Augmented Reality or AR consists of displaying virtual content (images, 2D / 3D objects, sound…) on a live video capture from a real environment. This is an experience that requires a digital device (smartphone screen, glasses etc.) to be enjoyed.
In the past few years, advances in software and hardware have allowed us to make major upgrades in photo / video quality, integration and content optimization in Augmented Reality.
The concepts that use it are regularly used as examples in the press to present brands in an innovative angle by offering their audiences a unique experience.
Though, as the possibilities of AR grow from year to year, the means to access them, have not changed so much. The process remains unchanged: a new experience requires the download of a new app…
Creating a AR standalone app guarantees superior rendering quality and complete control of the tool. The app responds to a specific need and sometimes requires state-of-the-art equipment. The success of this choice comes from the fact that the app is a format adapted to professional tools (Complete Anatomy, IKEA Place …) and / or large-scale and sustainable events (permanent exhibition of museums, Pokémon Go,…) . These are high value-added experiences.
For short or occasional events, the programming of a standalone app represents most of the time a too high investment for its organizers. In addition, the storage space is a rare commodity, pushing the user to install an app likely to saturate his storage is a real challenge!
For 2 years now, social networks such as Snapchat and Facebook have decided to fully assume their role as a multimedia content provider by launching their respective frameworks for creating and designing filters: Lens Studio from Snapchat and AR Studio from Facebook. This conquest of the new medium that is AR is no coincidence. One of the factors of this recent interest is the markerless technology. So far, the use of AR was constrained by the presence of a physical marker (qr code, visual etc.) which served as a reference for placing the different virtual objects. Today, you can simply launch Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram and holding your smartphone in front of you to reveal content in Augmented Reality. The marker has become obsolete…
A new medium of expression
The big news is that Snapchat and Facebook have recently opened their platforms to content creators so that they can offer AR filters to their communities. Imagine… no need to force your audiense to download an app on the Apple Store or Google Play to pass your message or promote your product. You go directly through the most used platforms in the world (nearly 2.5 billion users on Snapchat and Facebook in total)! Not to mention the technical costs that decrease drastically… In short, Augmented Reality is democratized! These experiences are nevertheless less sophisticated than an actual app. However, Snapchat and Facebook regularly communicate their future developments, and we can tell you this is promising!
In sum, “social” AR is like a communication accelerator whose vector is the sharing of emotions and moments. This is why it is particularly well adapted to public events, concerts and short promotional events.
Currently, Snapchat and Facebook allow you to choose between different effects.
The Face Mask
Face Tracking allows you to apply a layer directly on a user’s face. This mask can be in 2D or 3D. It can also be interactive. Such as the example made for Happy Meal on the occasion of the 60th birthday of the Smurfs, where once in a selfie position, your face turns into Smurf then starts to change by clicking on the screen.
The AR Object
2D or 3D Assets (characters or objects) are integrated in your environment and are tracked on the ground, right in front of you. With your back camera, you can now move around augmented objects. Such as the Instagram filter made for the NLP group where the dancer appears in front of you.
As you have understood, Augmented Reality – and more particularly the one accessible via social networks – opens a path for creators and advertisers willing to communicate in an innovative way.
At myReality.design, we have obviously not been idle… Since the launch of the service a year ago, we have become an official partner of Snapchat, Facebook & Instagram and have to our credit more than 50 productions of Snap Lenses and Facebook / Instagram Effects 🔥.
You can find all our filters on the Projects page.