Hollywood Effect - Watching Movie with Popcorn — Instagram Filter Review

Published on Mar 9, 2020 | Filter name: "HOLLYWOOD"

Filter creator: WOW! Filters (@wowfilterscom)

'Hollywood' Instagram/Facebook effect was one that I put the extra effort to make sure it's VERY polished and offers more interesting visuals and fun experience. It's a filter that puts the user inside a movie theater.

This new Spark AR Studio effect is available for both Facebook and Instagram (tap links to try it out).

When tapping on the screen, the movie starts and when tapping again, it goes into intermission. When users open their mouth large, popcorn will come in or out of the mouth as well. By default, it comes in, use a pan gesture on the screen to switch direction at any time (into the mouth and out of the mouth). That's regarding the interactivity.

Watching Hollywood movie in the cinema with popcorn, Instagram filter

In the movie watching phase, the user has a popcorn bucket on their head with popcorn coming out from the box with "Movie Time!" text. As well as 3D glasses.

This filter combines many types of assets to make this effect visually appealing. This includes the following:

  • Segmentation - for changing the background (cinema)
  • Particle system - for the popcorn effect both for the mouth and head
  • Skin smoothing
  • Overlay color for making a blue tint colorful atmosphere when the movie is active.
  • Two 3D models for the 'Popcorn Bucket' (by Raphael C, Sketchfab) and the '3D Glasses' (Theodore Chernov, Sketchfab).
  • Glasses reflection material
  • Material based projector lighting effect
  • Bottom darken area material
  • Sound effects, 2 for the popcorn, 2 for intermission
  • An Intermission image made by myself in Photoshop using CC0 base decorated vector image and Google fonts.
  • Head occluder for the glasses
  • Image for the seats
  • Popcorn is actually an animated sprite, not a single image, to give it a sense of variation and 3D-like animation (I didn't use 3D objects as I wanted to produce many popcorns and I use particle system). Each particle will get separate animation based on the time it is released from the emitter.
  • Animated old film look overlay when the movie is screening
  • and more.

I made many adjustments to layering and position of the 3D objects in the scene so the segmentation will work well with the layers that have 'Use Depth Test' unchecked (false).

I also needed to carefully adjust the lighting and apply color to some texture to make the overall movie theater theme appear unified and authentic as much as possible.

The total download of this effect is between 750KB-850KB (Android/iOS) and I could have improved it even more. So heavy optimization was needed to make the effect look good and lightweight in terms of file download size.

Like many other effects, I could spend more time and make it even better, but eventually, you need to wrap things up and move on to the next thing.

Overall, I am happy with how this effect turned out to be. It actually started with an idea of making popcorn just in the mouth with some face deformation. But Instagram has issues with face deformation. I actually have a filter that hasn't been approved because of that although it's not related to plastic surgery at all.

I wanted to make that extra step to learn how to see how can I can mix and match many different assets and solve some issues that I had. This includes how to position the retouching face mesh when I have segmentation. How to make sure that 3D elements don't overlap or hidden behind rectangles that don't have depth rendering. I first thought that this wouldn't be possible, but eventually, I made it work.

When you look at the HOLLYWOOD effect you can' really see the effort put into it. If I looked at it, it would probably look like an Instagram filter I can finish in like 1 hour but it's not. If you stopped me halfway, you could see how bad it looks and how many further retouching and work is needed to make this effect look like it does now.

I also use coding (Scripting/JS). Close to 250 lines of code. I need to switch many things on and off, change particle birthrates, make transformations for canvas elements, adjust light source intensities, use interval and timeout elements to make things appear more natural. I use random numbers to make light flickering of the reflection of the glasses that reflects the movie screen to appear non-linear. It's a very tiny part, but that's how far I went with this filter.

If you look close to the glasses, you can see a movie screen that flickers, instead of just plain semi-transparent blue and red lenses.

Even for the intermission image, I created 6 Animation Drivers so it appears like smooth flickering, instead of using Timeout (Time.setTimeout) function that will disable their visibility on and off. I needed to make sure that with continuous tapping I stop all previous running drivers and initialize new ones, etc.

The Intermission image was created using old frame vectors, Google Font and old grungy background which I blended with the color of the self-made background and text to make it look like from a 30s movie.

This effect took me a few hours, but not too long. This is actually what I wanted to achieve when I first tried making the first filter. To get into a position that I am very productive and can produce complicated effects in a relatively short time.

I also create another version of this effect without segmentation so people can use it if their device doesn't support the Spark AR Studio segmentation feature. But I plan to release them a bit later (they were already approved for both IG and FB).

A lot of work and paying attention to fine details to make an effect that looks great and one that I personally enjoy using. I hope that from now on I'll put a higher standard for myself when making Spark AR effects for IG and FB.

I hope you enjoy using Hollywood Instagram and Facebook filters as I enjoy making them. Thanks for reading and don't forget to check out my YouTube channel (YouTube.com/ARcritic) if you want to learn how to make Instagram/Facebook effects yourself. Thanks.

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Hollywood Effect - Watching Movie with Popcorn