Animated Retro Rocket Around Face — Instagram Filter Review
Published on May 15, 2019
| Filter name: "Retro Rocket"
Today I tried out "Retro Rocket" Instagram filter for the first time. I'm sen some teasers posted by Kym and I really wanted to try it out already. This IG filter has two modes. The first one is for the front-facing camera. In this mode, the filter spawns a retro rocket that continuously circulates around your head with some neat planets positioned around your head. In the second mode, which was designed for the rear-facing camera, you just see the rocket flying in the air with a drop shadow effect.
The first option is the coolest one in my opinion. It uses face mesh in order to mask the rocket behind your head as it rotates around it. The rocket itself is beautifully designed, metallic with some beautiful (pre-rendered) reflections. At the back, there is a beautiful rocket engine fire effect. But the things that I liked the most is how the face area is lit up as the rocket passes by along the face. The light is also animated accordingly, lighting up the areas around which the rocket is passing through. This is no doubt one of the most impressive visual elements of this filters hands down.
At the bottom right image, you can see how the rocket lights up the area of the face as it passes by it.
The combination of beautiful textures, reflections, and lighting effects are what makes this filter stand out. I also liked that the rocket moves slowly around the face, allowing the user to enjoy the view of the light as it animated over the face.
The second mode for the rear cameras was less exciting. Having said that, I still liked the view because of all the things I mentioned above, the rocket just renders beautifully in the environment. It would look so much better if the lighting effect was affecting real-world surfaces. The main difference here is that for the front camera, you have a face mesh, but Spark AR doesn't have a 3d meshing technology that can scan the environment and produce a 3d replica of it (like 6d.ai SLAM does). I have no doubt that in the future we'll have this and Spark AR creators will be able to create amazing filters with 3d models interacting with real-world objects and lighting effects being applied on the real-world surface, etc. This will make all of those filters mixed in our reality and become much more immersive, interactive and exciting to watch in most part.
One of the unique things about this filter is that it still uses face detection and meshing to animate the rocket around the user's head and mask it properly. The masking works well, not perfect, but very convincing. I mean, around the left ear it masked properly, but on the right ear, it missed it a bit.
The filter also spawns some flashing star images around the face. I've noticed that there isn't any sound though. Sometimes I wished there was a sound button for all filters which allows you to turn the sound on and off. A sound for this filter would have been nice in my opinion, Maybe make the volume dynamic so the volume of the sound is higher when the rocket passes at the front in front and at the side of your ears and reduced when the rocket is behind your head.
Overall, an entertaining filter, good job with the lighting effect on the skin and enabling two viewing modes for both the front and rear camera. I definitely recommend trying out this filter.
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