Snapchat’s custom augmented reality lenses are no longer limited to just objects. On Tuesday, April 17, Snap Inc. opened Lens Studio to face filters, expanding on earlier options that allowed artists and developers to build their own World Lenses. The platform now also supports adding GIFs to the custom lenses through a Giphy integration.
The update brings several new templates designed for use with facial recognition to achieve proper placement of the virtual masks. While Create Your Lens is designed for users without 3D design experience, the Lens Studio is designed for developers and graphic artists. Now, the platform is expanding to include templates for the AR masks, including a baseball cap and face painting.
Snap is also allowing users to add pre-made GIFs to the Lenses. The Giphy library is now integrated into Lens Studio. The templates and GIFs also mix with the ability to import 3D objects created inside other programs.
For Snapchatters who want to use — rather than create — those custom filters, the social network will add public filters to Our Story, allowing users to find new filters. The Discover tab will also house some of those custom lenses for users to discover. Inside Our Story — or another user’s Story — a swipe up will allow access to the custom filter, provided the filter was shared publicly. At launch, the lenses were shared through Snapcodes.
Today’s launch also comes with a new Official Creator Program, which, according to The Verge, will allow the top creators on the platform to be among the first to unlock new features along with additional promotion and support.
Since Snap launched Lens Studio at the end of 2017, users have generated over 30,000 custom lenses that generated a billion views — and occupied Snapchatters for a collective two million hours.
Snap says that Lens Studio will only grow from here — including incorporating feedback from users. “We created Snapchat because we believed that the smartphone camera is the fastest and most expressive way to share your unique point of view,” the company wrote in a blog post. “With the camera, you could express yourself not just with words, but with images, stickers, videos, doodles, and more — redefining communication in a world that sometimes feels less connected than ever.”
Lens Studio is available as a free download.