Instagram Stories is an effective way to engage with a young audience. According to a survey in 2019, 500 million users used Instagram Stories every day and 67% of them were between 18 and 29 years. Interesting and interactive Stories’ features such as Instagram AR filters, polling, and questions help keep the users engaged. Additionally, one-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses.
Instagram Stories started using Augmented Reality(AR) way back in 2017 when it launched its face filters. Spark AR Studio (Facebook-owned platform) allows users to create their own interactive AR filters. That platform was opened to the public in August 2019.
Now, anyone can create custom AR filters for Instagram Stories.
In this post, learn what are Instagram AR filters and how they can help your brand.
What is an Instagram AR filter?
Augmented Reality filters or AR filters are computer-generated special effects layered over the real-life image that your camera displays. These filters alter the image your front or back camera displays in Instagram Stories.
To understand Instagram face filters, consider these examples. The puppy filter superimposes a dog’s ears and nose on top of your image. You will observe that the effects move with you as you move.
Instagram’s “Hello 2020” filter superimposed 2020 glasses onto your face and digital balloons fall down the screen.
Do note, Instagram AR filters are different from their preset filters. Instagram preset filters improve the quality of your photos in a single click and so, you don’t have to spend your time editing photos for Instagram. On the other hand, Instagram AR filters are interactive elements meant only for Instagram Stories.
Why should you create AR filters?
While AR filters might not be the ideal tool for all businesses, it is still a good option for brands trying to reach a younger audience.
Here are some of the ways you can custom AR filters and leverage it for your business.
Connect with your audience: A survey reveals that 60% of businesses use Instagram Stories to incorporate an interactive element to improve monthly engagement rate and custom AR filters are the latest interactive element for Instagram Stories.
Stay ahead of competitors: Though custom AR filters are still a new feature and not used by every business, it is a great way for self-promotion. Additionally, you can use it to create a filter for your brand to show support for social causes.
Increase brand awareness: Incorporate your brand’s logo or mascot into an AR filter. If your filter is not promotional, your logo will be displayed in Instagram’s Effect Gallery where everyone, including your new followers, can find it. So, when your users share selfies using your filter, their followers and potential new followers will get to know about your brand.
Flaunt your brand’s personality: Custom AR filters help reflect your brand’s tone and stay ahead of your competitors.
How to create your own Instagram AR filter?
Follow these steps to create custom filters for Instagram Stories.
1. Download Spark AR Studio
You need to download Spark AR Studio to create custom filters and effects.it is an easy-to-use platform that is currently available for Mac and Windows.
2. Choose the effects
Get a feel of the platform’s interface by walking through the tutorials in the Learning Center. Once you’re ready, you can decide to either create a filter from scratch or choose from the templates provided.
3. Get started
When you open the template, you will see a placeholder object in the central panel known as the Viewport. You can build your filter from the Viewport.
For iPhone 8, there is a Simulator in the corner. You can preview your work here. To change the Simulator from your iPone8 to another device, you can use the dropdown. Next, you will see the Scene panel to the left. Use the options available to edit your Instagram Stories AR filters.
(Image Credit: Hootsuite)
4. Upload a 3D asset
Upload a 3D asset for your filter from the AR library. You may also import your own.
In this example, the asset was imported from the AR library. The library also allows you to choose from free audio files, animations, etc.
(Image Credit: Hootsuite)
5. Edit the uploaded asset
You will see your uploaded asset in the Viewport. Use the Scene panel to edit how it looks, moves, and interacts with the real-world. The edits will result in your custom AR filter. For example, you can consider changing the color and intensity of ambient light.
In this example, the images show the 3D asset with ambient lighting(below) and without the ambient lighting(top).
(Image Credit: Hootsuite)
You can also use the Scene panel on the left to;
Give a 3D object more depth by changing the directional light
Choose if the effect is available for the front or back camera, or both
Modify the animation of the uploaded 3D object
Include more elements like additional animations, textures, and materials to your effect
6. Test the effects
Send your test file to Instagram or Facebook to see how it appears in Instagram Stories or Facebook Stories. You may also download the Spark AR Player app.
Next, press the “upload” button at the bottom left corner, right below the “test on device” button.
Do note, your new effect won’t be published instantly. It will first be reviewed to make sure it meets Spark AR’s policies and guidelines. The process may take a few days or a week.
For more details on newly created effects for approval, check Spark AR’s Learning Center.
8. Familiarize yourself
Familiarize yourself with the platform to quickly learn how to work with its other templates.
If you want to produce interactive content to grab your users’ attention, then you must leverage Instagram AR Filters. AR filter can be applied to both Facebook as well as Instagram giving you access to a large audience meaning more reach for your brand.