Facebook’s new AR feature for Portal lets you dress up as Harry Potter characters

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Facebook’s Portal video calling device is getting a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child crossover that lets you and up to three friends dress up as characters from the play using augmented reality technology.

Here’s how you can use it, according to a Facebook blog:

Anyone can initiate the experience by tapping “Curtain Call” in the effects tray on Portal. You can then select one of three locations from the menu to visit: Hogwarts Great Hall, the Ministry of Magic or the Edge of the Forbidden Forest. When the lights come up, each person on the call will embody a character from the show with a unique spell, which is assigned randomly. Simply nod your head or tap the screen to cast it and watch as your friends marvel at the magic.

The AR masks that transform you into a character, which are powered by Facebook’s Spark AR technology, will also match your skin tone. “Callers can fully embody the characters thanks to real-time skin sampling that matches the 3D character to your unique skin tone before converting it into an AR mask for seamless integration,” Facebook says in its blog.

The feature works with Portal-to-Portal video calls for users in the US and UK. And if you don’t have a Portal device, “fans on Instagram and Facebook can still interact with the AR masks via each app’s camera and share video and photos via Stories,” according to the company.

Facebook has been ramping up its augmented reality efforts; it announced last September that creators would be able to make AR effects for Messenger and Portal in 2021. The company is also investing heavily in AR and VR devices, with nearly 10,000 employees reportedly working in its Reality Labs division.



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