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May 2, 2020

Using AR to advertise Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE)

Breaking the barrier between the digital and physical worlds.

This project is a concept I designed as anticipation to what we - as graphic designers - might be challenged to do on a daily basis in a somewhat-near-future. Because our technologies are rapidly evolving, so are all our jobs, and I wanted to learn new technics applied to an hybrid medium that mixes both the physical and the digital world : augmented reality.

When the physical world isn't enough.

Today's era is driven by technology & social media, changing at a pace we can barely follow. To get the attention, you need to stand out from a crowd of seven and a half billion people stuck to their smartphones with new and fresh ideas. What if we were to use that as an advantage? Take your random student - we'll call him John - walking back from high school and passing through the city. As he walks, he notices this poster for a festival he has never heard off. John likes new experiences and even more so festivals. But John also doesn't know any of the names in the line-up, so he was certainly not about to spend a third of his mom's monthly allowance - around a hundred euros - without knowing for sure what he would get.

As he picks up his phone to take a photo and check later, he notices a "scan me" label on the poster. When he does so, the poster animates and music is playing in his ears that doesn't belong to any of his playlists. "Sweet" he says, while a ticket purchase button appears. The end of the story you know already.

So this is how the first one looked. Pretty cool, aye ?

The process

Step one - First materials

The first step in this process is to have your creative idea set up from end to end - otherwise you'll encounter issues along the way. Sketches help a lot, you know the drill. Now that you have that sparking idea, let's create our first material in this : the poster. My weapons of choice for that matter remains the standard Illustrator & Photoshop, because of their compatibility with AfterEffects, which was the key ingredient to this project.

Step two - Let's animate

Following with this example from the Psychedelic Rave Party, you now need to animate the whole thing. I mainly used AfterEffects, along with Premiere for the rough cuts. Pay attention to sound synchronisation : you'll need a soundless video file for the AR version, and will have to re-sync the audio on top - use markers to make sure you're at the right spot. Careful tho, this one is not soundless !

Step three - Connecting the materials

For this step, many possibilities. The first one and most stable is through unity which, thanks to a plug-in called Vuforia, enables you to create your own AR reading app and online library of assets, but at a cost. For that matter I decided after a few experiments to roll with the application HP reveal as it is the one offering the highest stability for free - perfect for this experiment. The interface is pretty intuitive, only the way to access and actually see the augmented version is yet to be refined. You can only access augmented content if you follow her creator, which you have to find through her username, to finally be able to enjoy these visual interactions.

Screenshot from the HP Reveal interface - As you can see there's a first overlay with the sound, and a second one with the video.

Hungry for more ? I got some !

You can find below more animated posters created using the holy combination Illustrator - Photoshop - AfterEffects as mentioned earlier. Thanks for watching !

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