Instagram has become a hub for businesses to thrive in the digital landscape. As a photo-sharing app, Instagram has allowed different ways to engage creatively with its users through visual effects, such as stickers, swipe-up functionality, and filters. Brands can leverage more content in the app by using these features to their advantage.
Instagram featured several preset filters to enhance photos without needing another editing app. These filters debuted around the same time Stories was launched on the app in 2016.
Meanwhile, Augmented Reality filters were launched two years later, following in the footsteps of Snapchat Lenses. The AR filters can now be enjoyed by Instagram’s billion active users.
What Is An Instagram AR Filter?
Augmented Reality (AR) filters are computer-generated effects that you can combine with real-life photos or videos. These features are available on Instagram Stories and Reels, allowing users to mix and match layers of visual effects when using the app to take standard images.
AR filters have interactive elements that can only be posted on your stories and reels, whereas preset filters elevate your photos and videos for your posts.
Here are some examples of AR filters that have been very popular:
The Color Adjustment Filter: This AR filter can change the colors of the camera feed in real-time. This allows brands to create custom color schemes for their filters that match their brand visuals.
The Beautifying Face Filter: This filter offers various virtual AR makeup options, from virtual eyelashes and eyeshadows to blushers, lipstick, and face whitening and smoothening. It’s especially popular with cosmetic brands looking to personalize and introduce new products.
The Quiz Filter: This is another type of AR filter that can provide an interactive experience for your audience. Brands can use this filter to introduce their campaign with fun trivia.
The Real-World Filter: This filter allows users to place virtual 3D objects in the real world, making them appear as if they are part of the real world.
PlayStation Instagram Story Filter: This filter allowed users to pretend to have a PS5 before its launch. Sony wasn’t responsible for the story filter, but free promotion still helped increase the demand for the PS5.
Why Make An Instagram Filter?
An Instagram AR filter is a creative way to produce content when you want to increase brand awareness. Instagram is filled with users who love taking unique and fun photos, and AR filters are a great feature you can use to interact with your audience and expand your reach.
AR filters can help show off your brand’s personality. If you are trying to reach a younger demographic, creating a personalized filter can help the audience get to know you and set you apart from other brands active online.
For example, you can convince your audience to participate in a social media challenge by asking them to post a story using your brand’s AR filter. You can also connect with your audience using custom AR filters to support a cause or take part in a trend.
Users can share your posted AR filters on Instagram Stories or Reels by pressing the “Save effect” or the “Try it” button, creating more exposure for your brand. Making AR filters may sound complex, but it is possible to customize images in the app through editing tools like Spark AR.
How To Make An Instagram Filter Using Spark AR
Spark AR is an app that allows you to edit AR on Facebook and Instagram. It started on Facebook and could only be used by approved creators of a closed beta program, which made AR filters exclusive to a handful of brands.
By 2019, Facebook’s Spark AR Studio opened its doors to all brands wanting to take part in the filter craze. AR filters have become one of the strongest marketing tools for brands on Instagram, with over 1 billion users using the filter effects.
With this step-by-step guide, you can use Spark AR Studio to make custom filters for your brand:
- Download the Spark AR Studio for your desktop. It’s free and easy to install. It is currently available for Windows 10 (64-bit) and macOS Mojave 10.14 and higher.
- Once installed, you can watch the 5-minute welcome tour video and navigate through the learning center if you want to see more tutorials. The tutorials include how to create face tracking effects, face reference assets, and templates, among others.
- Once you accept the terms and conditions, you will be directed to your canvas or workspace, which is divided into four panels:
- The scene panel, which features basic structure and lighting elements of the objects for your filter,
- The assets panel, which contains all the materials to describe the object in the scene panel,
- The Viewport is your main workspace and where you can edit your AR filters. You can also use the simulator when you want to see what your work will look like as a finished product;
- The inspector panel is where you can edit the color, texture, position, and rotation of your filter.
- Add an object to the Viewport. You can import your own object or use Spark AR Studio’s library. Click on File in the main menu, which can be found on the top left of the platform, then click on Import from AR Library if you want to use Spark AR’s templates.
- A new window will open Choose your 3D Objects from the left-hand menu and click on the Import Free button.
- You will need to sign in on SketchFab to access its library of assets. You may log in using your existing Facebook, Google, or Twitter accounts.
- You have the option to add sound to your filter. You can import clips directly from the AR library.
- Add effects once your object is ready in the Viewport. The effects have features where you can see the object in motion and how it will look side-by-side with real images. To make your objects move, drag and drop them from the Assets panel into the Scene panel, found below the “drag here” menu item.
- You have the option to control and add colors, textures, and animations. You can also enable and disable appearance on front cameras, back cameras, or both in the Inspector panel.
- Preview your finished filter by sending a test file to Facebook and Instagram.
- When you’re confident about publishing your filter, click “upload” on the Spark AR Hub and set up a test post for users to see.
Make sure to review Spark AR’s policies and guidelines as your published AR filters are subject to approval by Facebook, which can take up to ten days. Once your AR filters are approved, they can be exported and available for use on Instagram and through a sharing link.
Spark AR Studio is a tool that can help you personalize your content on Instagram. Once you learn how to use it, you can easily add your custom filters to your Instagram campaigns.
Tips For Making Your Own Instagram Filters
Building your own Instagram filter can be easy or difficult, depending on your level of technical expertise. If you are familiar with editing and graphic design, Spark AR Studio will be easy to navigate. However, an advanced tool like Spark AR Studio can be overwhelming if you are a beginner.
So before starting out your filter-making journey, here are some helpful tips to get you started:
It’s okay to start small. If you’re a beginner, work on a 2D filter project before challenging yourself to use the more elaborate 3D effects. You can use Spark AR Studio’s 2D templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch. Get familiar with the platform before creating your first project.
Think about your audience. Your goal is for your target market to try the filter. Make sure your audience can easily use your filter and associate it with your brand. The filter shouldn’t outshine the user. This will encourage them to use it again. For example, if you are a cosmetics brand, you might want to create AR filters featuring different shades of lipstick or eyeshadows.
Be creative but stick to your identity. Be careful not to oversell your brand when promoting it. Learn how to strike a balance. You can use your brand colors and logo to create a filter, but don’t place too much of your brand name all over the filter.
Go 3D when you’re ready. If you think you can already work with 3D, check out the Spark AR Studio library for preset elements like skulls, geometrical shapes, and anime characters, and start experimenting with your filters.
Instagram AR Filters is one of the best ways for brands to make interactive and engaging content for their target audience. Instagram users love anything fresh and fun, and AR filters can bring that to the table. AR filters can also help you connect with new audiences and stand out from the digital space.
Brands should take advantage of Instagram AR filters because:
- It can help expand reach as these are shareable across multiple platforms
- It can freely create filters in 2D or 3D by downloading Spark AR studio
- It can give your brand a personality to interact with your audience
- It can be a unique marketing tool to maximize