After hosting an augmented reality experience using its Snapchat Landmarker technology at the Statue of Liberty, Snap is now giving creators the opportunity to create their own Lenses with Lady Liberty.
An update to Lens Studio arriving Tuesday adds the Statue of Liberty and thirteen other monuments as Landmarker targets.
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The other new Landmarker targets include the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France; the Astronomical Clock in Prague, Czech Republic; Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany; El Castillo in Chichen Itza, Mexico; the Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey; the Gateway of India in Mumbai, India; the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy; the Natural History Museum in London, UK; the Neues Rathaus in Munich, Germany; Qasr Al-Farid in Mada'in Saleh, Saudi Arabia; the Great Sphinx in Giza, Egypt; the Taj Mahal in Agra, India; and Tower Bridge in London, UK.
Previous Landmarker locations included the Flatiron Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, Buckingham Palace in London, and the Capitol building in Washington, DC.
That's not all. Lens Studio is also gaining six new templates, bringing the grand total to 40. The new templates enable creators to build Lenses that can track a user's face onto a video, add customized particles (like confetti) to a scene, add a countdown clock with celebratory hats and glasses, track 2D images to heads, necks shoulders, elbow, and hands, virtually change a user's hair color, and allow for virtual makeup, such as lip gloss, blush, eyeshadow, and more.
The latter two templates are intriguing considering the popularity of cosmetics AR tools, as Facebook, Amazon, and YouTube have recently integrated virtual try-on tools over the past year.
In addition, Snap is making it easier for new creators to get started with Lens Studio with an interactive tour with step-by-step guidance for first-time users. Veteran creators also get some additional support, as the start screen will now display helpful hints on new features, templates, and samples of curated Lenses. Snap has also established a Lens Studio Templates page on GitHub, where creators can upload their work.
According to a company spokesperson, Lens Studio has facilitated more than 500,000 Lenses from its creator community, with users interacting with the creations more than 15 billion times. Snap has also grown its creator community by more than 20% between the second and third quarters.
The update comes on the heels of Facebook opening up its own creator platform, Spark AR, for Instagram.
So while the expansion of Spark AR to Instagram poses a threat to Snapchat's capacity to attract and retain developers and users, Snapchat continues to stay a few steps ahead of Facebook in terms of capabilities. Facebook doesn't have an answer for Landmarker AR as of yet, and the new templates give Lens Studio devotees an even wider range of tools to experiment with.