So it makes sense that the company would add some new tools to Lens Studio as 2019 enters the home stretch into 2020. Released this week and available for download, Lens Studio 2.3 gives creators the ability to customize materials and create realistic 3D masks.
With the new Material Editor, users can create their own shaders through a visual programming interface. In addition, Snap has included a Material Library with a wide range of shaders, properties, and actions.
Once creators have crafted their new materials, they can apply them in the new Face Mesh feature. With this tool, users can create face masks that adhere to contours and adjust to facial expressions in real-time.
To help creators take advantage of these new capabilities, Snap has also added new Face Mesh and Material Editor templates. In addition, Lens Studio has a new Chain Physics template to emulate the physics of hanging chains, which can be useful for creating virtual earring try-on Lenses.
To highlight the new abilities, Snapchat has given top billing in the Lens Explorer to three Lens Studio creations that use custom materials and/or 3D face masks: Fierce Lux, mandelaMeshMess, and Liquid Metal. Snapcodes for the three Lenses are embedded below for your scanning convenience.
According to Snap's latest findings, the Lens Studio community has published more than 600,000 AR experiences, with about 100,000 created in the third quarter alone. Lens Studio creations account for more than 15% of AR content captured in Snapchat, with the top performers reaching billions of views.
So while Snapchat still pales in comparison to Facebook in terms of overall daily active users, its innovation in augmented reality (despite Facebook's copying of its AR platform) is helping the app close the gap.