An Illustrative Selfie Instagram Filter

An illustrative augmented reality face filter for Instagram: Maras Instagram Filter

Discipline: Digital Design, Illustration, Software Development
Sector: Technology
Collaborator: Charlotte Rea
Location: New York, New York
Date: May 2019

Maras is an Instagram filter that lives under the user @charreel. When faced the selfie camera, the filter overlays my line drawings to a user’s face. Charlotte Rea, an employee of Facebook/Instagram offered to collaborate on an Instagram Filter created with Instagram’s proprietary software Spark AR, before this software released for public use.

Our goal was to create an Instagram filter using my characteristic line-based face sketches. We used the node-based tool Spark AR to program this. Charlotte Rea, who has been creating filters, set up the workflow, I provided the sketches and we refined the end result together.

The design uses 5 line sketches to create this filter. When the user points the camera at their face, they can see the line filter overlaid on their faces. If they tap, the drawings start toggling between different sketches. If the user opens their mouth the drawing gets bigger. There is also a blur filter on the camera footage to make the face appear smoother.

The filter was a huge success. It ranked on the top of Instagram’s Effects gallery under the selfies category. It got millions of uses. People from all over the country created artworks as a tribute to the filter, like make-up and illustration. Shortly after the launch of Maras filter, Facebook launched Spark AR to the public, and people created replicas of the Maras filter. The filter can be found under the user profile @charreel. You can access the live filter here with a device with Instagram App.