You have probably already played around with Snapchat and Facebook AR filters/ lenses — from animal ears, to zombie faces and even face swapping with friends — but have you ever thought about the benefits of creating your own?
Snapchat recently released Create Your Own Lens, allowing you to create customised filters and lenses using pre-built templates. The company also launched Lens Studio back in December 2017 — downloadable software that gives professional and novice creators the opportunity to design their own filters and lenses. After importing 2D or 3D artwork into the software, users can bring their creation to life through interactive triggers and animations! Additionally, advertisers can purchase World Lenses, which uses the phone’s rear camera to display an augmented world filled with rainbows, flowers and various other animations.
The simplicity of these AR tools means that anyone can tell a story through a standard lens that audiences can then play with. Eitan Pilipski, lead of Snapchat’s camera platform team, states
“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… We want to empower and evangelize a new ecosystem of creativity.”
Using similar ideas, Facebook introduced AR Studio, a powerful medium for creators to bring their art to life in front of a large digital audience. In 2017, when Facebook launched the Camera Effects Platform, communication on the platform became more exciting with AR interactive filters, frames, effects and more. Through AR Studio, developers and artists build their own AR experiences, which can be used with photos, videos or live broadcasts. After an individual’s filter, interactive effects or animation is approved, it is then published in the new Facebook camera.
Also, Frame Studio, a web-based application, can also be utilised to create AR Facebook filters. Anyone with a Facebook page or profile is able to design a frame, which is then published in the camera and newsfeed alongside the creator’s name. Super simple, right?
AR is of developing interest in the marketing industry, especially now that the most prominent industries utilise a mixed bag of technologies. Custom filters and lenses have a lot of potential in marketing, as they enable the creation of AR that can be relevant to specific events, businesses and more. Fun, immersive tools such as these are currently very beneficial, particularly since millennial users have greatly integrated these AR experiences into their daily lives, with Adweek reporting that users send more than 2.5 billion Snapchats a day — that’s a lot of selfies!
Through users experimenting, playing and social sharing, the level of brand engagement increases, and greater awareness is generated. In collaboration with MTG Creative, we at Mbryonic created fun Facebook lenses to promote their Swedish TV shows. In ‘Are You The One, Sweden’ we designed an algorithm to detect whether two individuals who are looking at the screen are a potential match, whilst in ‘Parneviks’ you are added in as part of the cast. We have also created a Facebook filter that is coming out soon, which changes your face into Donald Trump, allowing individuals to pretend to be the president … maybe you can actually make America great again!
Moreover, Snapchat has partnered with numerous agencies, running over 100 sponsored lenses. Taco Bell, for example, created a lens where one’s head turns into a taco. It was reported by Adweek that the brand set a record by having their lens viewed more than 224 million times!
These companies have discovered a new side to their brand’s voice through the medium of organic sharing, creating unique memories for users. Utilising AR for brand growth has been so successful that Google, Apple and Amazon are now involved in the development of AR too.
PRICE & ACCESSIBILITY
What makes these tools appealing is that they are user-friendly and do not require any advanced technical skills, allowing anyone to develop a frame, filter and/or lens. Just pick a subject of your choice and get started!
Another benefit is that it is cheap to create these filters & lenses. The price of a filter or lens on Snapchat is determined by your geofence (a virtual geographic boundary) and how long you want it to run for. For instance, a filter covering a single football match will be much cheaper than a filter used for the whole of the World Cup.
Lastly, Facebook and Snapchat can be conveniently accessed across any iOS and Android smart device. This makes the created AR filters more accessible and shareable across diverse platforms.
Overall, these applications are giving individuals and businesses a voice, capturing user experiences in a fun and simple manner. It is a step in the right direction for AR to expand, and who wouldn’t want more entertaining selfies?