Snapchat Filters vs Lenses – What’s The Difference

Technology has come a long way. Nowadays, we can easily interact with our friends on social media. As you’re probably aware, there are numerous online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, that allow you to connect with others.

Snapchat is one of these platforms that has exploded in popularity over the past several years.  Released in 2011, the app was created by three former students at Stanford University, Reggie Brown, Evan Spiegel, and Bobby Murphy. A mobile app, it allows individuals to send pictures or videos to friends, all of which are only available for a short period of time. Since their launch in 2011, they have gained more than 191 million users around the world—most of which are between the ages of 18 and 24. 

While the ability to send disappearing images is nice, Snapchat is perhaps best known for their lenses and filters. Essentially, they allow you to add special effects to your photos and videos. If you’ve ever used the app, you’ve probably come across them at one point or another. What’s the difference between lenses and filters, though? Let’s have a look.

Snapchat Filters

Snapchat filters are essentially static overlays that you can decorate your photos with. Unlike lenses, which are displayed when you’re taking the image, the effects are added after you have taken the photo.

Note: Some Snapchat filters are only available for a limited amount of time. If there’s a particular one that you like, you might want to snap a few photos with it and add it to your memories. You never know when it will be gone from the list!

Geo Filters

Geofilters allow you to add graphical overlays to your photos if you are at a certain geographical location. Depending on where you are in the world, the effect will be different. In general, though, the graphics that are displayed are based on words or iconic images that are associated with the area. While they were initially only available in specific communities, they can now be used anywhere. As a matter of fact, people can upload their own geofilters for others to use. For instance, some businesses have begun to use this as a form of advertisement and branding.

Other Filters

As you can expect, there’s more to the app than just geofilters. For instance, you can let people know how cold or hot it is at your location using the Temperature Filter. In fact you can share your location itself using the Location Filter. If you want to spice up your image, you can also add color effects (e.g. black and white, sepia, neon, etc.). Other filters also allow you to display when your photo is taken and the speed at which you’re traveling.

Making Your Own Filter

If you want, you can even create your own Snapchat filters. The way it works, any user can submit a filter for approval. There are two different ways to make them—either on their website or on the app.

Creating a Snapchat Filter on the Website

To make your own Snapchat filter, first access the website on a web browser. Once it has loaded, select “Create a Filter” on the left-hand side. From there, you’ll be able to select an occasion such as Birthday, Prom, or Celebrate. After choosing one, you can edit the template by adding text, photos, or emojis. When you’re done, you can go to the next page to assign a start and an end time for the filter. The final step is then to draw your geofence—that is, to specify the location in which users will be able to use the filter. Once it has been submitted, Snapchat will review the order, a process that can take a few hours.

Unfortunately, creating a Snapchat filter is not free; you will have to pay a certain amount based on the square foot of the filter. Unless it takes up the whole screen or if you plan on having it available for long periods of time, though, it should be quite affordable. 

Creating a Snapchat Filter on the App

You can also create a filter on the official app. To do so, click on your username at the left-hand side of the screen. From there, select “Filters & Lenses” after clicking on the settings icon. After choosing “Filter”, you will be shown a number of occasions that you can choose from; you can also opt to “Start from Scratch.”

Similar to the website, it will allow you to customize the filter using stickers, photos, and text. Once everything is good, you can enter a start and end time on the screen. Select “Continue” and you will be brought to the next page, where you can create a geofence. Afterward, it will display the price for the filter. Upon paying, all that’s left is to wait for the approval email.

Snapchat Lenses

Snapchat lenses are different from filters in that they add animations to your selfies. Ultimately, they are a collection of augmented reality enhancements that you can use on your photos and videos. Given that it uses face detection technology, all of the objects (e.g. bunny ears, rainbows, dog face), characters, and texts that you add will follow your facial movements. As mentioned earlier, you can set lenses in place prior to taking the photo.

As with filters, you can also create your own lenses. The process is a little different, however, for you will need to use a special tool called Lens Studio. Released in late 2017, the software gives you the ability to create and share augmented reality experiences.

Perhaps the best part of all though is that the entire process is free. That’s right—you won’t have to pay any fees to make your own Snapchat lens. All you have to do is download the program onto your computer (it is available for Windows and MacOS) and you can get started! It might take you a while to get a hold of how everything works, but once you get it, you’ll be able to create and share your own augmented reality lenses.

Aside from Snapchat Lens Studio, there are several other programs that you can use to build and create your lenses. For instance, you can use Apple ARKit, Snap Art, Google ARCore, Facebook AR Studio, or Snap Kit.