Snapchat is an inexplicably popular service, but you know what it’s missing? There just aren’t enough augmented reality filters (known as Lenses) for your snaps, right? True or not, Snap has announced a new tool called Lens Studio that will let anyone create augmented reality objects and publish them for other Snapchat users.
Snapchat first rolled out Lenses two years ago when it flirted briefly with the idea of selling premium “Face Lenses” for selfies. That store closed just a few months later, but Snap went on to make World Lenses, 3D objects that most people would call augmented reality. You hold your phone up, add a Lens, and it looks like the object is in the real world via your viewfinder. Snap has been the gatekeeper of Lenses thus far. With the release of Lens Studio, creators, brands, and amateur designers will be able to create World Lens objects.
Lens Studio runs on either Mac or PC and comes with templates so even novice designers can create 3D objects. The published effects come with a Snap code, which users need to scan to unlock the effect. However, the codes only last for 24 hours. Snapchat won’t actually include any effects made with Lens Studio in the app unless the creator (probably a brand) buys a sponsorship.
You can get Lens Studio right now and start designing. Snap has a full submission guideline page explaining what you can and cannot do. As long as you don’t make offensive Lenses or steal intellectual property, all should be well.