Mirroring to Meta Spark Player for desktop

Previewing in Meta Spark Desktop Player

Meta Spark Desktop Player for Mac and Windows allows you to preview Meta Spark projects on your desktop and other external screens, so you can open multiple effect files on multiple windows.

Meta Spark Desktop player is particularly useful for previewing group effects designed to run on a video call on Messenger or Instagram.

Files you can open

You can open both arproj and .arexport files.

Previewing effects

To preview an effect on Meta Spark Desktop Player:

  1. Download and open Spark Desktop Player. Make sure you’ve enabled permissions for Spark Desktop Player to use the camera on your computer. If the screen is still blank, click the camera icon in Desktop Player to manually enable access.
  2. In the Welcome Window, click Open or Recent Projects to open a project you’ve already previewed in the player.
  3. Select a project from your computer.

The project will then open:

A Meta Spark project showing a Color LUTs effect open in Meta Spark Desktop Player

In Spark Desktop player, you can use the symbols in the toolbar to:

  • Change the video.
  • Pause the video.
  • Restart the effect.
  • Enable grid view (this symbol only visible for video calling-enabled projects).

Simulating touch gestures

You can simulate someone’s touch on the device screen by clicking anywhere in the player. To simulate two fingers rotating or pinching the screen:

  1. On MacOS, hold Option, click and drag.
  2. On Windows, hold Alt, click and drag.

Opening a different project

To open a different project:

  1. Click File.
  2. Select either Open… to open a project from your computer, or Open Recent to open a project you’ve already previewed in Meta Spark Desktop Player.

Previewing effects designed for video calling

If you’re building an effect designed to be used by multiple participants on a video call, you’ll need to test it out in Meta Spark Desktop Player, using grid view. Grid view is only visible when previewing effects configured for a video calling experience.


  1. Open your effect in Meta Spark Studio. (It could be a group effect or any effect configured for a video calling experience).
  2. Select the Test on device icon in the toolbar.
  3. Click Send to the right of Meta Spark Desktop player.

The project will open in Meta Spark Player for Desktop. If the Meta Spark Desktop Player webcam feed is not enabled or you see a black screen, select Real-Time-Simulation video from the dropdown:


  1. Make sure the grid icon is selected in the toolbar.
  2. Use the dropdown to set the number of additional participants in your call. Keep in mind that one participant is already being represented by the Simulator in Meta Spark Studio. This participant is labeled User in Meta Spark Player for Desktop.

Below, we chose to simulate a video calling environment where 3 participants are using a group effect. 2 of the participants are selected in Meta Spark Desktop Player and the final participant, User, is already represented by the Simulator in Meta Spark Studio.

3 participants trying out an effect on a video call

Simulating different call layouts


Use the Platform dropdown to get an idea of how your effect will look depending on the layout of the platform it’s used on. It's best to select between 2 and 4 participants when using this option, as this represents the most common group effet use case.

In the example below, we're previewing what a 3 person group call would look like on Messenger:

In the example below, we're simulating a 3 person call on Instagram:

Current view

Use the Current view dropdown to select which participant you would like to simulate the user’s perspective on a video call.

For example, when Participant 1 is selected from the dropdown, this participant’s video will appear in the self view as it would on a real video call. All other participants will use the peer layer output and have their video feed mirrored.

This option is especially helpful for checking that visual elements, such as text, will render as expected for everyone on the call.

Participant 1 selected as current view option

Leaving and rejoining a call

To simulate a participant leaving the call:

  1. Click the hamburger menu to the right of the participant.
  2. Select End call for participant.

3 participants on a video

To simulate a participant rejoining a call, select Rejoin to the right of the Participant’s number.

2 participants left on a video call

Learn more about testing and debugging group effects.