One of Snapchat's biggest strengths is its capacity for innovation, and it's looking to broaden its potential on this front with a new range of Lens building tools which are focused on providing even more creative, engaging in-app options. The tools are part of a broader upgrade for Lens Studio, which also includes a heap of new templates to make it easier for publishers to build their own in-app experiences.
First off, Snap's launching a new Lens 'Segmentation' option which will enable users to interact with specific, selected elements within a Snap, like the whole background, the sky or someone's hair.
There's a range of segmentation templates to choose from, making it easy for creators to build their own segmented Lenses without specific technical expertise. Creators can choose from the following elements to control within a Snap:
- Portrait Background
- Portrait Hair
- Portrait Shoulder
- Portrait Headwear
- Portrait Head
- Portrait Head with Headwear
You choose the element you want the user to be able to control, add in relevant images (if you choose) and you can launch your new, interactive Snap experience.
For example, using the sky segmentation option, you can create your own variation of the 'singing cowboy' meme for Snaps.
According to The Verge, Snap has offered similar Lens options in-app previously, but now, the feature is available as a creative variant within Lens Studio, expanding its potential use in new Snap types.
Snap's also adding a new Face Image Picker option, which will enable users to place faces from their phone's camera roll onto any object as a texture.
Users have previously been able to add faces from their camera roll as virtual masks within Lenses, but this option takes the reverse approach, adding still images into the effect itself. The option will enable publishers to create all new animated Snap experiences, to which users can apply their own faces, or faces of friends.
Snap's also adding a new 'Marker' option through which publishers will be able to build 3D and AR experiences which appear in the app when a chosen 2D image is scanned via the Snap camera. You can see an example of the effects below - when a user scans a chosen element - like a Snap code - the 3D visual will appear.
Snap has tried several variations of this type, but they're now also available for Lens Studio users, with templates, again, making it easier to build your own. There's also a 'Marker with Snapcode' option, which is a more advanced variation.
The Marker option is probably the most advanced of the new tools, with some image creation knowledge required to build a unique process. But it may also be the most impressive - as noted by Engadget, Marker also enables creators to build animations into 2D, real-world objects.
As noted, these are part of an upgrade of Lens Studio, which now includes a heap of helpful tools to enable creators to build new Snap experiences. Like Facebook's AR Studio tools, this enables Snap to expand its pool of creativity beyond its own, in-house team, providing infinitely more digital effect options.
Snap actually showcases the best of these in a 'Trending' section of the Lens Studio website, so you can check out and try the most popular user-generated Lens content for yourself.
These new options also add to Snapchat's recently launched 'cat Lenses', which you can use with your pets. If you want.
Lenses. For cool cats ???? and their cool cats ???? Try them meow. pic.twitter.com/UFJtgt8ZWO— Snapchat (@Snapchat) October 12, 2018
On a related note, Snapchat's also launched a new set of anti-bullying stickers and filters as part of Bullying Prevention Month.
As per Snapchat:
"We've designed Snapchat to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves with their close friends and family. That's why we've never had public likes or comments, because they can create pressure to feel pretty or perfect when you're just trying to communicate with friends. [...] Bullies have no place on Snapchat. We are proud to partner with the Ad Council to support Bullying Prevention Month. We’ve created Filters, Stickers, and Snap Ads to raise awareness about bullying, whether online or off."
They'll need more - Snap will need to provide more new tools to really capitalize on its strengths - but there is still a lot to consider with Snaps, and these new tools only add to that capacity.