Snap Inc has launched its second app, and its first-ever desktop app. Called Studio Lens, the app is a tool allowing users to design and build augmented reality lenses for Snapchat. Lens Studio design app is available for Mac and Windows desktop computers.
“This has been an amazing year for AR as a technology,” says Eitan Pilipski, who leads Snap’s camera platform team. “We’re really excited to take this tool, and make it as simple as possible for any creator out there to have a presence on Snapchat.”
This is the first time ever that users or publishers will be able to create their own lenses for the app. Lens Studio will provide users with templates and guides for getting started, for both two-and three-dimensional designs.
For slightly advanced users, the app has scripting API, which will allow them to build additional effects into their designs — tapping an object to change its shape, for example, or altering it as the user walks closer to it.
After creating the lens, users will be able to share them with their friends
For now, normal users will be limited to creating what Snap calls “world lenses” — effects captured using the rear-facing Snapchat camera. Eventually, regular users might be able to make face filters as well, the company says. In the short term, letting ad agencies build lenses for their clients should bring new advertisers on to the platform. Before now, only Snap’s internal creative agency has been able to create the lenses, limiting supply and keeping prices high.
Additionally, Lens Studio can also help creators share their Lenses by creating unique Snapcodes, or deep links.
Quite naturally, Lens Studio is Snap’s effort to turn Snapchat into the default place for flashy, viral AR experiences. Lens Studio has been launched just few days after Facebook opened up its AR platform to developers. Google and Apple have introduced AR platforms as well.
Interestingly, Snap reveals that it has over 70 million users across the globe that interact with its lenses on Snapchat. The company says that its team has built more than 3,000 lenses to date, and that one-third of users play with them daily, for an average of three minutes apiece. The company has had success putting its fans to work: users created 95 percent of the geofilters in the app, the company says, making custom designs for cities and neighborhoods around the world.