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Everyday AR: Here’s a peek into the Snapchat Lens Studio

Find out how Snapchat's Lens creators make whacky and whimsical lenses in a jiffy.

Building Snapchat lenses is not rocket science — that’s what the team at Snapchat wants everyone to know. It is important people know this because Snapchat’s creator ecosystem depends not just on people who publish content on the platform but also on those who develop the quirky and imaginative lenses that keep users hooked to the platform. 

Snapchat Lenses, the Augmented Reality (AR) features that can morph how one looks and change the appearance of their environment are at the core of the app. 

These lenses help brands interact with users on the platform in a myriad of ways and people who have wild ideas can build lenses and make money by becoming part of the Snap Lens Network. 

Snapchat reportedly boasts a global AR community of over 3,00,000 AR creators, developers, and teams. They have collectively crafted more than 3 million Lenses, viewed by Snapchatters over 5 trillion times. Snapchat is actively nurturing this community with workshops and resources, ensuring that the next big AR sensation is just a lens away. 

These lens creators are so crucial that last year, Snapchat announced a reward programme for Snapchat Lens creators in India. Those who would make the engaging Lenses for the application could stand to win Rs 6 lakh for their efforts. 

Lens Studio, the application which lens creators use to build lenses is akin to a graphic design tool that has presets, templates, and all the necessary elements people might need to create a lens with the potential to go viral. 

Persica Picardo, a Snap Lens creator from India, says it takes just about 20-30 minutes to make a simple lens. A student of graphic design, she was clueless about the world of augmented reality before 2018. But now, making AR lenses is her full-time job. 

And it is likely that a large majority of young consumers know exactly what to do when confronted with a piece of technology that turns them into a dog with floppy ears. Snapchat claims that 80% of users in India interact with Lenses every day. The platform has 200 million monthly active users from India. And Snapchatters from India play with AR Lenses over 50 billion times every month. 

Picardo, says that she often develops lenses for apparel, personal care and beauty brands that target a young consumer cohort. A brand that is launching a new shade of lipstick or a summer dress can use Snapchat Lens to let people try on these products. 

Earlier this year, Myntra’s Snap Filter — The Myntra Sneaker Club — allowed sneakerheads on the app to explore and try on shoes from a catalogue of sneakers available on Myntra. The lens also enabled them to go to the Myntra app and purchase the shoes.

Picardo’s favourite project so far has been one for HBO, for the launch of the show House of Dragon. For the show launch, Snapchat developed Custom Landmarker Lenses — a lens that is triggered when the camera is pointed at a specific landmark. For India, that landmark was the Gateway of India in Mumbai. When the lens was triggered, users could select a dragon, aim their camera at the sky, and watch dragons set their screen ablaze, breathing fire, and interacting with the landmark.

Snapchat Lens developed by Persica Picardo for the launch of the show House of Dragon.
Snapchat Lens developed by Persica Picardo for the launch of the show House of Dragon.

The Lens Studio, Picardo informs, is an application that can be downloaded straight to one’s desktop. Advanced mastery of the tool can bring creators into Snap Lens Network, giving them an opportunity to monetise their skills. 

As promised, Picardo helped create a lens for afaqs! in a jiffy. And it is here for everyone to try.

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