Snap unveils advanced Generative AI for realistic AR effects

Snap, the owner of Snapchat, has launched its latest iteration of generative AI technology, enhancing the realism of special effects for users filming themselves with phone cameras. This strategic move aims to maintain Snap’s position in the augmented reality (AR) space and stay competitive against larger social media rivals like Meta Platforms.

AR experiences powered by GenAI for Snapchat

The latest IDC report forecasts AR / VR headset shipments will be growing 7.5 percent in 2024. VR / AR headset shipment volume is expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.9 percent from 2024–2028.

According to IDC, Meta, Apple, ByteDance, Xreal, and HTC are the leading vendors in the global AR / VR headset market in Q1 2024.

Snap says AR developers can now create AI-powered lenses, which Snapchat users can incorporate into their content. Additionally, Snap unveiled an upgraded version of its developer program, Lens Studio. This enhanced tool allows artists and developers to create AR features for Snapchat and other platforms more efficiently.

By introducing more advanced and whimsical special effects, known as lenses, Snap hopes to attract new users and advertisers to its platform. At present, over 800 million customers use Snapchat every month. Over 300 million Snapchat customers engage with augmented reality every day.

“We’re previewing Snap’s real-time image model that can instantly bring your imagination to life in AR. This early prototype makes it possible to type in an idea for a transformation and generate vivid AR experiences in real time,” Bobby Murphy, Snap’s Chief Technology Officer, said.

Bobby Murphy says the significant improvements in Lens Studio version can reduce the time needed to create AR effects from weeks to hours, enabling more complex and sophisticated designs.

The new suite of generative AI tools in Lens Studio includes an AI assistant to help developers with questions and a feature that generates three-dimensional images from text prompts, eliminating the need to develop 3D models from scratch. This innovation marks a significant leap from earlier AR technology, which was limited to simple effects like placing a hat on a person’s head in a video, Reuters news report said.

Snap’s advancements enable AR developers to create more realistic lenses, such as a hat that moves seamlessly with a person’s head and matches the video’s lighting. Bobby Murphy also mentioned Snap’s future plans to create full-body AR experiences, such as generating new outfits, a task currently challenging to achieve.

These technological enhancements reflect Snap’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of AR and generative AI, positioning the company as a key player in the evolving landscape of social media and digital creativity.

Snap’s advancements in AR technology and the introduction of generative AI tools present opportunities for developers to create innovative content and for advertisers to engage with users in more immersive ways. The enhanced Lens Studio is poised to streamline the creation process, allowing for faster and more complex AR effects, potentially driving greater user engagement and attracting new advertisers to the platform.

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