The Future of Instagram Face Filters is Glossy, Metallic, and Surreal

Brenda Cardenas, a reality effects creator, remembers the filter that lighted the recent Instagram craze. Last year was the year of that 90s face filter that everyone was obsessed with using. However, this year, Instagram has decided to fast forward to the future.

Everyone’s using these alien_like lustrous face filters that make their whole face look like it is coated in Vaseline.

“The Beauty3000 filter,” she says. “[It] just made everything explode. Like all of a sudden, all of our [filter usage] numbers started going up.”

A glowing mask wraps around the face of people who are using the Beauty3000 filter, make them look like they just walked out of the shimmer in Annihilation. It’s weird, entertaining, and makes you look good. It also isn’t caused by Instagram, but rather by one of the designers whose unique tastes are shifting the dominant aesthetic of face filters.

Beauty3000 is created by Johanna Jaskowska, a designer who aids in an Instagram beta program that lets users create custom face filters and expanded them to their followers. Instagram started the program last May and developed the closed beta in October, but the effects only recently seem to have taken hold.

Most of these filters don’t preserve Kardashian-esque beauty patterns, like contoured faces and shaped eyebrows. Instead, they’re going to be more experimental. One filter, ( creates a halo formed out of golden hot dogs.

Another, by (@fvckrender,) blocks the user’s face with crystal hands.

Another, (by @exitsimulation,) creates sparkling masks of a user’s face that orbit around their face.

The casual vibe isn’t accidental: the authors talk to one another in a Facebook Group to share future designs and crowdsource feedback or guidance.

Instagram has a specific way to unlock new face filters: you have to follow its creator. If you want access to Beauty3000, for instance, you’ll need to follow Jaskowska’s account, @johwska, before it’ll show up in your Instagram camera. Every time it’s used, the filter and creator’s names are listed at the top. Instagram doesn’t pay authors to make these masks, but the viral nature of how they scattered means that creators whose work hits a chord can see their followings increase exponentially.

Filter creators are still deciding what works best on the platform and what sort of effect will become the next Beauty3000. The creation software to make these effects, Spark AR Studio, also provides hints to get users started. “Please don’t make people entirely unrecognizable for themselves,” the company suggests.” Allow the recognizable parts of an environment to stay in frame.” “Consider adding support for multiple faces.” All the best practices are recommended in the name of making pictures and videos “more shareable.”

Instagram had much caught up to do to Snapchat’s face lenses and filters, which people have been able to design through Snap’s Lens Studio since 2017. Snap says more than 300,000 custom lenses are bobbing around, and authors say it isn’t as easy as checking a box to make their filters available on both Snapchat and Instagram. However, given that Instagram Stories has 500 million daily users compared to Snapchat’s 186 million regular users, it makes sense that they shift their primary focus to Instagram.