If you’ve ever wanted to make an augmented reality (AR) filter, now’s your chance — Facebook has officially opened its Instagram AR filter and effect-building tool, Spark, to everyone.
The tool had been in closed beta with a limited number of creators since October 2018, but now anyone can download the free Spark AR Studio program and use it to create and publish their own augmented reality effects for use on Instagram.
If you don’t know what augmented reality is, it’s essentially blending the real and the digital via smartphone camera. AR filters and effects make use of the camera (often the front-facing camera) to add digital elements to a user’s face or surroundings. In its announcement post about Spark’s release, Facebook gave a few examples (see the image above) of what users have created with Spark, like an effect that adds dreamy bubbles floating around a user’s face, and a filter that turns a user’s face into a vortex of colors.
Along with opening Spark, Facebook has updated the Instagram Stories’ filter tray to include a ‘Browse More Effects’ option. By clicking this option, users can look through effects and filters other users have created with Spark.
As you can also see in the image above, when someone uses an AR tool from the effects library in their Story, the bottom of their photo or video will credit the tool’s creator by listing their username.
In its announcement post, Facebook says more than 500 million people use Instagram Stories each day. That’s a lot of potential faces ready for the next big filter.