We have all seen those quirky snapshots and stories on social media with people having dog ears, funny glasses, and different colors and effects popping up covering their faces. These are nothing but AR-based filters that have changed the entire social media game. Instagram filters have made the social media experience even more exciting with creators and brands making their own filters to not only entertain and engage their audience but to also deliver strong messages that their brand stands by. However, there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding going around as to what an AR actually is. People confuse AR and VR a lot. A simple explanation to distinguish the two would be that VR places the viewer into the digital surrounding while AR places digital objects around the viewer in his natural surrounding.
Every creator, big or small, is dying for more reach and engagement on Instagram. If you can create a unique and of course, a fun filter on Instagram, the organic reach and the brand visibility you get is enormous. Due to the uniqueness of each filter, they demand engagement with people trying out different things with them such as making faces, posing, trying different angles, etc. This gives your filter a personal touch and a good reach for your profile as users are engaging and spending a lot of time experimenting with your filters.
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For those who are new to this game on Instagram, AR filters made by creators are available on their profiles as a small ‘face icon’ which appears on the toolbar just below the bio. Vivek Rayadurga learned that filters are a powerful social media tool, which made him spend several hours during the lockdown learning how to perfect making them. His first filter ‘Fall’ gained a lot of recognition and usage which marked his entry into the AR-based filter world. Vivek’s favorite part of the year in India is just the time before December when it is not too cool and not too hot. To share this experience with his audience he created ‘Fall’ which has a brownish tint and the right amount of grain. And we are sure that if you live in Goa, you have definitely come across this filter. Vivek’s reach on social media increased manifold and we are sure it will only increase with all the new and exciting filters he is yet to put out into the world.
We had a conversation with Vivek to learn about his entry into the AR world. The excerpts of our conversation are below.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Vivek Rayadurga, a 21-year-old student based in Panaji, Goa. I love traveling to new exciting places and locations and taking photographs. I particularly enjoy post-processing and touching up images and photographs to make them look brilliant.
When and how did you become an AR Filter creator?
I have always been fascinated by post-processing images for quite some time. Taking the advantage of the Covid19 lockdown, I began experimenting with various ways to improve the quality of images and photos to make them look much better.
At the beginning of July, I was inspired by a creator on Instagram who had made a filter at that time. After seeing his filter in action, I thought of creating one myself. When I just started, I found the whole process extremely difficult and challenging. There was quite a bit of trial and error and no one in my friend circle had an idea about how to create one. In fact, I came close to dropping out or giving up more than once. After a lot of effort, I finally released my first filter. Many people loved it, and as they say, the rest is history.
What was your first filter? What was the reaction from people who tried it?
My first filter was ‘Fall’. The filter has a brownish tint with the right amount of grain. My favorite part of the year is just the time before December when it is not too cool and not too hot – just the perfect time for me. While designing this filter, I wanted to recreate and share this experience with everyone. Everyone loved it and the response was lovely!
How many filters have you made? Which one is your favourite and why?
Of course, my personal favorite filter is ‘Fall’. As I mentioned earlier, a hell of a lot of effort went into creating this effect and was elated. The joy and happiness would remain for a quite long time. So far, I have made 21 of such filters and the filter ‘Fall’ is best suited for the serene surroundings of the picturesque state of Goa.
What is your creative process like? How do you come up with ideas for your filters?
Initially, I was inspired by the color filters on Instagram and Snapchat. Nowadays I plan to create filters befitting the preferences of my audience. I also take suggestions from my friends and get inspired by other creators too.
Is there something specific that you have created that you haven’t seen from other creators?
Since everyone loves eating food, I thought of making people crave food by making a filter on it. The filter is named ‘Food you Love!’ in which an animation will play of various food dishes and it will stop at a final specific dish. The food dishes include pizza, pasta, biryani, and more. For entertainment, I have also added bitter gourd, paan, and an egg. To top it all, there’s a sound that syncs with the effect.
Have you been getting a lot of freelance opportunities and clients coming to you since you started?
Since this is just the start, I have been receiving few freelance opportunities. I’m happy that all of them went on well and importantly, the clients loved it. As more and more people get to know about it, we can expect more avenues to open up in this area in the near future.
What does the extreme popularity of filters say about our society?
I think filters have given people an outlet to express themselves in a different style. Earlier even if people wanted to view themselves differently, this was not possible because the technology wasn’t advanced enough. Also, filters should be used in moderation.
Instagram banned ‘cosmetic surgery’ filters. What is your take on this?
In 2019, Instagram banned cosmetic surgery filters (Filters that mimic the effects of plastic surgery) after growing concerns over the impact on users’ mental health. There are a lot of youngsters who are using Instagram and exposing them to such filters at such a young age can cause a detrimental impact on their mental health and worldview. I think Instagram did the right thing by banning them because there is a lot of misuse happening. In case, if they decide to re-introduce them, there should be a proper discussion with child psychiatrists to ensure the right policies are framed. For example, we can restrict such filters to be used only by doctors in their clinics, etc.
What do you think is the future of AR Filters?
AR filters are quickly becoming one of the most exciting technologies in the digital space. Although people talk a lot about virtual reality (VR), the cost of using any VR system is exorbitant and is beyond the reach of the common man. If we compare VR with AR, where most phones above say, Rs.15000 are being rolled out with AR capabilities. With this penetration, I think that AR can scale-up and reach more people easily. For example, clothing companies would be able to add a feature in their apps and websites to seamlessly clothe a user with sunglasses, jackets, footwear, and jewellery without any extra gadgets and only with a phone. It can help in prototyping a product or a house or teachers can use it to explain and give a practical example in their lectures – the possibilities are limitless.
What do you do when you aren’t making filters? Any other passions?
I love travelling to new places and taking photographs. During the lockdown, I began to cook and try my hand at a few dishes.
Are you working on any filters now that we can be on the lookout for?
There are a couple of new cool features that have been released recently such as hair segmentation. I made a filter on it and you can change your hair colour!
How can our readers gain access to your filters?
My filters will always be available on my Instagram profile. There’s a small ‘face icon’ below the bio where they can access all my filters for free. One can follow and stay updated with my new filters.
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