Facebook Inc (FB) Hopes AR Developers Will Help It Beat Snapchat

Doris Richards
December 14, 2017

Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc, said anyone will be able to create World Lenses in the new app but only advertisers working with one of seven AR development agencies that has partnered with Snapchat. These will be viable for one year, the firm said. "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".

The company commented via a blog post on the new push, "We want artists, developers, brands, and more creators to be able to build and share incredible AR experiences".

The Lens Studio app will contain tutorials, templates and tips on how to create Lenses. For instance, there's a scripting API that lets you adjust shape and effects.

It's a bid to make Snapchat the default place for flashy, viral AR experiences - think Dancing Hot Dog - at a time when deeper-pocketed rivals are circling.

The announcement comes just a day after Facebook announced its own AR Studio program was leaving its private beta and becoming available to developers worldwide. Google and Apple have introduced AR platforms as well.

The Studio includes templates and guides to help creators of varying experiences get started with AR, offering everything from basic 2D design skills to more advanced 3D modelling and animation tools.

Snap said that over the past couple of years it has created more than 3,000 Lenses, including those built in conjunction with advertisers. 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. The release builds on Snapchat's recently-added "World Lenses" functionality, which enabled users to insert virtual objects the live "in the world", rather than being tied to a subject in the forward-facing "selfie" camera. Only select agencies are allowed to build lenses that go on top of faces in selfies.

Eventually, regular users might be able to make face filters as well, the company says.

Tap the new "i" button above the Lens in the carousel.

Of course, Snap is also hoping that Lens Studio will be a boon for advertising.

During the creation process, creators can generate temporary Snapcodes to test their in-progress Lenses.

After you create and submit your own Lens, you'll be given a Snapcode that you can share digitally or physical so that other Snapchat users can scan it and then use it for themselves or share it with their friends.

There are limitations to the types of Lenses that can be created using Lens Studio and how they can be distributed on Snapchat. Snap is planning a series of "Lens Studio challenges" next year, which it hopes will attract creatives and developers to the platform.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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