Snap Levels Up What’s Possible in AR at Its Annual Lens Fest

Snap has showcased its commitment to Augmented Reality and the strength of its AR ecosystem at its latest Lens Fest event, by unveiling new engagement numbers as well a host of new features for Lenses, monetization tools for AR creators and even new features for Spectacles.

Lens Fest, running virtually until 9th December is Snap's annual, global event that highlights the innovation and creativity from every corner of the Snap AR community. Starting four years ago, with a couple of dozen Lens Creators celebrating and building Lenses together in LA, it now hosts thousands of attendees virtually from around the world.  

Today, there are 306 million Snapchatters around the world, using Snap’s camera to create an average of 5 billion Snaps every day. More than 200 million of those Snapchatters engage with Lenses on Snapchat more than 6 billion times every day.

What’s more, more than 250,000 Lens Creators from more than 200 countries and territories have built more than 2.5M AR Lenses - those Lenses have been viewed more than 3.5 trillion times. 

Snap Co-Founder and CTO Bobby Murphy, said at the event: “It’s so exciting to see how the community taps into cutting edge AR technologies and brings them to life in innovative and creative ways. Over the last year, our team has introduced a suite of advanced new features like garment and skin segmentation, 3D Body Mesh, and VoiceML -- all to help AR creators and developers build more engaging, realistic, and accessible experiences.”

New Features for Lenses

Also announced at Lens Fest, Snap has launched a suite of new features and tools in the 4.10 update for it’s AR creation software, Lens Studio. All Lens creation starts with Lens Studio, whether designed by the community or the team at Snap. From there, Lenses can be featured across Snapchat, Snap Camera, Spectacles, or into other apps through Camera Kit.

Over the last year, Snap has taken some of the most innovative technologies it’s developed, and brought them to Lens Studio. Features like garment and skin segmentation, 3D Body Mesh, and VoiceML have already given AR creators and developers brand new capabilities to build more engaging, realistic, and accessible experiences. 

Custom Landmarkers

Snap launched Landmarkers in 2019 and Local Lenses in 2020, layering augmented reality onto  dozens of popular destinations around the world. And coming soon, creators will be able to make Custom Landmarkers, transforming local landmarks into AR attractions. All it takes is a mobile device with a LiDAR Scanner to map the area and create a 3D model to bring into Lens Studio. We’re excited to soon hand over our Landmarker mapping technology and let creators turn more of the world—from statues to storefronts—into their canvas.

World Mesh -- Any creator can use depth information and world geometry understanding to create experiences that look and feel more like they’re part of the real world, previously only possible with higher end devices, making Lenses like the below Matrix world possible.

Some of the other new features announced for creators in Lens Studio 4.10, include:

A New Sounds Library -- Creators can add Snapchat’s licensed music and audio clips to their own Lenses, choosing from millions of songs.
Real-world Physics -- AR elements appear and react more realistically to forces of physics like gravity and collisions.
API Library for Real-Time Data -- Smart and useful Lenses are easier to create with real-time information pulled from other sources, from the U.S. stock market, to weather data. We’re starting with APIs from partners including FTX, Alpaca, Accuweather, and iTranslate.   

New Monetization Opportunities for Lens CreatorS. 

Snap is continuing to find ways to support its growing creator community and their big ideas.

Lens Call-To-Action is a new feature that lets creators include a link on a Lens, making it easy to drive Snapchatters to a destination like a merch shop.
Gifting allows Lens Creators to receive support from Snapchatters through Story Replies. Lens Creators earn a share of the revenue from Gifts received through Story Replies. Gifting is available now for Lens Creators in the Snap Lens Network across the US, and will roll out to additional countries soon.
Ghost, Snap’s AR innovation lab, is accepting new applications on a rolling basis. Developers and small teams who want to explore the technical and creative possibilities of AR can apply and receive a grant of up to $150,000 for each project, as well as support directly from the Snap team.

New capabilities for Spectacles

Snap introduced Spectacles over five years ago as a fun, hands-free camera designed to help capture your perspective and stay in the moment. Since then, we’ve taken an iterative, public approach to improving each generation and learning alongside the community. Now, our next generation Spectacles (with AR display) have helped creators make hundreds of Lenses that bring new perspectives to things we do everyday:  

Learn -- See the effects of global warming first hand with Save the Reef by Visionaries 777. Or, gain a deeper understanding of historic places across New Mexico by Lauren Cason.  
Shop -- Try on AR clothing with Exodus by Damara Ingles, and imagine eating at a restaurant with a menu that comes to life with AR Menu by Brielle Garcia.
Experience Art -- Interact with three-dimensional art to unlock new soundscapes in The Door by Heather Dunaway Smith. Or, visit an art gallery in AR with BlackSoul Gallery by Leighton McDonald.
Play Games -- Run through a playful obstacle course hands-free with Monke Racing by Lucas Rizzotto. Or take care of your very own pet called Rocket Cat by Wabisabi.


We’ve been listening to the feedback from the creator community, and from those insights, we’ve already developing advanced, new capabilities that creators can tap into:


Connected Lenses -- These experiences make it possible for multiple people to share the same Lens with others in the same space on Spectacles.
Location Triggers --If you choose to enable location,Lenses can adapt based on a specific GPS radius, so experiences can be customized based on location.
Endurance Mode -- This feature lets Lenses run longer by turning off the display in between interactions with the Lens.

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