Interview With Girls Who Code on Poly Pride Filter

To celebrate the newly admitted Poly families, the Girls Who Code club were asked to create a filter to show Poly pride. With a quick deadline and limited experience with the software, they were able to create, test, and launch a Poly-themed filter using augmented reality software learned from tutorials and YouTube videos. Read on for an interview with Sabrina Z. ’23 and Edith S. ’23 about their learning process and test out the filter yourself on Poly’s saved story highlight titled “Poly Filter.”

How did you go about learning how to create an Instagram filter?
Sabrina: I knew that Spark AR software would be a first for everyone. We were like, “Whoa can we really do this?” It seemed too complicated. I Googled videos and tutorials to navigate the complex software. I knew people used it on Instagram, and I just wanted to establish a few key steps that everyone would use to start the project. For example: how to add base layers. You need a “face mask” or a transparent layer on the face that will reconfigure effects for the filter. I also knew we had a time constraint so I wanted to make the easiest path possible for all of us to succeed.
Edith: Once we had the initial meeting with Admission, we had an idea of what we wanted the filter to be. We started off with a rough sketch of the colors and filter and made a mask first to recognize the face. The mask wraps around your face and makes it 3-D. I drew on a separate layer with text and images. You create a digital element to reference where on the face you want it to go. You make that layer invisible and put it into Spark AR, make the mask, and that’s how your filter gets on Spark AR.

How long did it take to create?
Sabrina: It took us two weeks to finalize everything. It was a lot of trial and error. We wanted to make the Poly logo bigger, and we wanted it to stand out on your face. We wanted to make the experience as good as possible for every user. We wanted to experiment with what platforms we posted on. We had to set up Facebook and Instagram pages.
Edith: The first version of the filter was too light so we had to figure out how to update the filter without resubmitting. 

What does the filter mean to you and the Poly community?
Sabrina: When Ms. Dobbs reached out to me my first reaction was that everyone has been super distant and isolated and the main way for students to communicate is through social media apps, but we’re still lacking part of the experience of high school. Hopefully, this will bring students together and spark interest in the software. I hope it creates more of a topic of communication in Girls Who Code and the people they meet. I wanted this to be a cool project for them to realize how much they can do with their abilities. It’s a new club and girls weren’t sure of their abilities, but I hope that they discover the opportunities out there to showcase their amazing skills.
Edith: Having this filter for students to communicate and connect during the pandemic is hopefully a fun way to connect.
Sabrina: We hope to make filters for the graduating class as something more tangible to keep with them and look back on the filter as they leave this year.

To test out the Poly Pride filter visit @pasadenapoly and check out the Poly Pride saved highlight.
To learn more about the Girls Who Code club at Poly, email Sabrina Z.