Time to level up.

Warm Up: Becoming a Lens Creator

Hello there!

Welcome to the AR Lens Challenge. 

You have probably worked with Lenses before in your own use of Snapchat. They are the filters you use to add effects, backgrounds, and interactions to the photos and videos you take.

Before you go further, we would appreciate if you could fill out this 2-minute survey so we can learn more about your experience. Thanks!

What you need to know:

Through this experience, you will learn to make your own Snap Lenses and share them with the world. This will be a self-guided, self-paced learning experience. The goal is to complete all tutorials by the time we all meet during our live Lens Lab.

Let’s start with this quick warm-up, where you will prototype your own Lens idea.

For each of the tutorials, you will need: 

  • 💻 A computer
  • 🤳 Digital photo of your face (selfie)
  • 👻 Lens Studio software downloaded
  • 📐 Image editing software, i.e. Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Figma (free), or Inkscape (free)

By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to ...

  • Create your first Lens prototype using existing digital imaging software and abilities
  • Warm up graphic design skills as your prepare to engage with Lens Studio software

Estimated time: 45 minutes.

Before you Continue, Open Your Phone!

The Snapchat app isn’t just social! Yes, it's known for funny lenses, but it enables creators and designers to build a different and creative environment onto our physical world. Take a peak:

Many people don’t know that the Camera Platform Team at Snap developed Lens Studio, the platform that enables any user to go from consumer to producer! The Snap AR Lens Challenge enables anyone to take their 2D designs and facilitates an opportunity to learn how to build for friends to enjoy.


Learn more about Lens Studio and download the desktop app. Let’s dive in further about the Snap AR Lens Challenge.

Step 1: Brainstorm

1. ✏️ Brainstorm five quick ideas for AR Lens filters. You can use the Lens Ideas Worksheet or draw them on a paper / on your computer. It doesn’t matter if they’re “good” or “bad”, since this just is to generate ideas. If you can think of them, you should draw them!

📎 Lens Idea Worksheet

Step 2: Choose

✏️ Choose your favorite lens from your five ideas and draw it in more detail using the Lens Prototype Worksheet.

📎 Lens Prototype Worksheet

Step 3: Design

📐 Create a digital version of your main Lens idea by using an image editing tool that you are already familiar with. Your final product should look as if you took a selfie using your new Lens filter.

Suggested workflow: 

1. Learn about design software. If you are familiar with design software, you may skip this step. If you are new to design, welcome! We suggest you check out Figma or Canva, which are free apps.

2. Import a photo of yourself to use as the background layer of your image.

This photo should be a selfie with the same dimensions and a similar face-to-frame ratio as a regular Snap photo.

3. Create a new layer. On this layer, add one element of your new Lens. You can draw, import photos, use shapes, etc. Make sure that it fits well on your face.

Example: You are making a flower crown. Your first element is a headband that acts as a base for the flowers, on a layer labeled “Layer 1: Headband”.

4. Add more elements as you build out your Lens. Each element should have a different and clearly labeled layer to make it easy to edit.

Example: For your flower crown, you can add a second layer for big flowers (“Layer 2: Big Flowers”), a third for smaller flowers (“Layer 3: Small Flowers”), and so on.

5. Edit each element until you achieve the desired effect of your Lens prototype.

6. Save your work as a .PNG file.

Step 4: Share

Congratulations on creating your first Lens concept! 

You can now upload your final work to the Warm-Up Unit Padlet

In the caption of your photo, write your answer to the following question: 

  • How was the experience of creating your own Lens?
  • What do you want to learn next?
💬  Padlet #0: Warm Up

Extra Credit

Want to know more about Lens Studio, how to use it, and how to bring 2D art to AR? 

Check out this video series: