At the F8 developer conference yesterday for Spark AR, Facebook announced new capabilities as its flagship AR creation software. Since Spark AR was announced at F8 2017, from 190 countries, more than 600,000 creators have published over 2 million AR effects on Instagram and Facebook, making it the most prominent mobile AR platform, according to the company. If someone posts a selfie on an Instagram story and changes the hair color, then that person has used Spark AR.
On Messenger, Instagram, and Portal for video calling soon, these AR effects will be available to introduce a Multipeer API. Effects can be developed by the creators that bring call participants together by using a shared AR effect. A promo video has been shared by Spark AR in which a video of a birthday party was held over a video call, in which an AR party hat appears on each of the participants’ heads.
Creators can develop games for users to play during their video calls. This already exists on Facebook video calls. Now developers can create new, lightweight games, and some new games will be seen soon. Spark’s platform-exclusive multi-class segmentation capability will support these multipeer AR games and video call effects. At once, with a single effect developer can augment multiple segments of a user’s body.
Facebook also shared its ongoing ambition to build AR glasses. Chris Barbour, director of Partnerships for Spark AR, said: “that this goal is still years away — but Barbour did tease some potential features for the innovative, wearable tech. “Imagine being able to teleport to a friend’s sofa to watch a show together, or being able to share a photo of something awesome you see on a hike.” By the time the product launches, maybe this won’t sound so futuristic.
Spark AR launched the AR Partner Network last October, a program for the platform’s most advanced creators. This year through Facebook’s BluePrint Platform, Spark launched an AR curriculum o help creators learn how to improve their AR effects. This summer, the applications for the Spark Partner Network will open again. For now, developers and creators can apply to start building effects for video calling through the Spark AR Video Calling Beta.