AR masks on Instagram are a great way to promote and attract an audience for free. Every day, masks are used by brands, bloggers, famous personalities, and ordinary users.
In this article we will look at the main types of masks, create our own mask in the Spark AR program and upload it to Instagram.
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Types of AR masks on Instagram
Mask is an Instagram tool that helps to diversify user stories by adding animation, color, objects, etc.
Let’s consider the main types of masks for stories:
1. Mask filters… They can be figuratively called “presets”. When creating such a mask, users can repeat their favorite settings from Lightroom, VSCO, and more.
2. Masks associated with the user’s face… These include beauty masks (smoothing the skin, enlarging the lips, eyes, reducing the nose and facial contours), adding inscriptions, ears, flying particles that react to facial expressions and movement.
3. AR objectsthat allow you to add any item to the screen, while creating a sense of real presence.
4. Masks with background replacement…
5. Game masks… These are mainly complex 3D masks, which can be created by a team of professional developers. Games include prediction masks, tests, etc.
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How to create a mask for Instagram stories in Spark AR
We will create a simple mask with face retouch and “Postium” caption.
Installing Spark AR
Step 1… Go to the official Spark AR programs https://sparkar.facebook.com/ar-studio/ and download the installer file. Click on the pink Download button.
Step 2… Open the installation file and unzip the program to the desired folder.
Step 3… Open the Spark AR program, enter your username and password from the page on the Facebook website.
Step 4… After successful authorization, you will be taken to the Spark AR start page, where there are already finished projects provided by the program.
Step 5… To create your own new project, in the “Create New” section, click “New Project” and “Blank Project”.
Step 6… The main work area of the program appears, from which any project begins. It is divided into “Scene”, “Assets” and “Layers”.
Step 7… Mask creation begins by adding a Face Tracker to the Scene. Click on this area with the right button, click “Add”, a list appears, we need “Face Tracker”.
Important! In the upper tab “Project” select “Edit Properties”, then “Capabilities” and in the item “Accuracy” change “Standard” to “Hight”. This will prevent the future mask from freezing and improve its accuracy.
Step 8… Now we need to download additional materials that will be needed during work. To do this, go to the Spark AR website at the link: https://sparkar.facebook.com/ar-studio/learn/articles/people-tracking/face-reference-assets. Click on the link “Download the Face Reference Assets here”.
Step 9… Open the downloaded file and go to the “Textures” folder. Here we see models of a woman’s (faceFeminine.jpg) and a man’s (faceMasculine.jpg) faces, on which you can put inscriptions, freckles, glasses, and more.
Step 10… Next, download the Spark AR Player program to your phone. Go to the App Store or Google Play on your smartphone and download the application.
Step 11… After the application is installed, we need to give access to photos, permission to use the camera and speaker. We connect the smartphone to the computer using a USB cable.
If everything is done correctly, then by clicking on the smartphone icon with an arrow (in the lower left corner of the workspace), a blue circle will appear. This means that now we can see all the actions on the screen, control and change its mask settings.
Step 12… Let’s start creating a mask. To do this, add a new “Face Mesh” to “facetracker0” (click on “facetracker0”, go to “Add” and “Face Mesh”)
A black and white texture appeared on the face. Right-click, select “Rename” and rename it to “Retouch”.
Step 13… In the workspace on the right, find the “Materials” parameter and press +.
Step 14… On the left, in the “Assets” section, a new matter has appeared. Click on it and name it “Retouch”.
Step 15… In order to get the effect of smoothing the skin, in the parameter “Shader Type” change “Standard” to “Retouching” and set “Skin Smoothing” to 20-30%.
Step 16… Click on the phone with an arrow in the lower left corner, click on “Send”.
We open the application on a smartphone and see what the result looks like.
Step 17… If we don’t want anti-aliasing to be applied to the whole screen, uncheck the “Full Screen” option.
Create a label
Step 18… Add “Postium” inscription to the face. To do this, we need Adobe Photoshop or another graphics editor such as Gimp.
