Spark AR

Spark AR Enables Advanced AR Effect Creation With Render Passes

New capability gives creators more flexibility to build visually complex AR experiences

By: Spark AR Team
July 16, 2020
Spark AR

Spark AR Enables Advanced AR Effect Creation With Render Passes

New capability gives creators more flexibility to build visually complex AR experiences

By: Spark AR Teamå
July 16, 2020

The recent release of Spark AR Studio (version 92) brought with it several new features and improvements, all of which our very own @danmollervfx breaks down nicely in the latest Spark AR Quick Tips video. But there’s one capability in particular that creators are excited about: render passes.

Render passes let you produce multiple rendered results in a single AR effect. For example, you can apply separate effects to different scene objects, or create new textures from multiple images. And they’re particularly useful for applying different visual shader treatments to separate scene elements.

While render passes is a more advanced capability to work with, it gives you a lot of flexibility and control over what you’re able to create — ranging from simple blur and glow effects to more advanced simulations of liquid or fire. Here are a few examples:

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Examples of Spark AR effects using render passes
From left to right: Fire by @mate_steinforth, Inside you by @asagi_tokyo_, Neon Demon by @bourgadotin

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Examples of Spark AR effects using render passes
From left to right: Mangaka by @mitsukokubota, Pixelator by @afrosquared, Locus by @positlabs

In Spark AR Studio, render passes are represented as patches in the Patch Editor, and currently, you have the following four options: scene render pass, shader render pass, delay frame patch, and face extraction render pass. Simply place, connect and adjust as many of these render pass patches as needed to reach your desired effect.

This ability to string together render pass patches enables more elaborate visual effect creation, from simple post-processors like color correction to advanced multi-pass rendering techniques like dynamic lighting or simulation.

As more creators try this exciting new capability, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Plan: Using render passes will impact how you arrange your scene hierarchy, so plan your effect and rendering strategy in advance.
  2. Test: As with any AR effect, test early and iterate, adding complexity as you go. Because large render strings can impact performance, try to test on a range of devices.
  3. Building your graph: You can visually debug your graph by frequently moving the Screen Output patch, connecting it at different stages. To help with your productivity, take a non-linear approach: Rather than render something again, try recycling it from an earlier stage of your project.

We have a new documentation overview, plus a new tutorial and example project that we encourage all creators to check out before diving into render passes.

We can’t wait to see what you create!

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