Last year, Facebook revealed Camera Effects Platform and the associated AR Studio — tools to make it easier to create interactive experiences using the Facebook camera. The latter enabled developers to add animated frames, masks and effects for Live broadcasts. Today at the F8 summit in San Jose, California, Facebook is announcing a new version of AR Studio that the company says will make it even easier to create and distribute AR experiences.
The draw here is the ability to create 3D objects to seamlessly integrate with the real world via your phone's camera. AR Studio has new visual programming abilities that will let anyone drag-and-drop custom animations with their own actions and logic without having to write any code. Don't want to create your own 3D models? Facebook partnered up with Sketchfab, which provides a library of models you can download and use in your own projects.
AR Studio will also have new capabilities, including a tracking system that gives your AR experience the ability to track targets like faces, hands and bodies. There will be a patch editor to control audio, manipulate virtual material, add interactions and even create custom shaders without any knowledge of code. The tools can separate people from the backgrounds, too, letting developers put people in a variety of real and unreal places. In addition, developers can connect their AR apps to specific locations and contexts, like AR tied to a movie theater or heat waves that show up when a coffee cup is recognized in a scene.
Analytics are coming soon, too, which will let you track the reach and engagement of your AR creations. Finally, all these cool effects will be able to leave the Facebook app proper; you'll be able to distribute AR apps that can be viewed with Instagram and Messenger, a system that's already in closed beta on each of the platforms.
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