Step 19… Open in Photoshop a model of, for example, a woman’s face called “faceFeminine.jpg” and a mesh called “faceMesh.png”. These files are located in the previously downloaded “Face Assets” folder.
Step 20… With a long press, transfer the grid to the image with the face and place it exactly along the lines (so that the nose, lips, eyes coincide).
Important! If the color profile “faceMesh.png” is Indexed Colors, change it to RGB in the “Image” – “Mode” section.
Step 21… Create a new empty layer. To do this, in the lower right corner, you need to click on the empty sheet icon. “Layer 2” appears.
Step 22… On the left in the toolbar, look for the letter “T”, click on it. After that, click on the image. The classic text appears, which we will change.
Step 23… We type the desired phrase in Russian or English, select our inscription and click on the font menu. Choosing the style you like. It is important to understand that not all English fonts are adapted for Russian letters.
Step 24… Now we need to shrink the label and place it under the right eye. To do this, go to “Edit” and click “Free Transform”.
Drag the inscription under the eye, reduce it with the help of squares along the edges of the selected area.
Step 25… If you want, you can make the text arched. To do this, click on the letter “T” in the upper work area.
Select the Bottom Arc option and set the Curvature values to about + 48%, Horizontal Distortion + 5% and Vertical Distortion + 4%.
Step 26… You can paint the lettering any color. In the upper work area, we are looking for a window with a color, click on it and select any shade you like.
Step 27… Now we need to check how the lettering will look on the real face. Turn off the visibility for all layers, except for the caption.
Step 28… Save this file in PNG format. To save, go to “File” and select “Save as”.
Step 29… In the “Format” item, select PNG, leave the remaining parameters unchanged. We save the file.
Add texture to the mask
Step 30… We return to the Spark AR program. Right click on “faceTracker0”, go to “Add” and click on “Face Mesh”. We have added another texture to our mask, on which the caption will be located.
Step 31… Rename “faceMesh0” to “Inscription”.
Step 32… Find “Materials” in the left workspace and press +. Choose “Create New Material”.
Step 33… In the workspace “Assets” there is a new “material 0”, rename it to “Inscription”.
Step 34… In the “Texture” parameter, click the arrow and select “New Texture”.
Step 35… We are looking for a PNG file with the inscription, which we made in Photoshop and add it.
Step 36… Our mask is completely ready, it remains to check it on a smartphone. Click on the phone icon with a blue circle, select the name of the phone. If everything is done correctly, a mask will appear on the smartphone screen 🙂
Step 37… Save the mask. In the lower left corner, click on “Upload and Export”. Green checkmarks should be lit in each item. We don’t change anything. Click on “Export File”. Save the mask to the computer, assign a name to it. After that, click on “Upload”.
Uploading the mask to Instagram
Step 38… The program takes us to the page for downloading the mask for moderation Spark AR Hub. Check if your Facebook account should be linked to your Instagram page.
Step 39… We fill in the information. In the item “Name” enter the name of the mask. In the “File” item, attach the file with the mask, which we saved to the computer.
Next, select the platform for publishing and select the owner of the mask.
Step 40… The next step is to create the “icon” of the mask. You can create it in any graphics editor or take an image from the Internet. Attaching the icon. Please note that the size must be at least 200 x 200 pixels.
Step 41… We select the publication date “As soon as possible”, in the Location we select “Everywhere”, since it can be under consideration up to 2 weeks.
Step 42… We make a short description of the mask. Load a pre-prepared demo video that reflects the principle of the created mask.
Step 43… To create a demo, enter all the information and click “Save”. You will be prompted to test the mask for an hour on your chosen platform.
Step 44… We go to Instagram or Facebook via a smartphone and record a video showing the mask. Download it and click “Send”.
Our mask is being sent for review. Waiting for approval and enjoying our own mask 🙂
Own masks on Instagram increase awareness and form the personal brand of its author. Create creative story masks to make your profile stand out from thousands of others.