Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, took the stage at Facebook F8, the company’s biggest annual event, to present the new vision of social networking going forward. And it’s an open Camera Effects Platform to reduce costs and generate much more content in augmented reality.
Back in March, Facebook introduced the new camera mode within its mobile app that lets you share photos and videos using masks, frames and interactive filters from movie artists and characters — something many saw as a copy Snapchat shameless.
No wonder, video and photo interactions are on the rise and are the main monetization model of its rival, Snap Inc., which even made its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in the first quarter 2017. Going down this path is necessary to keep the public more involved and also to attract more brands and more companies. But how can Facebook win this battle?
New ecosystem via Camera Effects Platform
In the strategic vision of the social network, it is necessary to expand the multimedia content ecosystem. Mask and filter apps are always the most popular in app stores, yet they only offer a dozen options due to their high development cost, requiring software and skilled labor.
It is with this in mind that the company decided to open Pandora’s box and announce the Camera Effects Platform, an ecosystem that sees in augmented reality a great potential for scale, but in order to attract content is necessary to have creators…
That’s why the company is working with two new free creative tools that will allow the community to create a full spectrum of camera effects, from simple frames to full, interactive AR (augmented reality) experiences. It’s like fighting Snapchat (which has a few dozen masks and filters) with millions of new possibilities.
Let’s get to know the tools?
1. Frame Studio
Frame Studio is a web tool in which any Facebook profile or page can create frames for profile photos or via new Facebook camera. It’s exactly that tool that the mobile app for Android and iOS got when you swipe to the left.
The frames created in Frame Studio appear in the camera option of friends or fans of the pages. These effects will include the creator’s name in both the video and the News Feed post. Frames follow the same guidelines as Facebook, so they cannot include logos or trademarks unless they are pre-approved by the social network.
Frame Studio is now available to everyone! Through it, you can choose a background color, upload an artwork, give more details about the creation and submit it for approval. If approved, the theme will appear in your Facebook camera or profile photo themes for your friends, family and fans to use.
2. AR Studio
AR Studio is an augmented reality creation software that is in version
closed beta for macOS. It allows artists and developers to create their own AR experiences with animated frames, masks and interactive effects that respond to movement, viewer action in live streams and third-party data.
All content produced from AR Studio will be available on the new Facebook camera at a later date, allowing you to create photos, videos or live streams. Face explains that the beta platform has three key elements:
- Face Tracker: computational algorithm that interprets what the camera displays in real time and can track the face, thus allowing creators to make masks to fit and respond to facial movements without writing a single line of code.
- Sensor Data: allows developers to create effects in the face. which people can move their smartphone around in a completely virtual designed world.
- Scripting APIs: are APIs that make it possible to access and download data from user actions to modify the real-time effect.
We talk in more detail about AR Studio in this post. In today’s demo, the company showcased partners such as GIPHY, Manchester United and Real Madrid teams, Nike, TripIt, Warner Brothers’ Justice League and EA’s Mass Effect: Andromeda game used AR Studio to create effects camera to engage their communities.
What can I already use in my company?
As part of the AR Studio beta program, new effects have been made available for those already using Facebook Live. Anyone who signs up and becomes an effects developer can now create, in real time, effects to use in live streams.
Some of the options already available are effects for the creator to respond, in real time, to what is happening in the broadcast, such as how many people are watching and what they are saying in the comments. That kind of interaction should make lives even more engaging.
Want an idea? Then see the actions that the This or That pages and Giphy LIVE created today. Both effects:
GIPHY LIVE: While doing a live stream, the most talked about hashtags in real time would appear in the video and allow the producer to select one of them to show a GIF related to that topic with much more dynamism.
This or That: the page that is famous for taking polls allowed viewers to interact live by displaying their voting choices also via hashtags.
The Facebook speech
For Mark Zuckerberg, the vision of the future involves “much less stuff”. Like this? He explains:
“’Think about how many things you use don’t have to be physical’ and continues: ‘Want to play a board game? What if you just swiped one finger and it was there? And if you wanted to watch television and with just one movement it would appear on your
Wall? You don’t need a physical TV, you can just buy a dollar app with the TV to put it on the wall’”
Of course this is a distant dream and one that many would say to be lysergic if they listened, but the 32-year-old CEO’s point is this: at some point we will have glasses and contact lenses capable of projecting objects digital via software that will revolutionize the world. However, that day has not yet arrived.
Therefore, it is necessary to start with something incipient, to explore still turbulent seas. That’s how Facebook sees the future of augmented reality. “Today’s tools are still very primitive”, referring to face filters and games like Pokémon GO. “And people still use primitive tools not because they prefer primitive tools. They use it because this is the beginning of a journey that needs better tools. An essential part of this journey is creating an open platform that any developer can create anything they want,” concludes Zuckerberg.
Augmented reality has immense corporate application potential, from reading and sending emails to developing cars and spaceships. That’s why the company believes more in augmented reality (AR) than even in virtual reality (VR), which still invests a lot. Developing for both requires creating two separate products, which is why Facebook will position itself that way.
So be prepared for the flood of interactive content we’ll see in the coming months. Has the moment of AR really arrived? Leave your opinion in the comments!