How to make a mask on Instagram in 7 steps
Recently, Instagram developers allowed all users to create their own AR masks. Now anyone can make a mask on Instagram in just a few minutes, diversify their Stories with unique augmented reality filters and share their creation with others. There are already countless options for masks, because both brands and ordinary users are working on their creation. This article will show you how to create your own AR filter and even promote your account this way.
What is Instagram mask
Instagram masks are visual effects that are automatically superimposed on the real image displayed by your camera. In other words, these are the very funny noses and ears, glasses, hats and makeup, with which you can often meet people in Stories or live broadcasts. These visual effects move with you, as if complementing the existing reality.
Initially, the creative department of Instagram was engaged in the creation of masks. There was a basic set of AR filters, and various collaborations with celebrities and brands were regularly released. But recently, the management of the social network changed its strategy and allowed everyone to create masks.
Not only digital designers, but also ordinary users liked the new features, because if you don’t bother with 3D effects, you can create your own unique mask in just 10 minutes.
Why create your own mask on Instagram
If you are promoting your page or using Instagram for business, then you probably already know that Stories is the most effective way to attract young users. According to statistics for the last year, more than 500 million users viewed the Stories section. Every day, 67% of them were people between the ages of 18 and 29. So, such interactive features as AR filters help to attract the attention of users.
A number of reasons why you should definitely use masks:
- Show your brand identity. Masks can be used not only for self-promotion, but also to show social ideas supported and promoted by the brand.
- Connect with your audience. AR filters are the newest interactive element for Instagram Stories, which are so beloved by users of the social network. They can help your stories grab even more user attention.
- Be one step ahead. Custom masks are still a new feature that not all companies use. This is a good chance to stand out from the competition by suggesting, for example, trying on your products before buying or wearing a branded item of clothing.
- Increased awareness. Although AR masks are not an advertising object, they can be used to increase brand awareness. You can include your brand logo or mascot in an AR filter, then your unique filter will be displayed in the gallery and when other users record a video with it, they will also advertise your brand. In addition, each filter is attributed to the authorship, which can bring potential subscribers.
How to create a mask on Instagram
Any user can create their own AR-mask. Used for this is Spark AR Studio – AR development environment from Facebook. After the opening of the ability to add masks to all users, the Instagram developers shared a link to this particular application. We will share detailed instructions and tell you how to create a mask on Instagram in 7 steps.
Step 1: Install Spark AR Studio
The first thing to do is download Spark AR Studio. To download, visit the official website of the project and select the Download section in the upper right corner. The program supports all operating systems. You can also install the Spark AR Studio app from Google Play or the App Store.
Step 2: learning the program
Spark AR Studio offers a helpful welcome tour that is just 5 minutes long. He talks about the main features of the application.
In general, Spark AR lets you add:
- 3D graphics elements;
- camera and light effects;
- sprite animation;
- reaction to actions;
- body trackers and much more.
There are two important things to remember when working with the application:
- Firstly, the Spark AR platform is still under active development. New updates are released a couple of times a week, and sometimes they can radically change the interface and functionality.
- Secondly, in one guide we will not be able to tell about all the features of Spark AR. There are too many of them and it is not realistic to master everything at once. Educational courses are dedicated to designing masks, so if you want to master all the features of Spark AR, you can take training on Udemy. You can also get some useful information in the Spark AR Learning Center by going to the Learn section of the official website.
Step 3: create a new object
When you open Spark AR, go to the Create Project section and select the prototype project you want to create. For our example, we will use the World Object template, which involves placing a 3D graphic element in the real world, like in a Coca-Cola polar bear mask.
The Viewport looks like a complex canvas, but don’t be intimidated. Everything is relatively simple and besides, the developers of the program attach a detailed description. Visually, Spark AR Studio is similar to Adobe.
In the center is the Viewport area – a three-dimensional space with which you can view the object in detail, move it or change it.
In the upper right corner there is a Simulator window, where objects will be displayed as they will look on your smartphone. Using the drop-down list, you can change the simulator from iPhone 8 to your device to check if it works correctly.
On the left side is the Assets panel and the Scene tab. Assets acts as a library of effects, and the Scene section is a place to work with them. This section is where you create layers and add effects.
Step 4: load the graphic
In the Scene window, add a 3D asset for your filter. It can be either your own imported graphic object, or one of those presented in the Spark AR Studio library.
To add an item, click on the File button located in the upper left corner and then select Import from AR Library.
In a new window, the program will offer to define the desired type of graphic object. We will use 3D objects, so we make the appropriate choice and click on the object we like. Select the item you like and click on the Import Free button.
Since the app uses the Sketchfab library to complete the import, you will need to create an account or sign in with a social login. This is just a formality and a matter of a few clicks.
While in the library, you can also add sound to your filters by importing records from it.
Step 5: Add Effects
Now that your object is already visible in the viewport, it’s time to edit its behavior by adding various effects. Using the Scene panel, you can program how the digital artwork responds to user manipulation and movement.
Editing the behavior of the loaded graphics is a key step in creating your own AR filter. At this stage, you can connect your imagination and add all kinds of effects to your mask. For example, change the color and intensity of the ambient light.
The image below shows a 3D object (pizza) without ambient light (top) and with ambient light (bottom).
