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Snap Releases New GenAI AR Tools, Enhances Lens Studio

On Tuesday, Snap expanded Lens Studio and launched generative AI (GenAI) tools for enhancing augmented reality (AR) effects on videos.

The Snapchat owner introduced a suite that enables users to apply realistic special effects when filming themselves using phone cameras. Digital experts explained that AR technology allows the overlaying of computer-generated effects onto photos and videos of the real world.

Older versions of AR technology offered simple effects, like placing a stationary hat on the head or adding animal-like facial features. Next-generation AR grants more life-like additions, like a hat that moves seamlessly with the head while matching the video’s lighting.

Snap calls the advanced AI-generated effects lenses and bets that they can drive more users and advertisers to Snapchat. Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel reiterated that well-made AI-powered lenses would look authentic to the casual observer.

Evan Spiegel expressed confidence that lenses can help Snapchat become one of the world’s five most popular social media platforms. As of April 30, 2024, it ranked ninth, with approximately 800.00 million global daily active users (DAU).

Spiegel added that Snapchat only ranked tenth at the start of the year with a DAU of 635.00 million. He reiterated that Snap may double the 25.98% user growth the social site enjoyed in the first four months of 2024.

Lens Studio to Represent Snap in AI Arms Race

Industry watchers said Lens Studio could help Snap gain a leading position in the AI arms race, ahead of much larger competitors. This studio is the firm’s developer program, which helps artists and developers build AR features for Snapchat and other platforms.

According to tech specialists, the California-headquartered company has long been a pioneer in AR, surpassing rivals like Meta and Apple. Snap Chief Technology Officer Bobby Murphy said technological improvements would cut the time required to construct AR effects from weeks to hours.

The Lens Studio upgrade includes a GenAI assistant that can answer questions and provide suggestions if a developer needs help. Another tool uses word prompts to generate a 3D model, allowing users to skip the first step in making an AR lens.

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