The brand new creative filters on Instagram have swept users of the Gram off their feet! No wonder that they keep coming up with new ‘Which are you’ Instagram filters by the day. You can find out which superhero, cartoon character or even a Disney princess you are – in just a few seconds.
This best part about these filters is that they’re really easy to design and develop. In fact, the simple and fun augmented reality platform Spark AR Studio is being used to craft these dynamic filters loved by everyone out there. It is a free app from Facebook, so you can experiment and bring your creativity out there.
If you are looking to create some out-of-the-box ‘What character’ filters that will get users of the Gram all excited, you can also do so using this simple software.
And here’s a complete guide as to how you can do it! Read ahead to find out more.
The "What Charcater" Face Filter: What You Need to Start
- First and foremost, you have to download the Spark AX app. It works free on Mac and Windows – so get it right away.
- Secondly, choose the theme for your filter. So, if you want your filter to be ‘Which Avenger Are You’, make sure you have a whole lot of images of Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Iron Man and the whole cast of Avengers downloaded and ready to use.
- A JPEG or PNG with the question on it.
- A quick tip – store these images in a quickly accessible location on your PC as you would have to import these into Spark AR.
How to Create the ‘Which Are You’ Instagram Filter?
Step 1 – Create a New Project
On the very first screen that appears when you open Spark AX, you will see the Create New option. Next, click on Blank Project.
Step 2 – Import your Images
Once you have the above basics in place, you will then move to the actual ‘Which Character Are You’ template. You have to navigate to the bottom left of the page where you can see the Add Assets option in the Assets menu. A menu of options will pop next, from which you have to choose the Animation Sequence option.
Using the Choose File option (appears on the top right), select all the superhero images that you previously downloaded and click Open. You would have to wait a while as it takes some time for all the images to upload.
Step 3 – Loop the Images
You have to mix up these images so that they don’t appear in the sequence you selected them. Use the Randomize option to shuffle the images.
Step 4 – Track the Face
You then have to move to the Live Face option which is on the top-right of the screen. Using this option, you can capture several kinds of emotions and facial structures that can be used to create the filter.
Step 5 – Add a Plane and Adjust its Size
To the top left, you have the Face Tracker option, to which you have to add a Plane, which is another option in the same menu. At this stage, you can pause the plane and adjust according to the focus, which, in the case of Instagram filters, is above the forehead.
These adjustments can be made using the green arrow pointing upwards in the plane. Just make sure the plane is high enough so that the entire face is visible.
Next in line, you have to adjust the size of the plane using the colored dots, which would help you adjust the width, length and the overall size.
Step 6 – Edit the Plane
You can add material and texture to your plane using the + sign right beside the Material option on the panel to the right. You would also get a preview of the changes you are making, which would help you gauge if any additions or deletions are required.
Similarly, for the texture, select the Choose File option beside the Texture option. Here, you have to upload the Intro Image for your project with the help of the Open option. Keep an eye on the preview simultaneously, as that is how the image will ultimately appear on the filter.
Step 7 – Duplicate the Plane
Now you would have to replicate the previously created plane, using the Duplicate option in the Scene menu. To differentiate between the previous plane and this plane, you would have to name the two differently.
Again, using the Material option, add all the images to your filter. Further, in the Texture option, select the Animation sequence, as you did earlier.
Step 8 – Add the First Patch Sequence
The View option in the menu bar would allow you to add filter controls. Move to the Show/Hide Patch editor, where a panel would appear.
Drag the Camera option into the Patch Editor while you simultaneously use the Video Recording option. You can further release this into the Patch Editor.
A Delay window would appear, where you can double-click the result to add it to the Patch Editor. In the Delay patch, you have to enter the duration for which the intro image would appear while you use the filter on Instagram. You have the freedom to choose the duration here.
To add the Delay to the Patch Editor, type in ‘Pulse’ in the search bar and release the patch.
Next, click-drag and release the Pulse output port, by typing ‘Switch.’ This would connect it to the input of the Switch patch. You would have to release the Switch output by typing ‘Not’.
Step 9 – Connect the Patches and Output Ports
Click the Visible checkbox in the Inspector panel for the first patch you created (for the intro image). Next, connect this patch to the newly created Not output port.
Repeat the same for the patch you created next for the rest of the images in your gallery. But this time, connect the Switch output port to this patch (instead of the Not output port)
Step 10 – Create the next patch sequence
This patch is completely independent from the first patch. All you have to do is right-click anywhere on the Patch editor, type ‘Runtime’ and add.
Release the Runtime output port (you just created it) type ‘Offset’ and add it to the editor. Release this output port by typing ‘Less Than’ into the editor. Here, you would have to enter a number that represents time in seconds. This number should be lesser than the time the filter would take to pick a given image.
Release the Less Than output port into the editor by typing ‘Loop Animation’. This has to connect to the enable output port.
In the Loop Animation patch, select a lesser time, say 0.5 seconds. This will make sure that the shuffling of the images is quicker. Release the Looped output port by typing ‘Random’ and add it to the editor.
In the Random Patch, you would have to enter the End Value. This would represent the number of images you have uploaded. If you have entered 20 images, enter 20 as the End Value. Enter 0 as the Start Value.
Release the Random output port by typing Round, before adding it to the editor.
Next click on the Animation Sequence (already created in the initial stages). In the current frame, you will see an arrow, which you would have to use to add to the Patch Editor. Connect this patch to the Round output port.
And you are done with the second last step.
Step 10 – Connect the two Patches
...And get Your ‘What Character’ Filter on Spark AR. Once you connect both the patch sequences, you’re good to go! Before you test the filter, you need to connect your Instagram account to Spark AR. Now you can go ahead and test the filter on yourself.
Send the test version to the app. After a couple of minutes, you will get a preview—export notification. Once you tap on the notification, you would get a pop-up. Click ‘Continue’, and you’re free to test the filter.
Until the filter is published, it will not be out for public use. But yes, you can upload your filter to Spark AR, which allows Instagram to recognize and publish it!