CyreneQ: Snapchat Mash-Up of Pop Culture, Fine Art, and AR Wins the Lens Challenge


For Snapchat influencer Cyrene Quiamco (known online as CyreneQ) who, unknown to many, is a multi-awarded web designer/graphic artist; Amazon best-selling author of 11 Seconds to Success; film promoter and a bona fide artist with a Magna Cum Laude in Fine Arts, venturing into AR was the next big challenge. This was one hurdle that didn’t come easy, even for a brand influencer with a lot of technical skills tucked under her pretty belt.

Just like everything that she does, she joined Snapchat’s Lens Studio Challenges with a sense of fun and 101% passion. In December when Snap introduced Lens Studio it was touted as a free tool that allows you to “create, publish, and share magical AR experiences. The tagline “the World is your canvas” proved irresistible to Cyrene who has made practically every medium and paintable surface her canvas. With a track record for promoting brands, she now had another handy tool; building and launching immersive lenses in a snap (pun intended) made storytelling more engaging to her more than 100,000 followers.

In January when Snap announced their first ever Lens Studio Challenge, Cyrene joined because she loved the theme which was to create a lens that brought the “New Year’s spirit (and motivation!) to anyone who plays with it”. The learning curve for AR and 3D has always been considered steep and it was no different for her. Cyrene spent hours which she said turned into days and weeks, culminating in her winning the first ever challenge! She’s now on her tenth lens and credits a huge chunk of her success to her followers who love to tell her what truly moves them, making her art and stories not just relevant but profitable.

“A lot of my followers have said they downloaded the lens studio and going to make a lens,” Cyrene said. Snap has made it easy by doing all the hard work so you all you need is to bring your artwork and ideas to the platform. Like Cyrene you can create a lens in 3 steps:

  1. Design your 3D image in another software and import it into Snap Lens Studio (this is the hard work according to Cyrene),
  2. Animate your creation,
  3. Publish and promote.

Cyrene claims that the words AR and 3D shouldn’t intimidate because Snap has provided guides and templates. They actually look like simplified versions of Adobe Photoshop or Maya crossed with a non-linear editing software. If you want to take it for a spin, you can download Lens Studio for free here. Some shots from Cyrene’s own workstation:

And how does she feel about all these?

“My art is now outside of a canvas, it’s in the real world! This is what some of my Augmented Reality Snapchat lenses look like in action! I either drew them or created a 3D model and used the Snapchat Lens Studio to give them interactive features!

If you have Snapchat, you can try them out by scanning the codes. It’s fun to make videos with them. Like the Ele lens, Ele looks like she’s in the room with me, but actually, I’m alone, talking to myself…lol” – Cyrene Quiamco, January 26, 2018

Why do you like Snapchat?

Cyrene: I like Snapchat because

1. Everything you need to create a video is there. You can edit clips and add special effects without the need for a computer. It’s easier!

2. Snapchat is more interactive. The audience aren’t just passive viewers, you have the ability to interact with them by playing games, having them join in the creation of your story by asking their input, etc.

3. It’s more personal. I feel like the audience are my friends, not just viewers or numbers. They help me create my stories, they play games that I create, and they see the rawest vlogs. The connection is closer on Snapchat.

What does the future hold?

Cyrene: For the future, I want to continue creating content and a relationship with my audience on Snapchat, But I also want to explore integrating my content on Snapchat to something that extends beyond a smartphone. I know that sounds vague, but I have projects that will tackle that goal, but it’s still a secret.

And that’s a wrap!

(Photos and videos courtesy of Cyrene Quiamco)