Spark AR

Facebook Connect 2021 Spark AR Roundup

New features, capabilities and programs for Spark AR creators

By: Spark AR Team
October 28, 2021
Spark AR

Facebook Connect 2021 Spark AR Roundup

New features, capabilities and programs for Spark AR creators

By: Spark AR Team
October 28, 2021

Today, at Facebook Connect, we’re previewing several Spark AR features and capabilities — each one opening up exciting new possibilities and experiences for AR creators. We’re also sharing details on new investments we’re making in programs to help you learn Spark AR, to grow your skills, pursue new opportunities and distinguish yourself professionally. We have a lot to cover, so let’s dig in to today’s updates:

Easing AR Creation

An early look at project Polar
Something Went Wrong
We're having trouble playing this video.

Project Polar preview

As people continue using AR effects in Instagram Stories and Reels, more Instagram creators are exploring AR creation, and seeking lightweight, easy-to-use AR tools — which is why we’re excited to preview a new special project, code named Polar.

Polar will be a free iOS app, powered by Spark AR, that will make it easier for you to imagine, create and share AR effects and filters, directly on your mobile phone. Polar is built by creators for creators, with an intuitive user interface and a range of templates to help you jumpstart effect creation.

We’ll be inviting creators to participate in a closed beta program for Polar later this year.

Expand your creativity with World AR

Building geo-anchored experiences and high-fidelity virtual objects

Example of a geo-anchored AR experience and virtual object using Spark AR

For more advanced creators, we’re previewing exciting new World AR capabilities, including our new Geo JS API, as well as improvements coming to our virtual objects pipeline.

The Geo JS API will introduce a world tracker in Spark AR Studio opening up new possibilities for multiple AR experiences anchored to latitude and longitude coordinates. For example, a scavenger hunt or a guided tour, where the AR activations are anchored to locations or points of interest.

Additionally, we’re working to expand the pipeline in Spark AR Studio for virtual objects. These improvements will make it easier for you to build and place 3D objects in the real world, including text, characters, GIFs, stickers, and more. We’re also improving the technical tooling for objects to allow for high-fidelity experiences, especially for use cases like commerce and shopping, with virtual try-ons and product previews.

We’ll have much more to share on the Geo JS API beta and virtual objects pipeline later this year.

Expand your creativity with People AR

Hand and body tracking capabilities arriving soon
Something Went Wrong
We're having trouble playing this video.

Hand tracking effect demo from @enuriru; body tracking effect demo from @positlabs

We’re introducing two new tracking capabilities — body tracking and hand tracking — which will help you build more dynamic, complex and imaginative effects for Instagram.

Body tracking will enable you to easily anchor AR effects to body movements, and build experiences that creatively transform people from head to toe. Using the new body tracker in Spark AR Studio, you will be able to map effects to 20 different 2D key points on a body, and apply them to a single person, multiple people, or to isolated parts of a body in a single scene.

Similarly, hand tracking will allow you to augment hand movements. This is the first of a multi-phased capability rollout that will support the hand bounding box. In our beta testing so far, we’ve seen some playful uses of hand tracking from performative art and comedic skits, to fantastical superpowers.

Hand and body tracking capabilities will be available to all creators soon, subscribe to our Spark AR email list to get notified.

Reach more users with Social AR

Group Effects for video calling on Messenger and Instagram
Something Went Wrong
We're having trouble playing this video.

Example of Group Effects on Messenger

Following our introduction of the multipeer API earlier this year, we’ve continued to work with creators in the beta to explore how AR can enhance and enrich video calling. One of the use cases we’re excited about is Group Effects. These are long-form AR effects where multiple participants on a video call can experience them together, at the same time.

Starting today, we’re moving the multipeer API into open beta and inviting creators everywhere to explore building Group Effects for Messenger now, with effect publishing for Instagram starting in early November. Additionally, we’re adding Patches to support Group Effects, so you’ll no longer be limited by programming in Javascript. We’re excited about the additional reach and exposure opportunities this will open up for AR creators, and we’re eager to see how this new class of Group Effects will transform video calling.

Advance your career in AR

Spark AR Curriculum adds certification program and new professional course
Something Went Wrong
We're having trouble playing this video.

We’re previewing several updates today that will be coming to the Spark AR Curriculum in early November, including our first Spark AR certification program, as well as a new AR Pro course for advanced creators.

For the first time, we’re providing AR creators with a formal program to demonstrate your knowledge and proficiency with Spark AR, and to earn a Facebook Certified Spark AR Creator badge. The certification program is designed for advanced AR creators who are seeking to distinguish their AR skills in the marketplace, either to help boost their careers or to pursue more creator-for-hire opportunities with brands and agencies.

If you’re a creator with intermediate-level AR skills, perhaps aspiring to do more AR work to advance your career, we have a new offering for you too — the Spark AR Pro course. Enrolling in this new course is a great first step for any creator that would like to round out their Spark AR know-how and confidence.

Be sure to read today’s blog post for additional details on the Spark AR Curriculum. The first 2,000 creators to sign up on our Spark AR certification interest list will receive a voucher to cover the full cost of the certification exam.

Investing in you, our creator community

In addition to opening up new creator education and career opportunities, we’re investing millions to fund a range of new projects and initiatives, including competitions and hackathons, as well as the funding of new AR content that will come to life in places like Ray-Ban Stories and AR ads on Facebook.

Today is just a glimpse of the exciting future ahead for the Spark AR ecosystem, but we certainly couldn’t do any of this without the ongoing support and dedication of our Spark AR creator community. We’re looking forward to sharing more details on all of these updates very soon. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and join the Spark AR Community to stay informed of everything Spark AR.

Enjoy Facebook Connect!

Subscribe to the Spark AR Blog