Instagram adds new features, including custom AI stickers, photo filters, a clip hub and more

Alongside a bevy of creator updates, Instagram is adding a new feature that will allow users to create custom stickers for their Reels and Stories using AI. Driven by Meta's Segment Anything AI model, the stickers can be created by uploading your own photos or videos from your phone's Camera Roll, or choosing from eligible photos and videos on Instagram.

The AI model lets you "cut out" any object within an image with a click, which is similar to the image cutout feature that debuted with Apple's launch of iOS 16. In iMessage, Apple also allows you to make your own stickers -- like a sticker of your favorite pet -- by touching and holding on the subject of the photo which then lifts it away from the background.

Meta's custom Instagram stickers work much in the same way. When you point the app to a given piece of media, it will automatically highlight the photo's subject for you. But if the AI gets it wrong or you want to tweak the sticker a bit, you can also choose to select the sticker's subject manually. You then tap "Use Sticker" to add the saved sticker to your Reel or Story.

Users will be able to access the feature from a new "Create" option under the sticker search entry box next to Poll, Add Yours, Quiz and others.

Note that this custom sticker is different from the previously launched AI stickers that let users enter text to automatically create a sticker using prompts. The company demoed that technology at its Meta Connect event in September, which is powered by its new foundational model for image generation, Emu. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off the functionality by typing out crazy ideas like “Hungarian sheepdog driving a 4×4,” for example. That feature has steadily rolled out to English-language users over the month following the event.

The new custom AI stickers, currently dubbed a "test," arrived alongside a range of other creator-focused features for Instagram and Reels, including new "undo" and "redo" features for Reels; new tools to scale, crop and rotate individual clips; and access to a new Media Clip hub for making memes by adding clips with audio to your Reels.

Image Credits: Instagram

Surprisingly, the company also added new photo filters for Posts -- a feature that once defined Instagram in its early days, but has since been put on the back burner as the social media app chased video, Stories and Reels. The filters include both those offering "subtle color edits" and those for more "expressive styles," Instagram said in a blog post. 

Image Credits: Instagram

The company also added 10 new English text-to-speech voices (in select countries), six new text fonts and styles, and support for outlines.

Image Credits: Instagram

Instagram tweaked other features, as well, including by adding new ways to seek out trending audio or access the audio browser from the top of the Camera Roll, and a streamlined view of Drafts, where you can rename Drafts and schedule them. You can also now zoom and search your Camera Roll as you look for the photos and videos you want to use.

Image Credits: Instagram

For creators tracking metrics, Instagram and Facebook are adding a new Reels metric called "Replays," which will now be combined with "Initial Plays" to provide a total "Plays" figure. This figure is juicing Reels' numbers a bit as a user watching a Reel twice or more is still only one user -- but the "Initial Plays" figure will still help creators understand their reach in terms of individual users. Later, Meta says creators will be able to see how many people are watching their Reel in an interactive real-time Retention Chart.

The new features are rolling out starting today on Instagram, but you may not immediately see them, as updates can take a few days to reach the full Instagram audience.

Image Credits: Instagram