Using Instagram to Create and Publish Augmented Reality Effects
In mid-August of 2019, Instagram announced that users would be provided with the capability of creating and publishing augmented reality effects for the first time on that social media site. This means that all photos and videos which you want to use can be subjected to enhancement through augmented reality processes, to take on an entirely different look as determined by the user.
An update which was recently enabled by Instagram will allow users to establish their own personal virtual effects. These would include customized face filters, animations, and other enhancements which could be superimposed on any of your own videos or images. The source of this new technology results from partnership with the well-known augmented reality company Spark AR, which is another company owned by Facebook. That makes this new feature a natural one to provide to users, and one which was fairly easy to implement.
Background on the new feature
Instagram has been working with Spark AR since last year on providing this new capability to users, and after going through extensive testing internally, the capability was opened up to some other high profile testers. The augmented reality capabilities can also be used to enhance your Instagram Stories, to provide more interest and more entertainment value.
Spark AR has previously been available for both Mac and PC, and has features which are capable of synchronizing movements, importing various sounds, and which now will allow you to publish filters directly to Instagram. Spark AR also offers a learning center which you can use to improve your techniques, and it provides tutorials on coding, as well as the animation of 3D objects.
In tandem with this augmented reality update, Instagram is introducing a new Effect Gallery, which will include a number of different AR effects which have been developed by new and talented artists. All you have to do to reach the gallery is to select Browse Effects from your Effects tray when you are in Instagram Camera mode. This will allow you to discover all the new effects, and to experiment with them to your heart’s content.
Previously, in closed beta testing, Gucci, the NBA, Kylie Jenner, and Ariana Grande all put the feature through its paces, and found it to be entertaining and useful. Some augmented reality capabilities have already been made available through Facebook Messenger, and have been used for quite some time now by brands on Facebook’s news feeds. Business users who have made use of augmented reality on their news feeds primarily have shown off products they have for sale to Facebook users.
Previous success for Spark AR Studio
Spark AR Studio is a platform which is owned by Facebook, and can be used for creating augmented reality effects for Facebook Messenger, Facebook Stories, and Instagram Stories. It was only launched about a year ago, but it has already enjoyed massive success and universal acclaim among users, especially among artists and designers.
Everyone who uses the program enjoys applying the creative filters for Instagram Stories, and for building a lot more fun into their images and videos. Up until recently, Spark AR Studio was in a closed beta mode, which meant that if you wanted to create and publish your own customized AR effects on the Instagram platform, you would have had to be accepted into their beta program.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced that the closed beta program would be terminating sometime during the summer of 2019, and that the augmented reality feature would be rolled out to the public. Happily, that time has now come, and all Instagram users can now enjoy the creative and fun capabilities provided by this new augmented reality feature.
How to use the augmented reality features
Fortunately, the Spark AR Studio has been developed such that users of all skill levels will be able to express themselves, whether or not they have had any technical background. The only thing that’s really necessary to make use of the feature is to download the spark AR Studio program, and this will allow you to get started right away in creating your own AR effects for videos, images, and Instagram Stories.
It’s a very intuitive tool to use, which makes designing extremely easy, and it’s also very easy to navigate. So if you’re a person who has very limited technical ability and no background whatsoever, you’ll still be able to be very creative in producing your own AR effects on Instagram.
What’s different about this new feature
Special augmented reality effects and pre-made filters have actually been available for quite a while on Instagram, and have enabled the platform to compete against one of the most powerful instant messaging apps, Snapchat. However, this will be the first time that all Instagram users will have the capability of creating animations or filtered productions of their own.
This will be the first time that Instagram has actually explored the possibilities of augmented reality, which is a booming market in this country, currently evaluated at around $17 billion. It is expected that this market will escalate dramatically in the coming years, and as soon as the year 2023, it is likely that augmented reality will be an industry worth upwards of $160 billion. Part of this popularity is being fueled by Silicon Valley giant corporations which have made extraordinary multi-million dollar investments in technology related to the field.
Others joining the fray
Google has announced plans recently to provide augmented reality capabilities in its highly-used map app. This will involve having AR-generated arrows displayed on an actual geographic screen, which would have the ability to direct users as they walked down the sidewalk, or somewhere else in the neighborhood. In May 2019, Facebook launched Oculus Go, which is a virtual reality headset that has met with broad acclaim and a good amount of usage. Apple has also joined the augmented reality competition, and has rolled out platforms which developers can use, so they can create AR apps using their own style and production techniques.
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