Discover How to Create an Instagram Filter

Instagram has certainly come a long way since its launch all the way back in 2010, from a well-intentioned photo-collaging application to a bona fide cesspool of teenage angst and “Public Figures”. It seems every new feature brings with it a new wave in online frenzy, all contributing to a much broader Internet culture. 


One such feature which Instagram has recently introduced is a plethora of face filters. Photo effects have always been a staple of the app, but these new facial-tweaking overlays have created a huge splash in the sea of online culture. 

Plenty of filters are readily available for you to use right now. But if you find your options to be a bit lacking or can’t find a filter to suit your specific tastes, then read on. In this article, we’re going to guide you through the filter-creation process. Let’s get started.

Discover How to Create an Instagram Filter

Spark AR

To get started with creating your very first face filter for Instagram, you’ll need a tool called Spark AR. This application was previously only available to beta testers but is now open for public use. Spark AR is wonderful and easy to use, which is why we’ll be using it as the basis for this guide. 

Download Spark AR here


Start Your Project

The easiest way to get started is by using a sample project as a jumping-off point. In this case, we’ll be using a Face Distortion effect, but there are plenty of other options available to you, including Visual Shaders and Face Masks.

Step One: First things first, make sure you have the latest version of Spark AR Studio, which you can find on the official page here. Make sure that you keep track of the specific system requirements to run and use the application properly. It’s available for both Mac and Windows platforms.

Step Two: Next, open up Spark AR Studio, and you’ll be greeted by a screen-full of sample projects. Before continuing with this guide, feel free to have a look at all the samples available.

Step Three: Finally, once you’re ready to continue, select the Face Distortion sample project before reading on through the rest of this guide.

Step Four: Save this project to a local folder.

Modify the Filter

Now you’ll probably want to make a few changes to this sample filter to truly make it your own. To do this, follow these steps:

Step One: To the left of your screen in the Scene window, search for and select “faceMesh_distortion.”

Step Two: Now, on the right, look for “Deformation” from the list of options presented to you.

Step Three: Under the Blend Shapes tab, adjust any of the sliders to tweak the effect to your liking. Feel free to play around with this as much as you want – you’re sure to create some hideous, abominable disaster, but that’s the fun of it all.

Test the Filter on Yourself

You’ll need a webcam for this part where you’ll be trying out your newly-made atrocity on yourself. To do this, follow these steps:

Step One: To the far left of the window, look for the camera icon, then click on it.

Step Two: Choose from one of the faces from the selection presented to you. This will apply your filter to that face. With a webcam, you should see an additional option above all the rest, which will allow you to have a live preview.

Step Three: Make any desired adjustments, then save the project.

Export the Filter

Once you’re happy with your filter, you can now export it to either Instagram or Facebook (it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which one you’ll choose). To do this, follow these steps:

Step One: From the file menu, select “Export”.

Step Two: If all the effect-sizes are green, hit “Export”.

Step Three: Save the effect, then open up your browser and log in to Instagram (or Facebook).

Step Four: Navigate to “” 

Step Five: Past the intro screen, click on the “Upload Effect” button, select the desired platform, then add the filter’s file to the “Effect FIle” section.

Step Five: Agree to the legal terms and conditions of use, then verify the information. And you’re done.

Discover How to Create an Instagram Filter


Creating face filters is a fun way to contribute to Instagram culture. Who knows? Your’s might be the next most popular filter on the platform. If it is, be sure to recommend this guide to your friends. Otherwise, just have fun and create the whackiest filters possible.