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How to make your own AR face filter

Creating your own AR face filter is a lot easier than you think.

Face filters on Instagram and Snapchat are far and away the most mainstream use of what we call augmented reality. We've already spent years contorting our faces, surrounding them with butterflies or pinning stuff to our heads to find out which Disney villain best represents us. However, it wasn't until I got my hands on the new iPad Pro and played around with the Face Paint feature in Procreate that I realized how easy it is to make your own face filter. So I made a video about it, which you can watch above.

Now, you don't actually need an iPad Pro or Procreate to do this. That's just for a little extra flair. You do need a Facebook account, though. Facebook makes a free desktop app called Spark AR Studio. You can do all sorts of things with Spark AR, the vast majority of which I haven't yet tried. Spark AR partnered with 3D modeling platform Sketchfab to offer a ton of free AR assets. With a live preview of your face and just a few clicks you can try on steampunk goggles or hang out next to a piranha plant from Super Mario.


Two-for-one: With Spark AR, you can make a face filter for Instagram and material for your next nightmare simultaneously.

Nic Golden Henry/CNET

For this beginner tutorial though, I went with some original art created in Procreate. Don't worry, you don't have to be all that much of an artist. My town carnival butterfly ended up looking a little demented. But I like demented. And overall, thanks to these tools, making AR art is a lot easier and more fun than I thought. 


I took this photo to show you my demented butterfly. The hair is just a bonus.

Nic Golden Henry/CNET

Learn how all this works in the video above. If you're interested, I also spent a day seeing everything the new iPad Pro can do on a single charge. Watch it here:

Now playing: Watch this: Make your own Instagram face filter