Snap has introduced ray tracing technology to its AR Lens Studio for developers around the world, the company announced Wednesday. Ray tracing is a technical capability that enables realistic renderings of light and glare on AR artifacts. Snap teams up with Tiffany & Co to launch the first ray tracing lens. The Lens allows users to try on Tiffany Lock bracelets with AR and purchase them directly in the app.
The company notes that it is the first to offer ray tracing capabilities on mobile on this scale. Ray tracing technology is typically used in offline applications such as console games, but Snap is now bringing the ultra-realistic quality to mobile.
Ray tracing simulates the way light behaves in the physical world by using an algorithm to trace the path a light ray would take in the real world. This allows developers to bounce virtual beams of light off digital objects and create realistic reflections. Ray tracing can improve the quality of any lens containing objects where light bounces and is reflected on their surface, such as metal, stone and glass surfaces.
“Snapchatters love using augmented reality to try on products from beloved fashion brands, making the shopping experience personal, accessible and fun,” the company said in a blog post. “Today we are excited to announce Ray Tracing, now available in Lens Studio for developers around the world. Now lenses with AR diamond jewelry, clothing and much more can achieve an ultra-realistic quality.”
Snap recently said that 250 million Snapchat users will have used its AR shopping lenses more than 5 billion times by 2022. Since making retail lenses is an area where Snap has been working to improve its technology, it’s no surprise that the company has introduced ray tracing. to his app to enhance this experience even more. The new AR enhancements announced today could also give Snap a way to better compete with larger social media companies.
Last year, Snap updated its Lens Web Builder that allowed bands to create shopping lenses in minutes. Snap also announced that it will offer retailers access to a new AR imaging technology in its 3D asset manager that makes it easier and faster to build AR shopping experiences.
The company recently teamed up with Amazon for its augmented reality powered Virtual Try-On shopping experience. As part of the partnership, Amazon began offering Snapchat users the ability to digitally try on eyewear styles from a range of popular brands. We understand the broader plan is to start the collaboration with eyewear, but expand to other categories in the coming months.