Snap Inc. introduced on Thursday a new desktop application called Lens Studio. As its name suggests, the suite of augmented reality tools allows creators to make their own Lenses to use on Snapchat and share them with others, a valuable platform to compete with rivals like Facebook.
The app, which you can download right now for Mac or Windows, is a toned-down version of the same software Snap developers use to create Lenses. The team has created over 3000 of these AR filters, and user engagement tops 60 million people playing with Lenses three minutes per day on average.
Advertisement, though, is the endgame to both broaden Snap’s scope in the market and keep it afloat until the next quarterly report. Publicists and common users alike will be in charge of making their own dancing hot dog, but they can also hire seven Snap partners to develop what they want on demand.
How does Lens Studio work and what does it offer?
Lens Studio is similar to some design software out there, and it deals with elements that should be familiar to those well-versed in animation, 3D modeling, and even 2D design. It allows people to create different AR experiences in one of several formats.
There are nine formats from which to choose, each with its own templates and resource documentation available in both the platform and the official website. Lens Studio lets you create static objects, animated objects, cutouts, windows to other worlds and picture frames perfect for your 2D creations.
Among the animated objects, creators can choose the way they want people to engage with them. They can either tap on the AR object to trigger its animation, walk towards the object so it moves, look around using their Snapchat camera to see the whole object, or simply look at it as it moves like the dancing hot dog.
I've been beta testing the brand new "Lens Studio" by Snapchat for the last few months. It allows you to create and share your own Snapchat AR experiences. I scanned myself, did the dancing motion capture, and wrote the music. Download my Lens here: https://t.co/qR3YPha4cg pic.twitter.com/VMhO8F3LMK
— B. Garcia (@tacolamp) December 14, 2017
Sharing and advertising get easier and cheaper with Lens Studio
An upside of this new venture by Snap is that it might be able to level the scales if adoption is broad enough. There is an incentive for this to happen, and it is that the company has removed itself from the equation when it comes to sponsored campaigns on its platform.
Before, Snap handled all requests to create custom Lenses for brands and companies who wanted to advertise on Snapchat. This came also with a few caveats, the most significant of which was that the campaigns needed to be worth at least $300,000 for Snap to take them on.
Now, anyone can create their own AR object and share it with the world using a personal Snapcode that lasts for a year and users can unlock using the Snapchat camera. There is a downside, though, and it is that people can only see and use the filter for a day before needing to scan the code again.
However, this allows creators to retain control over the model, and add new elements or change the way it interacts without changing the code. For advertising agencies and brands, seven creative studios will handle their requests ranging from $8 to $20 CPM depending on the target audience.