Snapchat Lenses come in all shapes and sizes. Dancing hot dogs, rainbows, and rabbit ears are just a sampling of the augmented reality (AR) camera filters you’ll find in the application’s growing gallery, and starting Thursday, anyone will be able to contribute new ones.
Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, took the wraps off Lens Studio, a design program for Windows and Mac that lets users fine-tune, render, and publish the Lenses of their dreams. Studio — which resembles the internal tool that Snap uses to build Snapchat Lenses, according to The Verge — is chock full of templates and guides for three-dimensional and two-dimensional lens designs, and has a application programming interface (API) that lets budding Lens designers add animations and touch interations.
Right now, users are limited to creating World Lenses, or AR layered on Snapchat’s rear camera feed. But in the future, they might be able to make face filters and other effects.
Finished custom Lenses can be exported via Snapcode, Snapchat’s QR code format, or URL. (The former will remain available for a year, but the latter expires after 24 hours.) There’s no approval process, and the added Lenses can be shared with friends via Snapchat’s camera screen. Lens designers will see usage metrics for their creations in Lens Studio.
Snap’s betting big on Lenses, and it has the data to back it up. The company says that 70 million users a day interact with Snapchat’s 3,000 Lenses, and that they spend an average of three minutes apiece with them.
“This has been an amazing year for AR as a technology,” Eitan Pilipski, head of Snap’s camera platform team, told The Verge. “We’re really excited to take this tool, and make it as simple as possible for any creator out there to have a presence on Snapchat.”