Throughout Thursday's virtual Snap Partner Summit, Snapchat's parent company made a profound statement: If you use Snapchat, you're a creator.
Of Snapchat's more than 500 million creators (aka daily active users), about 40% interact with AR daily to capture content.
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Considering AR's appeal in Snapchat, it's no surprise that Snap used the event to introduce a veritable plethora of new AR capabilities, headlined by the latest version from its Lens Studio platform for creating AR experiences.
Lens Studio 4.0 adds new AR capabilities in 3D Body Mesh and Cloth Simulation. The former improves upon the full-body tracking introduced in Lens Studio 3.4 with volumetric tracking, making AR effects look more realistic, and support for tracking multiple persons within the camera view. The latter enables creators to imitate the physics and look of textiles so that virtual effects can compensate for movement and a variety of body types.
The new version also includes a new Visual Effects Editor, giving creators the power to add detailed visual effects, such as flames, fireworks, snow, and the like, without coding.
One of the first creators to take advantage of the new capabilities is Disney. A Lens promoting the upcoming film Cruella, a live-action origin story of the classic 101 Dalmations villain uses Visual Effects Editor to insert virtual flames, 3D Body Mesh to overlay a virtual gown on the user's body, and Cloth Simulation to make it look silky smooth and form-fitting.
In addition, Snapchat itself is getting new abilities for Scan, its Google Lens competitor for visual search, which has earned a place on the app's home screen.
Already capable of identifying songs, plants, dog breeds, wine bottles, car models, and more through partner integrations, Scan can now recommend clothing purchases based on outfits identified from the live camera feed or camera roll photos via a new feature called Screenshop.
Also coming soon to Scan is an Allrecipes integration. Scan an ingredient, and Snapchat will suggest recipes that you can prepare based on what it sees.
There are new Snap tools for creators beyond Lens Studio 4.0 as well, including a new iOS app called Story Studio. The app gives creators a wide breadth of editing tools for making polished videos and sharing them directly to Snapchat. Story Studio also supplies data on popular Sounds, #Topics, and Lenses so creators can craft content that caters to their audience.
Snap is making content created with Lenses more visible, too, by giving Spotlight, its feed of short-form videos, a space on the web. The Spotlight webpage is accessible via Chrome or Safari whether or not you have a Snapchat account. You can also upload videos to Spotlight through the site, but you'll need a Snapchat account for that.
Finally, Snap launched Creator Marketplace, which it announced just weeks ago. Creator Marketplace serves as a matchmaking service for brands to connect with verified Lens makers. The service will be limited to the top creators at launch but will expand to a wider audience next year.
"We are all so inspired by how the Snapchat community all over the world uses our camera. Because it's so easy, fast, and fun, more than 5 billion Snaps are created every day, on average, making the Snapchat Camera one of the most used cameras in the world," said Bobby Murphy, chief technology officer of Snap and co-founder of Snapchat, during the keynote presentation. "Whether it's a quick Snap to a friend, or a creative masterpiece shared to Spotlight, our camera is at the center of how Snapchatters communicate with loved ones and express themselves."
Since launching Lens Studio less than four years ago, Snap has grown its creator community to more than 200,000 users, who have generated almost two million Lenses that have garnered more than two trillion views.
A catalyst to the platform's success has been Snap's rapid pace of iteration, bringing new capabilities for more interesting AR experiences, full-body tracking, and tools for ease of use, such as segmentation templates.
Now, not only has Snap added more useful features to enhance AR experiences, but also it has expanded its tools for creators to further proliferate their AR content.
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