Previewing and Testing Effects

In this tutorial we'll look at the different ways to preview and test projects in Spark AR Studio and the Spark AR Player apps. When you're done testing, follow the link in the extra credit section to get your effect published!

For this tutorial, you’ll need:

If you’re using a Windows machine and plan to test your effect on an iOS device, you’ll also need to install iTunes on your computer.

Getting Started

First open a saved project. You can use our Example Project if you like. Just download it and open the Wings Template. You can easily change how the wings look by editing the settings in the template. It's a nice idea to do this if you plan to publish a unique wings effect at the end of this tutorial!

The Simulator

With your project open, the Spark AR Simulator will help you visualize how your effect will look on a user’s device.

Click the hamburger menu at the bottom of the Simulator to change the device it represents. The Simulator is particularly useful for previewing your effects across different aspect ratios and device orientations.

Simulator showing person wearing blue wings and with device dropdown open and iOS Devices menu selected

You can switch between the front and back camera and rotate your device horizontally to simulate the preview in portrait mode, similar to most phones, and landscape view, similar to an iPad screen.

Horizontal Simulator in landscape mode showing user wearing blue wings

Using real-time simulation

Real-time simulation let’s you change the default Simulator video, so you can use a different camera feed to visualize your effect. You can choose the live camera feed or another default video recording. You can also upload your own test videos using the real-time simulator, which is useful when building a full-body effect.

It's a good idea to keep your own test videos short. Spark AR Studio accepts videos in .webm format.

To select a different Simulator video:

  • In the toolbar click the video icon.
  • Select a Real-Time Simulation video or click + to add your own. To view the effect on yourself select your computer's built-in camera.

Camera menu showing in-built and real-time video options

You can pause the video at any time by clicking the pause button in the toolbar.

Sending your effect to Instagram, Facebook or Messenger

If your effect is configured for a sharing experience you can send it to the Facebook or Instagram camera to see what it looks like. To do this:

  1. In the toolbar, click the Test on device icon
  2. Under Sharing Experience and to the right of either Instagram or Facebook, click Send.

You'll get a notification in Facebook or Instagram, inviting you to try the effect in the camera.

If you're testing an effect configured for a video calling experience, you'll see options to try your effect on the Instagram or Messenger app. To do this:

  1. Start a video call with another person on Messenger or Instagram.
  2. In Spark AR Studio, select the Test on device button in the Toolbar.
  3. Under Video Calling Experience, select Send to the right of Instagram or Messenger.

The effect will auto-apply to all users in your video call.

Link your accounts

Note that to preview your effect in Instagram, first, you need to link your Instagram account with the Facebook account you used to log in to Spark AR Studio. If this is your first time previewing in the app, make sure to link your Instagram account to the Facebook account first.

Using Spark AR Player app

You can also use the Spark AR Player app to mirror your effect and test performance. When you're ready to mirror your effect:

  1. Connect your mobile device to your computer with the cable.
  2. Open the Spark AR Player app on your device.


  1. In Spark AR Studio, in the toolbar, click the Test on Device icon.
  2. Under Sharing Experience, you'll see your connected device listed.
  3. Click Send.

You will now see the effect playing on the device. It's a good idea to test an effect on as many types of device as you can using Spark AR Player before uploading it to Spark Hub.

Learn more about using Spark AR Player, including troubleshooting tips, in this article.

Using the Spark AR Desktop Player app

Finally, you can also use the Spark AR Desktop Player app to preview your effect on your desktop and other external screens. When you're ready to try out your effect:

  1. Go to File.
  2. Select Preview in Spark AR Player for Desktop. If you haven’t downloaded the app before, you’ll be directed to the Spark AR website to do so.

You will now see the effect playing:

 Wings template open in Spark AR Desktop Player

Spark AR Player for Desktop is also very useful for previewing group effects designed to run on video call. You’ll only see this mirroring option from the toolbar when you're using a template or effect that’s already configured for a video calling experience.

Test on device popover with mirroring option selected

Learn more about using Spark AR Desktop Player to preview group effects.


Once you’ve finished previewing and testing your effect, it’s time to upload it to Spark AR Hub and get it published. Learn how to publish your effect.

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