Anyone can now build augmented reality face masks inside Facebook

Anyone can now build augmented reality face masks inside Facebook

Facebook announced today that its AR Studio is now in open beta, so all developers can start creating World Effects for the company's augmented reality platform and camera.

Facebook also mentions that while merely a few World Effects are available right now, this list is to grow in the coming months with other filters and whatnot.

The World Effects feature is very similar to Snapchat's rear-facing augmented reality tools.

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The new AR features makes Facebook Messenger far more playful as users will be able to make use of these objects in AR and use them to communicate with others. Snapchat, too, wants to push augmented reality features, and should get credit for popularizing the goofy face masks people seem to love. Snapchat has yet to fully embrace third-party AR content beyond some basic image frame submissions and work with a few fine artists like Jeff Koons. "This is only the beginning, and we can't wait to see how creators bring art to life through AR Studio".

Facebook's pitch to developers is the same as Facebook's pitch to advertisers: We have a ton of users. To add a World Effect, open the Messenger Camera (from your inbox or from inside an existing conversation by tapping the camera icon), and then scroll to choose from the camera effects. Initially, world effects will include objects like a floating heart, an arrow, a 3D Robot and an Unicorn. Facebook Stories, where Camera Effects content is typically shared, hasn't taken off the way Instagram Stories has.

Essentially, Facebook's best lure to developers is its inherent reach thanks to a massive baked-in audience. For users, that means that they can add AR overlays on top of their pictures as they take them, but for developers it also means that they are now able to freely design then deploy to Facebook their own customized and stylized AR picture overlays.

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