I Spent My Summer Making an Augmented Reality Display for Hipster Parties.

Hey my name is Jordan O’Neill, I am a 3D artist living in Winnipeg. I'm currently working at Lumo Interactive for the summer. I'll be going back to college this fall. At Lumo Interactive, my work consist of sketching and animating rough concepts/ideas, constructing models, assets, environments, and designing styles and colour palettes. I do what I do here simply because I find it fun and enjoyable. It’s been my passion ever since I was a kid, really.

The big project I focused on this summer is called Party Animals. It's a fun little augmented reality app that uses the Kinect and Unity to replace people's heads and hands with animal heads and feet in a live video display. The concept was definitely inspired by hipster art featuring animal heads on human bodies. A huge part of my job was to model all the 3D assets for this project.

The initial Party Animals app doesn't include any game mechanics. We designed the app so that you can change the animal you are by jumping. However, this type of augmented reality experience, (where you see your actual body augmented with a variety of 3D elements), could easily lead to variety of mini games. It wouldn't be very hard to add an element of gameplay where selecting the correct animal to give you 'powers' to overcome a different animal (controlled by a second player) is how you win the game.

Art by Dada Dreams via  Etsy

Art by Dada Dreams via Etsy

This type of augmented reality display will also be used more and more in fun interactive ads (perhaps for toys, sports, games, etc). Instead of seeing a passive video ad, it won't be long before you see yourself in digital displays you pass by in malls and airports. Maybe you'll see yourself inside a new sports car, or on a beach. Here's a super fun AR display created by Pepsi Max that people won't forget anytime soon:

Personally, I'm a lot more excited about augmented reality's role in the next generation of gaming experiences. :)

One of the often overlooked, but extremely fun, aspects of augmented reality vs. virtual reality is that when you're standing in front of a display that has you in it, everyone around you sees what you see (which isn't the case with VR). Imagine an AR experience where part of the gameplay involves seeing yourself being attacked by virtual enemies that latch on to your video body. You might have to to shake your head or flail your arms to get them away from you. Because everyone around you sees what you're seeing, it's just as fun for the people around to watch you flail all over as it is for you to play.

Augmented reality display apps are popping up all over on mobile devices (the Snapchat face swapper is a good example), but I like large display AR because a bunch of people can participate at once, and the Kinect allows you to track and react to a person's entire body. Because of this, apps like Party Animal have a social element that appeals to a wide range of people, which is especially great for entertaining and engaging families.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Party Animals is received when it's available. We're having some issues with the Windows market right now, so it looks like the app will initially be available on the Lumo Interactive website, but we're hoping it will launch on the Windows app market soon.

To learn more about the Party Animals app, you can contact Lumo Interactive.

To learn more about me and my work, visit my website! http://jordanoneill.com/