Facebook Camera Effects are – essentially – Snapchat filters for Facebook. Swipe left in the Facebook mobile app to bring up the camera. Click on the wand to bring up a selection of frames or 'augmented reality' 3D filters linked to brands and designers, which you can use to add funny effects to photos and videos – and then share them on Facebook (or save them to your phone for sharing on other networks).
So far, so Snapchat. But more interestingly you can create your own Camera Effects – which can be set as being from you personally, your Facebook Page or a client's. Filters with things like facial tracking and 3D AR elements – such as the one Facebook commissioned Hattie Stewart to create (shown here right) can be built using the AR Studio tool, which you need to sign up here and be approved by Facebook to use.
Simpler frames like the one shown on the left can be built using Facebooks' online Frame Studio tool, which is super simple to use – though as a new tool it does have some weird issues that you need to know about, and you do have to have your filters approved by Facebook if you want anyone apart from yourself to be able to use them. As with Snapchat filters, you can also limit how long they're available for and even lock them to specific locations – for example for a launch event or wedding.
So let's get started.
First off you need a square artwork with a transparent background (whether a detailed vector image or a hi-res layered artwork in the likes of Photoshop). We've used an adapted version of an artwork Ben The Illustrator created for us for this summery Adobe Illustrator tutorial.
This will work well as there's a big space in the middle for the subject's face (or subjects' faces) – and interesting elements both above/below and to the left/right. You need elements in all directions as the frame will be cropped to a portrait or landscape aspect ratio depending on whether the phone is held vertically or horizontally.
(Alternatively you could use any shape of artwork if you wanted something that's more of a prop – whether a flower, hat, moustache or badge – than a 'frame'. The process is the same.)
If you're in Illustrator, export your image as a hi-res PNG: File > Export > Export As... – cropping to the artboard if necessary for a square shape.
When the PNG Options dialog appears, select a Resolution of High (300dpi). the correct Anti-aliasing for whether your effect is art-based or text-based and a Background Color of Transparent. Click OK.
If you're using Photoshop, export a PNG using any of the export options – just make sure that a transparent background is selected.
Now open a browser and go to facebook.com/fbcameraeffects/home
Click on Create A Frame.
This explains Frame Studio a bit more, but you already know this, so click on Get Started.
This is your main layout window, with the big square area used to position your artwork – with how it will appear in portrait or landscape phone modes shown on the right.
Import your artwork by clicking on the Upload Art button in the top left.
If you're bringing in a frame, resize your artwork to fill the square. It'll look oddly positioned in the Portrait and Landscape previews, but we'll fix that in a sec.
(Props probably won't have this problem).
Right-click on your artwork and deselect Shrink with Width and Shrink With Height so that the frame can sit full width and height in the landscape and portrait layouts.
You'll have to experiment with moving your frame around in the main square and possibly scaling it to until you get portrait and landscape layouts you like.
When you're done, click on Next.
Give your frame a name, and select whether it should be labelled as being from you personally or from a Facebook Page (yours or a client brand's you're an Admin for).
If you're publishing it personally, you can link it to a particular location – for example, a wedding. I'm assuming this is something Facebook will let brands do soon (perhaps for a fee).
Whether you're publishing a Camera Effect personally for from a Page, you can also set Start and End dates for when it's available – again useful for events or time-limited promotions or campaigns.
You can also select keywords, which will make your Camera Effects easier to find when the app starts getting overloaded with filters (which will inevitably happen soon).
This next screen gives you a chance for final check over before submitting it to Facebook for approval. Unfortunately there's no way to test it on your phone before hitting Submit – and once you've submitted it, you can't edit it further.
While you might have to wait up to a week for Facebook to approve your Camera Effect, you can use it yourself in your Facebook mobile app – whether it's linked to your own personal account or a Page you're an Admin for.
After you've submitted your Camera Effect, you'll end up on the Manage page – which lets you turn filters on and off, duplicate them to build variations and more.