Snap recently announced the much-anticipated release of Lens Studio 3.4. Lens Studio is the interface that lens creators use to create experiences for the larger Snapchat community. It has been gradually increasing support for increasingly intricate AR features and effects, and the app is one of the entry points to AR for many users.
The Last Few Months of Updates
Snap, the company behind Snapchat and Spectacles, just announced Lens Studio 3.4. The update is the first major update to roll out since 3.3 was announced on the first day of Lens Fest in December of 2020. The takeaways of that release involved templates building on existing AR features of the app.
Lens Studio 3.1, which launched in August of 2020, was another big AR-focused release that centered on full-body effects. The effects didn’t include what we would call body tracking, but they did allow movements by a Snapchat user to trigger fun animations and effects.
A Look at Lens Studio 3.4
According to a release shared with ARPost, the release “includes updates that will not only improve your workflow, but also allow you to explore limitless creative possibilities with ease.” The key updates in the release are:
- 24-Point Hand Tracking;
- Full-Body Segmentation;
- 3D Multi-body Tracking;
- Updates to the Asset Library.
Of the updates, full-body segmentation and multi-body tracking were a pretty sure thing. They were kind of hinted at by the effects released in 3.1. They were also more-or-less promised in discussions at Lens Fest.
Similarly, the asset library has been growing in terms of size and ambition for a while now. Many of its features promote the machine learning that is required to power AR lenses in the experience.
“We are excited for the Asset Library and even more pleased to be a part of the very first assets available at launch,” said Dan Abdinoor. “It also makes perfect sense to us that Lens Studio would add the Asset Library, giving Creators a seamless way to use some of its most powerful features right inside the application.”
Abdinoor is CEO of Fritz.AI, a company that contributed ML models to the asset library. “This is an important step towards accessibility and ease of use for AR/VR,” said Abdinoor.
Hand tracking in the update is more of a surprise. It makes sense, given the gestures and poses favored by so many Snapchat users, it just wasn’t something that had been heavily discussed at previous events or hinted at in previous updates and experiences.
Always Looking Forward
Snap is always giving us more but there is always more to look forward to. To just name one, Lens Fest discussions also predicted “Local Lens” – essentially an expansion of their popular but somewhat limited Landmarks feature. The feature would potentially make Snapchat more social and more inclusive for people who don’t live near iconic places, but we haven’t seen it yet.
The idea isn’t to hold Snap to task for promises undelivered so much as to point out that there’s more where this came from. And, if they keep it up at this rate, we’ll see more from them in a couple of months with plenty to keep Snapchat users busy in the meantime.