For its latest augmented reality trick, Snapchat has brought the world an AR Lens that has become a bit of a viral hit on Twitter as users turn themselves and their favorite movie stars into characters out of a Pixar movie.
According to a Snap spokesperson, more than 215 million Snapchat users have interacted with the Cartoon 3D Style Lens since its launch on June 10. The Lens has tallied more than 1.7 billion views over that period.
With the Cartoon 3D Style Lens, Snapchat can remix photos taken with the Snapchat camera or images taken elsewhere and saved to your camera roll where the app recognizes a face. However, Snapchat can also work its magic with video, and this is where the real fun begins.
Flip the camera to the rear lens, and suddenly you can remix any scene from film or TV as a Pixar-style animated movie. Perhaps you've seen the new Marvel series Loki on Disney Plus, or check out the God of Mischief's previous appearances across the MCU. Now, you can see how Loki would look if Disney decided to cross-pollinate Marvel with Pixar.
Using the camera roll functionality, you can save images of your favorite stars and turn them into animated characters. We've turned Patrick Stewart as Borg-assimilated Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washinton in Get Out.
On the more meme-able end, how about Dikembe Mutumbo from the Geico commercials, or smug Leonardo DiCaprio from Django Unchained?
Trying Cartoon 3D Style with a scene from Breaking Bad demonstrates the Lens's ability to augment more than one face at once. We achieved fantastic results from Schitt's Creek and The Big Lebowski as well.
I'm quite pleased by how footage from Seinfeld looks in Pixar style, as well as comedian John Mulaney doing stand-up.
I've had a bit of fun with the Lens in the wild as well. I caught the Carpool Kids at The Nick in Birmingham, and the Lens performed admirably under variable light conditions.
The results can be mixed for some. I've got a shaved head and beard, but Cartoon 3D renders my likeness with a receding hairline and a five o'clock shadow instead. Hey, Snapchat, there's a reason I shave my head; I know what's happening up there.
You may have noticed your Facebook feed filled with quadrants of cartoon photos of your friends. I was surprised to learn that these photos are actually created with an app called Voila 3D. It's a really sweaty app that pushes users to purchase a subscription to remove ads and speed up the processing time in turning photos into cartoon style.
Overall, Snapchat's Cartoon 3D is a better experience. Not only does Snapchat's Cartoon 3D Lens come without the upsell, but it also provides its results instantly with photos or video, without the processing wait time.
It's not Snapchat's first attempt at a cartoon filter. Search the Lens Explorer for "cartoon" and you'll find several options. But Cartoon 3D is arguably its best version of this kind of Lens yet. It's enough to make at least one animator worry about his future job prospects. So far, the Lens is so popular it has inspired its own meme posting activity, take a look...