fridadwi/promo-card-instagram-filter-tutorial: Create simple Instagram Filter to support your small business

On ILO (International Labor Organization) report, the estimated total working hours loss was 495 million full-time equivalent jobs (FTE) because of COVID-19 pandemic.

In Indonesia, many people have lost their source of income because of this pandemic. They are trying to find new opportunities by opening small businesses. The number of Instagram users in Indonesia is huge, that’s why many small business owners choose this platform to promote their product.

One of Instagram’s outstanding features for promotion is Instagram Story with various interesting Filters. In this tutorial, we will try to create a filter for small business promotion. Users can change Filter image with an image or photo that they have prepared themselves for each promotion program.

filterfilter

To try out the sample filter we will create, you can visit this link https://www.instagram.com/ar/950069895499758

We plan this tutorial for a beginner that never code or never uses Spark AR Studio. We hope this tutorial can help those who are looking for new opportunities amid this pandemic.

This tutorial will cover 3 fundamental things:

  • Preparation and how to install Spark AR Studio
  • Create a simple Filter in the form of a Promo Card with Gallery Texture feature, where user can use their own image or photo on the Filter.
  • Testing and the steps to publish the Filter we have created.

We hope that after following this tutorial, you can create your own filter that works well and published it.

Spark AR Studio is an augmented reality platform for Mac & Windows that help up create AR effects for mobile cameras. Spark AR studio is easy to use and learn, so there’s nothing to be afraid of! Let’s go!

In this section, we will prepare the things needed for using Spark AR Studio.

prepare

Requirements

To install Spark AR Studio, we need to prepare:

Hardware

Spark AR Studio requires a PC with following minimum specifications:

  • Operating System Windows 10 (64 bit) or MacOS 10.14+
  • 4GB RAM

You can see more detailed specifications on this page https://sparkar.facebook.com/ar-studio/learn/downloads/#system-requirements

Account

Spark AR studios use Facebook account to Log in their apps, and Instagram account to upload, test, and publish our filter. If you don’t have one, please create one and we’re ready to go!

Download Installer

If we have met all the requirements, now we can start installing Spark AR Studio by downloading the latest version at https://sparkar.facebook.com/ar-studio/learn/downloads/#spark-ar-studio

We created this tutorial using version v98. After successfully downloading the installer, please install it according to the steps shown.

Facebook login

The first thing to show when we opened Spark AR Studio is a Facebook account login pop-up. Fill it with your account data, and then you can use Spark AR Studio.

login

To log out Spark AR Studio from current account, you can do it after opening the project by clicking File, then selecting Log Out.

This is the end of the first part of total 3 part tutorial. You have successfully prepared Spark AR Studio to create Filters. We will discuss creating filters in the next section.

goodjob

Now that Spark AR Studio has been installed, let’s start to make the filter.
In this section, we will create a Filter project.

start project

Open Spark AR Studio

On the Spark AR Studio home screen, a variety of templates and tutorials are displayed. (Psstt.. these templates and tutorials are great resources for learning, don’t forget to check them out).

homepage

Opens Blank Project

For now, we’ll start by creating a new project from scratch.

Click Create New > New Project.

A pop-up will appear for the project types you can create. Then choose Blank Project.

project baru

Main Display of Spark AR Studio

Spark AR Studio will open a new window. As you can see, we can divide our work area into several key areas.

mainview

  • A is Scene panel. Scene panel is useful for arranging order of objects that we will use. Ambient Light and Directional Light available by default. For this project, we will just ignore these two light objects.
  • B is Assets panel. We will use Assets panel to organize files we use in the project, such as images and materials.
  • C is View panel. The middle section will be your primary work area where you can directly view and edit the position and size of objects in your project. Spark AR Studio also provides a Simulator window. Use the Simulator in Spark AR Studio to quickly see how your effect would look on a device, as you’re building.
  • D is Properties panel for adjusting object settings we use.

