Augmented reality experiences are increasingly appearing everywhere, in fact more than a billion people have used AR effects powered by Spark AR. But if you’re just beginning to explore how to make AR effects, it can be a challenge to comb through all the information you might find. To help, we put together the top 10 questions we get from creators and developers who are new to Spark AR, along with some links to resources you might find useful. We hope this helps you get orientated and quickly into the fun stuff: Bringing your augmented reality ideas to life. Let’s dig in.
There are a variety of ways to create AR effects, but if you’re interested in creating effects that people can experience on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll need to use Spark AR Studio.
Spark AR Studio is Facebook’s AR creation software. Anyone can use Spark AR Studio to create simple to complex AR experiences with or without coding experience. You can learn more at SparkAR.com and download Spark AR Studio for free, for your macOS or Windows computer.
From the start, our goal was to make Spark AR Studio the most accessible and powerful AR creation tool any creator, at any skill level, could use to make AR experiences. We’re constantly listening to our community of creators and adding features and enhancements that make Spark AR Studio even easier to use: from libraries where you can find and import 3D objects and audio files, to time-saving shortcuts that auto-create face trackers, materials, textures, and lighting, to visual programming capabilities like our Patch Editor, which helps creators make complex interactive effects without using a single line of code. We think when you combine all of these features together, learning how to use Spark AR Studio for the first time is incredibly manageable. However, if you’d like to learn more before diving into your first AR project, we have a helpful guide that walks through the entire Spark AR Studio interface.
What do you want to create? As the possibilities continue to multiply, we’re working fast to find and share the best practices for creating AR effects, but typically creators are using Spark AR Studio to make two categories of AR effects: 1) People effects, this is any effect that responds to someone’s face, hands or body movements; or 2) World effects, this is any effect that adds virtual objects to real-world places, or otherwise alters their environment. Here are two quick examples of people and world effects:
Today, most people discover and interact with AR effects using their smartphone cameras. People effects typically require someone to use the front-facing or “selfie” camera, while world effects use the back-facing or world-facing camera. Regardless of the type of effect, all Spark AR effects are currently experienced through the Facebook or Instagram apps. We’ll dig into this a bit more in questions #7 and #8.
When you’re ready, you can submit your effect to be published on Facebook or Instagram through Spark AR Hub, a product creators use to publish and manage their effects, and also track engagement. Simply follow our Spark AR Hub tutorial and you’ll be well on your way to sharing your effect with the world. One important thing to note: All submitted effects must follow our community standards and platform policies. Additionally, for Instagram, we have some great tips you can reference to help get your effects approved.
Once your effect is approved, you’ll get a unique link to your effect in Spark AR Hub that you can use to share your effect wherever you like (e.g., on your personal Profile or Facebook Page). When someone clicks on it, it’ll automatically open your effect in the Facebook or Instagram cameras (depending on what type of effect you created). And these aren’t the only ways people can find your effects, especially on Instagram. Here are some additional places where your effects can be found.
Spark AR Hub provides Insights to help you track how your published effects are doing on both Facebook and Instagram. The three metrics we provide across each platform are Impressions, Captures and Shares. Together, these metrics give you more visibility and a better understanding of how people are using your effects.
We love listening and engaging with the Spark AR creator community — we couldn’t have made Spark AR Studio the product it is today without the energy, commitment and know-how of this talented group. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, examples of great work or to simply connect with other creators, the Spark AR Creator Community is a long-standing Facebook group, and an incredible resource for all Spark AR creators. Other resources you may want to consider include this fine place, our Spark AR Blog, as well as the Spark AR newsletter, Facebook Page and Instagram Profile.
It’s an exciting time to be an AR creator, we’ve only just begun to explore what’s possible with this new medium. We hope this helps you get started!
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