First off, on audio options – Meta’s rolling out a ‘new audio engine’ that will facilitate improvements in audio processing, which will make it easier for creators to blend multiple audio sources together within effects.
“For example, now you can more easily add voice effects, sound effects and music tracks together to create engaging and entertaining dance or singing effects for Reels.”
Initially available for Instagram only, these new tools will provide more capacity for AR creators to build improved audio experiences, which could help to generate more interest in Reels trends.
Audio trends have played a key role in TikTok’s success, to the point that many musicians and producers are now making tracks with TikTok in mind. Meta would love to get in on that as well, and improved audio visualization and engagement tools could be another way to spark more interest, and creativity, within its apps.
Meta has also incorporated new depth controls, powered by LiDAR sensors, which will provide increased capacity for more responsive and transformative effects.
As you can see in his example, Spark’s ‘Camera Depth Texture’ element will detect the relative distance of surfaces and objects from the camera, and extract this data as a texture.
“You can then use the data contained with this texture to create a variety of effects that respond to depth, such as post-processing and lighting effects.”
Finally, Spark is also rolling out a new occlusion feature, which will enable creators to better blend virtual objects into a real-world space.
“With occlusion, you can give virtual objects a more believable sense of space, by partially obscuring them with other objects or by completely hiding them from a user’s field of view.”
Facilitating more creative uses of AR is key to winning in the next stage of digital connection, and as Meta looks to launch its own AR glasses, and usher us into the metaverse shift, it’ll also need to be on the cutting edge of digital creativity, in order to maximize interest and attention among audiences.
Snapchat has repeatedly shown its nous in this regard, which has been a big part of its ongoing success, while TikTok, too, has quickly become a leader in AR trends, with effects that spark whole new forms of creativity and interaction.
By adding these new elements into Spark, Meta will be hoping to latch onto the same - though it remains an area where Meta still has some way to go in catching up, despite advanced technical capacity.
The new features are available in Spark AR Studio to version 136, which you can here.