Creator Spotlight: Josh Beckwith
Creator from 🇨🇦 Canada
Please tell us something about yourself. Where are you from and were do you work? For how long have you been creating AR filters? Are you a freelancer or a member of the company specializing in AR filters? etc.
I graduated from SCAD (an art school) with a BFA in graphic design. I was interested in a lot of topics and the design program let me explore quite a few of them (illustration, photography, web design). I first started programming when I discovered generative art, and it really stuck with me. I got into the advertising world on accident, and ended up working as a programmer on experience sites, installations, twitch apps and all kinds of other quirky ad stuff.
It’s been 2.5 years since I first picked up Spark (it was version 33). My first project was a karaoke effect for Disney/Pixar. It was this crazy complex thing that involved a chatbot that guided you through picking a set of options and had you record your song in an FB camera effect. You could choose to collaborate with family and send them invitations to sing with you. In the end, the our servers would stitch together a 90 second video of you and friends singing together with Pixar characters, and the bot would send it to the user when it was done.
I was a Spark freelancer for a brief time, but now I’m working at PopulAR. We have a really great team of creators, and it’s like a dream job for me. I do a mix of R&D, working on some neat tools for creators and exploring new XR tech. We have a lot of nice content coming soon!
How many effects have you created so far and for which platforms?
I have fiddled with Lens Studio a bit, but haven’t created anything worth sharing there. The bulk of my effects are in Spark, on Instagram. I have honestly lost count of the number, but maybe something like 50 effects?
Name the best three effects you created and briefly describe them (this effects will be featured in the article)
Okubili has outperformed all of my other effects combined! It’s a really simple effect but I guess people were craving that aesthetic. It’s crazy that I can spend 30 minutes on an effect and it blows up because some influencer uses it. C’est la Spark.
My best looking effect is Noctiluca. It’s inspired by bioluminescent plankton, and I think it feels really nice to use.
YOUVEE is my third choice because I love the creepy / goofy stuff you can do with it, and I learned a lot about UV manipulation during this project. It’s the effect that has benefited my brain the most.
Which platform for creating AR filters is your favourite and why?
I like Spark, probably just because I’m most familiar with it and that’s generally what clients want to publish on. Lens studio has some really neat features though. I’ll be getting more into that soon.
What in your opinion makes an AR effect successful?
Good user experience matters a lot. It should feel natural. I think the best creative AR effects invoke some kind of feeling like awe, playfulness, or surprise.