How To Create Your Own IG Stories Filter

We all know that stories are an essential element of social media marketing. If you’re not taking advantage of stories, you should get started right away. Not only do stories help you up your reach, but they also cue users in that you are an active account. And I’m sure you’ve noticed the rising popularity of filters. Instagram used to limit custom filter creation to only a small number of approved business accounts, usually ones who were already big name brands. However, Instagram has since relaxed its restriction, allowing anyone on the app to create and share their own filters. And, in August 2019, Facebook released Spark AR Studio, a software that allows users to create their very own, custom, interactive Augmented Reality (AR) filters! Filters are an amazing way for you to create and share valuable content with your audience, to get them talking about your brand, and having fun while doing it. Here’s how you can get started creating your very own interactive IG stories filters!

What are stories filters?

When you think “filters”, your mind might immediately go to the Instagram presets that allow you to edit and enhance photos before they are posted. However, filters for stories are much different, mostly due to the fact that they are interactive more often than not. Augmented reality (AR) filters are computer-generated effects that are layered over the real world that is captured by your camera. This means you can use it to digitally alter your surroundings on your screen. These allow Instagram users to interact directly with your brand through fun, engaging content. Pretty cool, huh?

One of the most well-known filters is the dog face filter. You know, the one that you click on and it gives you dog ears, a nose, and mouth? To make it even more interesting, if you open your mouth, a tongue pops out and licks the screen! This is a perfect example of an interactive filter. When you perform an action (opening your mouth), the filter reacts by performing an action that correlates with the one you enacted in real life. 

Instagram added an Effect Gallery tab, which allows users to browse other user-created filters. This is where your custom filters can be found and used by people browsing on the app!

How to Use Spark AR to Create Custom Filters

Spark AR is totally free. Yep, that’s right: TOTALLY FREE! It can be downloaded here. If you’re a complete beginner, we suggest you check out Spark AR resources, which is a database of tutorials to help you get started. Additionally, there is a Spark AR creative community on Facebook where you can communicate with other software users and ask and answer questions. 

Navigating the Software

The software consists of these interfaces:

  • Viewport – the area in the center of Spark AR Studio, where you can visualize your effect.
  • Simulator – which shows how your effect would look on a mobile device.
  • Scene panel – where you’ll control which objects are in your effect.
  • Assets panel – where you can add and view all the assets you’ve added to a project.
  • Inspector – use this to view and edit the properties of elements in your scene.
  • Toolbar and Menu bar – for quickly accessing all kinds of different features.
  • The Layers panel – where you can add and edit layers.
  • Patch Editor and scripting Console – where you can add more complexity to your effects using visual programming or scripting.

Learning the basics

The best way to learn Spark AR is through their tutorials page. When you first start out, you’ll need to learn how to do things like building and visualizing effects, adding and editing objects and assets, changing scale/position/rotation, previewing and exporting effects, etc. Each of these things is its own separate beast, and it would be near impossible for us to give you a simple rundown of everything you need to know. For this reason, we highly recommend that if you are serious about creating your own interactive filters, you read through the tutorials published by Spark AR at the links above!

Publishing your filters

When you finish creating your AR effect, you must submit it to the Spark AR Hub. Along with the effect itself, it will need an official name, an icon, a sample video, and a short description of the effect. Once you submit everything, the review process could take up to five business days. When your filter is approved, you will be able to use it and share it amongst users on the app! 

Creating an IG stories filter is kinda complicated, especially if you’re not well-versed in the tech and development stuff. If you have someone on your team who is somewhat skilled in 3D modeling, perhaps they would be up for the challenge. Or, if you are simply creating a fun question game or simple effect, you can easily do this yourself with a few tutorials under your belt! However, there’s nothing wrong with paying a professional to craft the perfect interactive filter for you. It all depends on how intricate you’d like your filter to be! Good luck!