Custom Face Filters for Instagram Using Spark AR Studio

I love IG, but it’s been needing a bump and curl for a while now.

This summer, Facebook’s techies are stepping in with their curling irons and allowing Instagram users to upload their own custom face filters created in the Spark AR Studio (fine print: this is a free-99 computer-only app available on both Mac and PCs, through Windows can only use the beta version).

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On top of being fun in general, this new feature is a good way for users to build their followings. When people who follow you watch your story and see your effect, it gets saved to their filter library and they can start using it, too. Same goes for people who watch their stories with the filter. And yes, Instagram will be proper and tag you as the creator so people can find you. (side note: they’re also setting it up so that when you follow a person, their filters are automatically added to your library)

Custom filters also have the potential to benefit brands, which Later explained much more eloquently:

There are countless applications for the technology: cosmetics brands can use AR to let their followers virtually “try on” makeup, furniture brands can use AR to show what their products would look like in people’s homes, and fashion brands can use AR to create virtual fitting rooms, allowing people to try on shirts, sunglasses, or entire outfits to see how it fits their shape and style.

All of this sounds great until it comes time to actually build one of these, which I figured out through experience.

My Attempt

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Total work time: ~2 hours

And this was after I had already made what I wanted my filter to be in Photoshop and exported it as a PNG.

Majority of my time was spent poring over tutorials and tinkering around in the program to see if I could just miraculously understand right away.

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The program was almost as easy as I was hoping it would be (it lets you drag and drop!) but figuring out what does what in there took some time.

These are the tutorials I found the most useful:

  • around the 10:35 mark she explains how to “place a texture on a material

  • using the patch editor to create touch gestures, such as touching the screen (full disclosure, I still don’t fully get it but I feel like revisiting it not in the middle of the night will help me catch on).

  • Spark AR Studio’s site also has an index of tutorials and step-by-steps guides (these ain’t really help me much, either, but again - will revisit not in the middle of the night).


I’m happy with what I managed to do during a first try, but next time I want to try to get it to change when you tap it. I figure I have enough time to procrastinate before the official release.

You can preview your filter - and by preview I mean take selfies and videos - by downloading the Spark AR Player app and importing your project from your computer.

Give Spark AR Studio a shot!

Ada JComment