AR face filter design

Five leading AR designers creating face filters for Instagram

With augmented reality technology becoming more readily available, young designers are creating face filters for social media platforms. Design reporter Gunseli Yalcinkaya picks five of the most interesting examples.


AR designer roundup

Johanna Jaskowska

Berlin-based digital artist Johanna Jaskowska looked to the way light reflects on a person's face when creating her range of shimmering and shiny face filters.

Beauty3000 transforms the user's face into a glossy, "plastic" surface, while Techgnosis has a slightly pixelated quality with iridescent colouring.

"I like to experiment with lights in the virtual space that will stage and highlight the user's face. Kind of like we would do for a photo portrait in a studio, but with AR, the model is you and me," she told Dezeen.


AR designer roundup

Aaron Jablonski

Jablonski's Hypermat filter explore hypermaterials – materials that have exaggerated properties like hyper-glossiness and iridescence. The user floats in midair in an abstract space surrounded by colourful iridescent shapes.

"I am fascinated by technology, its impact on our lives and how these hyper-technologised times change how we perceive ourselves online and offline," said Jablonski to Dezeen.

"I am interested in topics like human-machine interface or the uncanny valley. Technological progress fascinates me but of course I also acknowledge the dystopian implications it has for example in terms of mass-surveillance in combination with face tracking technology," he continued.


AR designer roundup

Ines Alpha

E-makeup artist Ines Alpha's futuristic face filters are inspired by beauty, nature and science fiction.

Recent filters – or 3D makeups – have included iridescent ribbons that swirl around the user's face, initially produced for a collaboration on a music video, and floral tendrils that frame the face and eyes.

"I wish one day makeup could react to emotions or, I don't know, temperatures," said Alpha in response to a recent 3D make-up collaboration with Korean actress Asung Ko that saw Ko's face overlaid with a mask-like filter that shifts colours and expands towards the screen.


AR designer roundup

Allan Berger

Influenced by fantasy and futuristic imagery, designer Allan Berger's face filters range from dragon-style face tattoos with glowing eyes to purple glowing flower accents.

"I get inspired by many situations and scenes in the day to day and try not to get too limited on one theme. Lately I'm becoming more and more fascinated and inspired by patterns and shapes that appear in nature," he told Dezeen.

"I love fantasy and futuristic scenes and get amazed by things that glow or shine and move in atypical and smooth ways. In that regard fantasy and sci-fi related movies, series, games and artworks are huge inspirations," he said.

"Face filters and AR effects provide a beautiful playground to melt them together," he continued.


AR designer roundup

Mathieu Ernst

French programmer Mathieu Ernst began creating face filters for Instagram after meeting Jaskowska in Berlin a few months ago.

With inspiration ranging from anime characters such as the geisha doll in film Ghost in the Shell to surrealist makeup artist Kiko, Ernst's face filters feature mask-like colourful overlays.

"At the moment I'm trying to work on colour modifications and more glitchy work. The feedback I get from users are positive, some people even feel empowered when they use my filters, which is such a great feeling," he told Dezeen.