Examining the Scene panel, you will also see that you can:
- Change directional light to make your graphic more realistic.
- Select when an object is enabled, whether it will support only the front, rear, or both.
- Change the animation of the loaded object.
- Edit object animation.
- Add layers with new elements and textures.
You can also link the animation of your object to the actions of a person in the field of view of the camera. For example, an object appears when a person smiles. To do this, enable the Face Tracker option and select the Smile option in the Patch Editor field.
Step 6: reviewing our work
To test how the filter you created works, you can send a test version of it to Instagram or Facebook. There you can see how it works when recording Stories. To do this, at the bottom of the screen, click on the icon with the image of an arrow and a smartphone, and in the Send to App section, click on the Send button next to Instagram Camera.
Step 7: export and publish the project
You can now share your creation with the world by clicking the Upload button, which you will find right above Test on device. Spark AR Studio will warn you if the file size exceeds the set limits. For example, filters for Instagram should be no more than 4 MB, and the recommended size is 2 MB.
But be prepared for the fact that your work will not be published immediately. The mask will first be checked by moderators for compliance with Spark AR policies and guidelines, and only then will it be published in the Stories Effect Gallery.
Now you know how to make masks on Instagram, but keep learning. Meet new templates, test new effects. The functionality of Spark AR Studio allows you to embody any creative ideas for your brand.
Options for using masks
AR filters provide incredible opportunities for self-expression and interaction. Let’s look at some interesting examples where masks can be used:
- To attract an audience. Creative AR filters created by famous bloggers and celebrities are quickly gaining popularity among users and attracting new subscribers.
- To maintain the company’s image. Masks can be used to increase awareness by adding references to your brand or logo.
- For interactives. Using masks, you can engage users by conducting various interactions. For example, a hockey club introduced a mask with a puck flying in the face and invited users to hit it off. Authors of the most creative masked photos received tickets for the match as a gift.
- Raising acute social topics. Various social issues can be raised with masks. A striking example of this is the flash mob against domestic violence “Yanehotela to die”.
- Trying on products. Masks open up incredible business opportunities. For example, with their help, companies can allow customers to virtually try on products before purchasing. This mask format is being tested by many brands today, including Warby Parker and Ray-Bans.
Examples of masks
The usefulness of AR filters has already been appreciated by many brands. Here are some interesting examples of brand masks that have brought them success.
Kylie Jenner has released an author’s filter to promote her cosmetic brand Kylie Cosmetics, with which subscribers could try different shades of lipsticks before buying them.
Disney has released filters with Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears so that users can enjoy a little and don’t forget about the corporation.
Representatives of the NBA released an AR-filter, with which you can take a selfie with a basketball player throwing a burning ball into the ring.
Pizzeria Dodo has created a funny augmented reality filter with a dancing bird – the symbol of the brand. This marketing decision brought the company 8,000 new followers on Instagram in just 2 weeks.
Advantages and disadvantages
Masks are considered by many to be a cool marketing tool that all brands should master. However, masks can be dangerous as well as useful.
Benefits of masks:
- Increase in coverage. When using the filter, the author’s name is visible in the left corner, which increases the coverage of the profile.
- Viral effect. Now, to use the mask, you do not need to subscribe to the author, but users habitually perform this action, adding to the ranks of followers.
- Convenient product presentation. Using masks, you can give users the opportunity to virtually try your product.
- Possibility of making money. Knowing how to create interesting high-quality masks, you can make them to order or teach your skills for a fee, earning good money on it.
- Increased brand interest. Masks can serve as native advertisements for your brand and help build user loyalty.
But not everything is so rosy. Masks also have disadvantages that can harm the promotion of your account:
- People who subscribe for the mask are usually not interested in the company’s content and products. They don’t like or buy anything, they are just extra ballast, which can lead to a drop in coverage.
- Interesting filters can attract not only the target audience, but also other users, which can lead to the fact that crowds of non-targeted subscribers will come to your account.
- Foreign users who are usually perceived by advertisers as bots can start subscribing to your account.
- The appearance of all the previous points negatively affects the cost of advertising in the account and can slow down its natural development.
Tips and tricks
Creating an AR mask is only half the battle. You also need to make sure that as many people as possible see it, so here you need to take into account a number of nuances:
- Unpredictable moderation period. According to Instagram regulations, it takes 2 to 5 days to check and approve a mask. But the process may take longer, since now AR-masks are a trend. They are created in the thousands, and the moderators simply do not have time to check them.
- The complexity of the advertisement. Always make a video using the mask while it is still being made. Otherwise, before the mask is approved, you cannot even release it, since you will not have any visual components for advertising. When you start announcing the release of a new mask, do not forget that the project can always be rejected.
- Mechanics, not clear to all users. AR filters are relatively new, and not all users know how to use the effect and how to share it with friends.
- Restrictions. Instragram masks are available only in the mobile application of the social network. It is problematic to promote them through other advertising channels.
Creating your own AR mask opens up huge prospects for business and account promotion. By developing your own unique filter, you can quickly gain popularity and provide your users with unique opportunities. But you need to understand that to create really interesting augmented reality filters, you need to constantly improve your skills, thoroughly study Spark AR Studio, connect all your creativity and imagination. Using only standard objects from the library will not bring real success.