During Snap’s December Lens Fest, it launched a lens creation contest. Known as Lensathon, it offered AR creators the chance to compete for $200,000 in prizes. Now the results are in, and we’re highlighting the winners. You can see the top five below, with links to try them out.

But before jumping into the lenses themselves, a few key trends emerged from the winner’s circle. When talking to Snap associates this week, we learned that four of the top five Lensathon winners deployed teams to develop their lenses, as opposed to individual creators.

Though individual creators are increasingly empowered by AR platforms – per our “AR collides with the creator economy” thesis – development teams are likewise leaning in. And Snap has played into this trend with its recent version control, meant for multi-user development.

Otherwise, what did the winners reveal about the state of the art in lens development? For one, we’re seeing the bar raised on lens functionality beyond basic selfie filters. Some of these lenses resemble full-blown apps in their elaborate design and creative use of Lens Studio tools.

With that backdrop, let’s dive into the winners…

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First Place: VOXELIZE

Winning $40,000, the top prize winner was UAE-based Dinis Denis Rossiev for his VOXELIZE lens. This real-time AR voxel scanner exports 3D models as .glb files for editing in any 3D software. Users can use two-finger touch to scale and rotate a voxel grid of a target object.

“I’m a big fan of pixel and voxel art – everything square and low-poly,” Rossiev said of his inspirations for the lens. “Initially, I wanted to build a Lens that turns everything into voxels, but later it evolved into the idea of a full-featured voxel scanner that can be used to create art.”

Check it out here.

Second Place: Any Where

Winning $30,000, second-place winners were Czech creators Inna Sparrow and Volodymyr Kurbatov. Their Any Where fashion lens plays on sneaker culture by letting users style and save their own wearable AR footwear. This can be for fun, creative expression, or digital collectibles.

“The most exciting part for me is that this Lens gives the full power of self-expression to Snapchaters,” said Sparrow, “An unlimited number of possible collectibles can be created.”

Check it out here.

Third Place: The Mystery of King Tut

Winning $20,000, third-place winners were Canadian Farhad and Faraz Shababi, of Bad Decisions Studio. Their Mystery of King Tut lens. This educational puzzle-based game makes use of hand tracking to lead users through interactive sequences that teach and entertain.

“It’s exciting to be able to take people on a journey to Egypt regardless of where they are,” said Shababi. “As admirers of the history of ancient cultures, we believe this Lens is not only fun and immersive to use, it helps people to learn about the tomb of Tutankhamun.”

Check it out here.

Fourth Place: Table Towers

Winning $15,000, fourth-place winners were U.S.-based Dustin Kochensparger and Blake Gross of DB Creations. Their Table Towers lens is a sort of solarpunk-themed sim-city experience. Users can turn their living rooms into elaborate cities with skyscrapers, trains, and sky bridges.

“It’s exciting to create an AR experience that augments Snapchatters’ physical spaces and enables their creativity,” said Gross. “We focus on games that give people the tools to create something unique and new, so we’re excited to see what players create.”

Check it out here.

Fifth Place: A Farmer’s Life

Taking home $10,000, fifth place went to Dutch creators Max van Leeuwen and Danny Marree. Their A Farmer’s Life lens resembles what we might see if Farmville and AR had a baby. For an interactive kick, the farming simulator utilizes environmental conditions like rain, sunlight, and time.

Similarly, it incorporates hand-tracking for planting and harvesting crops. And it makes use of persistence so that crops are anchored to specific locations across user sessions. Beyond planting and harvesting, crops can be sold for money to reinvest in your augmented farm.

Check it out here.

More Where That Came From

So there you have it… but the top five only scratch the surface. 3,000 creators competed, and you can preview the top 30. Bottom line: the bar has been raised for lens functionality, as noted. We’re well past the days of dog ears and rainbow vomit… though there’s still likely a place for those.

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