Added Face Tracker

Detecting faces and follow its movement is the key part to make this Filter. This feature is very easy to create because Spark AR Studio has provided several types of trackers, including Face Tracker.

To use Face Tracker on Scene panel, click Add Object button on the lower right side select Face Tracker then click Insert.

add face tracker

Face Tracker object automatically added to the hierarchy in Scene panel. You can also rename object by double-clicking or by right-clicking, then select Rename.

Adding Plane Objects

After Face Tracker, we need an object that will be the place to display our filter image. We will add a Plane object.

To add a Plane, we click Add Object button on Scene panel, select Plane, then click Insert.

add plane

Plane object added to Scene panel and it also visible on View panel. However, Plane object is still in place not following user’s head movement. Don’t worry, we will fix it in the next step.

plane not move

Rearrange Object Hierarchy

In the object hierarchy, an object placed inside another object will also follow the parent object movement. To make Plane object move with the face’s movement, we need to rearrange object hierarchy in Scene panel. We need to move Plane into Face Tracker to move along with facial movements.

On Scene panel drag and drop Plane object into Face Tracker object.

drag and drop

And the result is Plane object moves according to the facial movements.

plane moving

Set Object Position

If you notice that the position of Plane object covers the face, we need to re-adjust position according to what we want. You can directly move object through View panel or by using input on Properties panel on the right side of screen.

Using View Panel

You can move objects via View by drag the existing arrow line. To make it easier to move object, we can pause the Simulator by pressing pause button on the left side of screen.

pause

And to move it, just click object on Scene panel then on View panel drag object’s arrow line to the desired position.

move arrow

Using Properties Panel

To move object more precisely, we can use Properties panel. For example, we click object on Scene panel and on Properties panel at the right side of screen we can change the Position Y value to 0.1 so that the position of Plane object moves to forehead.

move properties

Apart from moving objects, these methods can also change object’s size and rotation. You can try it.

Next, we will add Material so object can have a color or image.

Adding Material

If we look at Plane object that currently displayed in a checkerboard pattern, it means Plane object doesn’t have any data to display on the screen. To give an appearance to Plane object, we need an asset called Material.

Material is an asset that will control how an object will appear on the screen. Material can be colors, images, or animation.

To add Material, click Add Asset button on Assets panel then select Material.

add material

Attaching Material to Objects

After Material asset exists, the next step will be to attach Material to Plane object.

Select Plane object on Scene panel, then on Properties panel on the right side of screen pay attention to Materials section. Click + button to select Material that we have prepared.

place material

After attaching Material, Plane object turns white, following Material settings.

white plane

In the next section, we will add a function to take an image from user’s file and attach it to Material. This will allow users to use their own Promo Card image.

Add Gallery Texture Feature

Gallery Texture is a feature of Spark AR Studio which allows us to use files from user’s Gallery as material. When we create this tutorial, Gallery Texture is only available for Instagram platform.

To add Gallery Texture, on Assets panel click Add Asset and select Gallery Texture.

add gallery texture

Usually, a Warning pop-up will appear. We need to deactivate Facebook on the platform we are aiming for (because Gallery Texture is only available for Instagram platform). Follow the instruction by click Review Platform button then uncheck Facebook option, then click Done to finish

add gallery texture

Next, we repeat adding a Gallery Texture.

add gallery texture

After we add Gallery Texture, Add Media button will appear on Simulator. Users can use it to select images they have.

add media button

Applying Texture to Material

Currently, Plane object color is white, it is the default Material settings. For the next step, we will attach a texture from Gallery Texture to Material so it can display the image selected by user on Plane object.

Click Material that you want to change on Assets panel. In Properties panel on the right side of screen, pay attention to Shader Properties section, in Texture click drop-down button and select galleryTexture0 which is the default name of our asset Gallery Texture.

texture to material

Plane object that was originally white has changed to a checkerboard pattern again. This is because Gallery Texture doesn’t have any data to display yet.

In the next step, we will place a default image to display before user selects their own image.

