Ryan Goldberg | Head Graphic Designer
Spark AR is a product from Facebook that allows you to create augmented reality effects for Facebook and Instagram. It will enable you to make filters for either platform that can accomplish many goals in a couple of different ways. You can apply effects directly to users’ faces via Face Tracking. You can create 3d objects to be placed in the world on a selected plane with Plane Tracking. You can use static 2D elements to create frames or apple photo filters that adjust colors. You can also use Target Tracking to identify images in the real world that can elicit a reaction in your camera. These can vary from making an ad appear or showing a product in 3 dimensions.
Now that’s great and all but why should you learn to use it? Well, that’s an excellent question! If you’re just a casual person that uses Instagram and Facebook for fun personal use. You might not find a ton of value in learning it unless augmented reality is a hobby. If you’re and artist or creative professional, then it’s a no brainer, learning how to apply your skills to another medium can be priceless. It can take your work to another level and create a new way of interacting with your work, all while increasing engagement and audience reach. And lastly, if you’re a brand or someone in an agency that offers services on these social platforms learning a new technology like this could be invaluable.
Let’s focus on that point, what is the value for a brand or agency. For a brand, the applications can be valuable. With Plane Tracking, you can bring your product into your customer’s home directly through Instagram without the need for anyone to download anything extra. You can show off your new packaging directly on their kitchen counter or bring your furniture into their home, in glorious 3D. With Target Tracking, you can incentivize buying products by incorporating special offers only visible when a specific image is shown. With Face Tracking, you can apply things to the face of a user. Catching onto quick-moving trends such as the “What “blank” are you?” style filter can be made with relative ease and garner high engagement rates.
For a marketing or advertising agency, this knowledge is clearly worthwhile if a client can see the value in learning it themselves or just having these filters added to their social media. Especially if anyone with a computer and basic knowledge or just the desire to learn can come to this program and easily make some spin-off of a hot trend. As an agency, you need to push the boundaries of what is seen as just possible with the program to create something irresistible for your next client to see. Learning and implementing Spark AR into your rotation of tools and services is a significant step forward to do just that. Just like any new technology, it can catch on and become a must-have for everyone, or it could fall off in a couple years. But right now, Spark AR has the spotlight and should be used while it lasts.