Snap is expanding its development platform to allow creators to create facial filters for the first time, the company said today. Four months after introducing its Lens Studio platform, which allowed creators to build augmented reality objects that Snap calls "global lenses", Snap is launching seven new templates in Lens Studio to allow creators to create digital masks. The templates, which vary in complexity, include virtual baseball hats, face painting and tools to attach three-dimensional objects to the head of a user.
In addition to the new templates, the Lens Studio is also integrating Giphy from today. In February, Snapchat added the ability to insert Giphy's animated GIF library into snaps; Now, they can also appear on lenses. (Recently they joined Snapchat and Instagram after the platforms discovered a racist GIF in the integration and blocked it.)
More than 30,000 eyeglasses were created in the first two months, says Snap, earning more than a billion views. "We are amazed at the participation, the level of commitment and the kind of creativity that has happened," Eitan Pilipski, who runs the camera platform at Snap, said in an interview.
The study allows creators to build simple facial filters in just five minutes, according to a beta tester with which I spoke. After uploading it to Snap, the company generates a Snapcode and a deep link that, when touched, opens it within Snapchat for 24 hours. The code itself remains live for a year after its creation, so you can unlock it several times. You can send the code to your friends with a couple of taps, whether you created it yourself or received it from someone else.
To promote the work of the creators, Snapchat will generate a story for all public snapshots created with the goal. If the following hot dog dance meme is initiated by a Snapchat user, you can browse all public snapshots published in the Our Story feature in the last 24 hours for that purpose. The community lenses will be highlighted in the Discover tab, and you can unlock the lens by sliding up in the story.
Snap is also announcing the Official Creators Program, which will reward the main creators with additional promotions, technical support and early access to new features and templates.
Face filter templates vary in complexity from a two-dimensional image mapped to the head to more intricate face painting jobs. Brian Garcia, a moving graphics artist who has been beta testing the new filters, said they found it easy to work with them.
Your first face filter, which will turn you into a cat with a bow tie, comes to light today. (Previously he created a world lens, called "Neon Boogie", which featured a digitized version of himself dancing in a purple leotard).
"For simple lenses, it's really easy," Garcia said. "Or you can immerse yourself and really start doing crazy things."