My Definitive Software Guide for AR

December 27, 2019

No one's ever asked what software/resources I use when creating my filters and lenses, but I'm going to tell you anyway. Ready? Let's get started.

Final AR Effect

For actually creating the effect, I use Lens Studio for Snapchat and Spark AR for Instagram/Facebook. These are the two platforms I'm creating on right now. I definitely think Lens Studio is easier to use and more powerful than Spark AR, but I am starting to like Spark AR a little more than I did before.


Blender is my go-to software for anything 3D. It is powerful, versatile, and 100% free to use. There is an awesome community so it is rare you'll ever come up against a roadblock someone else hasn't already found an answer for.

As far as creating 3D assets, here is a list of some helpful resources:

  • HDRI Haven for lighting your scene.
  • Texture Haven for textures.
  • CG Bookcase also has a ton of great textures.
  • is also a great place for textures. The free plan limits you to lower resolution textures, but that's just fine because the AR effects have file size limits anyway.
  • Fee3D is a good place to find 3D models.
  • TurboSquid is also a great place to find models.
  • BlendSwap has an okay selection of Blender specific models, but what I really like about BlendSwap is that you can filter by CC0 (public domain) models.
  • Mixamo is great for animating your characters, especially if you're like me and not great at animating.


My software of choice here is Affinity Designer for anything related to vector graphics and GIMP for traditional raster graphics. However, I am thinking of switching over to Affinity Photo from GIMP sometime in the future. The Affinity software is paid and I've traditionally stuck with the open source stuff, but I love using Designer and I get things done way faster than I did in Inkscape. Speaking of Inkscape, it's a free alternative for working with vector graphics.

And some helpful resources for the 2D stuff:

  • Logos by Nick is an awesome YouTube channel for learning how to use both Inkscape and GIMP.
  • Pixabay is my go-to place for images. What I really like about Pixaby is that you can search specifically for illustrations or vector graphics. Most of my lens icons are pieced together from here.

That about sums up my AR making toolkit. Every single lens/filter I've made has been touched by at least one of the software packages/resources listed above. There is plenty of other great software out there you could use, but these are my personal preferences.

Want to work with me? Let's talk!