Setting Up Holding Texture

Holding Texture is the default image Gallery Texture use before users select an image of their own choice. Let’s set it up.

Click Gallery Texture on Assets panel, on Properties panel on the right side of screen, put a check on Holding Texture, and click Choose File.

Choose image file you want to use or you can download images from this link

holding texture

As in Simulator, Plane objects now have a default texture which is image we selected earlier.

Trying Add Media Feature

Click Add Media button and try to change the default image with files we have.

test the button

This button will allow user to use their own files in the Filter we created.

Congratulations! we almost finish the filter, the next step we will try it on device directly to make sure there are no problems in using it. We will do this in the next section.

goodjob

Testing before publishing a Filter is an important step to make sure the Filter we make goes well according to what we want to.

Testing Filter on Device

There are two ways to test it on a device:

  • By installing Spark AR Player on device.
  • By using an Instagram account on device.

Testing using Spark AR Player

You can use Spark AR Player to mirror effects, like masks and frames, from your computer to your mobile device and test how your creations respond to movement and interaction.

Spark AR Player application is available for Android and IOS, you can download it at https://sparkar.facebook.com/ar-studio/learn/downloads/#spark-ar-player-app.

Once installed, connect device to PC using USB cable.

On the bottom left Spark AR Studio there are several buttons, click Test On Device button.

Wait for device name to appear and then click Send button. Filters will automatically open on device.

apps preview

If device name does not appear, try to reconnect device with PC using USB cable.

Testing using an Instagram account

If you don’t have access to Spark AR Player, you can also use your Instagram for testing.

On the bottom left Spark AR Studio there are several buttons, click on Test On Device button. In Send to App section, click Send on Instagram Camera.

instagram preview

When sent, check Instagram on your device. A notification will appear that you can tap to try the Filter you have created.

notification

Publish Filters

Before starting the publishing process, let’s prepare an icon and demo video.

Upload and Export

After preparing the icon and demo video, the next step is to upload project to Spark AR Hub for publication.

On the bottom left Spark AR Studio, click on Upload and Export button. Then click Upload on the pop-up window that appears. Wait for uploading process to complete.

export and upload

After upload process is complete, you will directed to Spark AR Hub page.

spark ar hub

Input the required information and files. Things that need attention:

  • On Platform be sure to activate Instagram and deactivate Facebook, because Gallery Texture feature is not available on Facebook.
  • In Categories choose relevant category with the filter we created, for this project you can choose Appearance and Selfies.
  • On Publication date, you can choose whether to release it as soon as they approve or you can schedule it.

spark ar hub completed

After you fill the forms, click Submit button on the upper right side of Spark AR Hub page. If you haven’t completed filling out the form, you can click Save button and continue another time by accessing https://www.facebook.com/sparkarhub/effects/

After completing submissions, we just have to wait for the approval.

Approval

Before the public can use Filter, Filter will go through a review process in a few days.

If our Filter gets rejected, a notification will appear on Facebook and Spark AR Hub, please check the reason for rejection and correct all the requirements before re-submit. After you made update, you can re-submit the Filter.

If they approve our Filter, a notification will also appear on Facebook and Spark AR Hub.

notification

To use the approved Filter, you can get the link on Spark AR Hub.

spark ar hub link

Or you can access it via Filter Tab on your Instagram account, the tab marked with a face icon.

instagram filter tab

By getting approval, it means everyone can use our Filter in their Instagram Story.

Congratulations! You have completed all the steps to create a Filter using Spark AR Studio.

goodjob

All the project source is in GitHub. Feel free to observe the project and use it for your own projects.

If you are interested in developing Instagram Filter more, you can visit the following link to try another interesting tutorials and get more information.

You can also join the Spark AR Community to discuss and share information on Filter development with Spark AR Studio.

Spark AR Studio with all its features helps us easily create Instagram Filter. We can develop many things and hopefully can create new opportunities in this challenging time.

Creator :

This tutorial was inspired by: