Snapchat Lens Studio AR platform to help developers create World Lenses

Snap has launched an AR developer tool for desktops, called the Lens Studio to help developers in creating World Lenses: the interactive, imaginary 3D objects in Snapchat photos and videos. The Snapchat Lens Studio opens up the platform so that outside developers can contribute to its offerings and bolster augmented reality experiences beyond the in-house capabilities.

The tool is seen as a bolstering of Snapchat’s AR capabilities, and helping it to compete with Facebook’s own Camera Effects AR platform which have also been opened to all developers this week.

While brands will have to promote their own Lenses, thereby serving a new monetization medium for the platform, and the promotion of the QR Snapcodes to users who would scan to unlock an AR effect for 24 hours.

And, Snapchat won’t show the business Lenses in its camera unless the businesses buy Sponsored Lens ads from the company. They can also pay a partnered creative agency to build them a special effect, though for now the platform only allow World Lenses and not selfie masks.

Albeit, developers can build static or animated objects, 2D cutouts, windows into other worlds, floating picture frames and even 3D objects that react when you tap, look at or approach them.

Snapchat, however, enforce rules stating that Lenses can’t depict violence, weapons, nudity, sex acts, profanity, hatred, stereotypes, illegal activity, hashtags, usernames, threats, bullying or encourage Snapping while driving.

The company plans to offer Lens Studio Challenges, where it will provide an unspecified reward for developers who create Lenses that match a proposed theme or use case.

These AR capabilities will definitely give Snapchat the much-needed boost to users' sharing at a time when growth has been slowed in the wake of Instagram’s fierce competition.
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