Facebook launches AR Camera Effects

Facebook is flying high on strong quarterly earnings and fresh momentum on Instagram. Nevertheless, there are new challenges coming over the horizon and the company’s annual F8 developer conference on Tuesday and Wednesday will give us a good opportunity to see how Facebook is positioning itself for the future.

Facebook will rely on an army of outside developers to contribute augmented reality image filters and interactive experiences to its new Camera Effects platform. After today’s Facebook F8 conference, the first effects will become availabe inside Facebook’s Camera feature on smartphones, but the Camera Effects platform is designed to eventually be compatible with future augmented reality hardware such as eyeglasses.

Facebook is now allowing developers to apply for access to the closed beta of the platform’s AR Studio tool.
Meanwhile, anyone can use the Frame Studio to upload simple, static overlaid image filters that will appear in Facebook Camera to their friends or a Page’s fans. There’s no need for coding knowledge to use Frame Studio, you just upload an image. For now Facebook won’t allow any branding or advertising unless pre-approved, though it will eventually monetize the platform, with a spokesperson saying “We are focused on making this product great for people before introducing paid ways for businesses to participate.”

Developers could make entertaining visual experiences like AR selfie masks, informational tools like overlaid ratings on businesses, interactive games, and mind-bending art that Mark Zuckerberg says would be impossible to create in the real world. Meanwhile, users will be able to add augmented reality notes to different specific locations, so they could tell friends their favorite dish at a restaurant.

Facebook is now allowing developers to apply for access to the closed beta of the platform. It will allow developers to use precise location, object recognition, and depth detection to create their effects. Facebook’s camera will be able to recognize specific objects like a coffee cup, and surface related effects like steam coming off the cup or sharks swimming inside the coffee.

Millions of people are exposed to this technology across the host of Facebook apps, including Instagram, Messenger, and its flagship app, It’s those features that the company has copied from Snapchat, which executives like Kevin Systrom have acknowledge that the ephemeral messaging app was a “pioneer” in the space. But that’s only one part of Facebook’s strategy and the launch of a platform around camera effects is the second act.

With the release of the creative effects platform, developers can tap into the frame studio and is available today globally. “This new content type brings AR to everyday life,” said Deb Liu, Facebook’s vice president of platform and marketplace. “Artists and creators can create so much more.”

Facebook has also launched AR Studio, a way to let you create animated 3D masks with face tracking, scripting, data integration, 3D rendering, support for front and back camera, and device motion. You can experience the game in augmented reality.

You’ll soon be able to use Giphy GIFs within Facebook Live too, developed through AR Studio.