first AR filter for Instagram Stories!

Therefore, now you need to export your filter by choosing the “Export” option from the file’s menu. Then the window will appear showing how much space your created filter will use on different types of operating systems. Also keep in mind that Instagram filters size must be 20MB or smaller.

After that press the “Export” button, select an .arexport type of file and your created filter’s project will be saved to your computer

Step 7. Test your AR filter and publish it on Instagram

The next task is to upload your filter into Spark AR Hub where you will be asked to choose your effect’s destination (in this case, Instagram), its name. Moreover, you will have to select a picture you want to represent your filter on Instagram.

So, you have already uploaded your filter and it is almost ready. However, before you publish your filter on Instagram, you need to test how your filter works in reality.

In this case, in the “Camera preview” section tap the “Show in Instagram” button and you will be able to test the filter on yourself. That’s it!

The last task that you need to do is just to click on the “Submit for Review” button at the bottom of the screen.

However, keep in mind that your filter will not be instantly published on Instagram. Before it becomes available on Instagram, it will go through a review process to make sure that it meets all necessary requirements. This process could take up to one week, in this case, be patient!

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In conclusion, if you think that creating AR filter for Instagram Stories is suitable for your brand, then what you are waiting for?

Start working with Spark AR Studio and bring your creative ideas into life.

Has your brand already created AR filters for Instagram Stories in order to boost its awareness? What are the results? Please share your opinion in the comments below!

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