Viewers can use their phones to project the augmented reality film in their environment.
Two Stanford undergrads launched what may be the first augmented reality film in the world developed on their cell phones.
Max Korman, 18, and Khoi Le, 20, made the 3D animated short movie called Snowbird. Making use of a new package for developers that maps mobile device surroundings into 3D space in real time. Unlike the experience of virtual reality, augmented reality superimposes images into a user’s sight of the real world.
Snowbird is a 3D animated short movie about porcelain creatures that come to life in a snow globe. Viewers can place a snow globe into their surroundings at any time, any place.
“We wanted to make a story that showcased what AR is great at right now, which is placing virtual objects on real world surfaces. Eventually, we settled on a story set in a snow globe, inspired by theater-in-the-round performance,” Korman said.
“In creating Snowbird, we explored many user journeys,” said Le, an award-winning hacker and self-described “virtual reality dreamer,” about the filmmaking process. “The user experience of mobile AR is novel, and weaving story elements into the process required creative approaches. For example, a user has to move their phone to scan the surroundings. By spatializing virtual snowfall, we encouraged users to turn their phones to look around and up at the falling snow, a natural reaction to seeing snowflakes falling around you,” Le said.
Viewers can also experience the film by simply downloading the Snowbird app.
“I think that AR will fundamentally change how people work and learn, but also experience art and stories,” Korman said. “The premise of immersive technology is the ability for creators to completely curate a person’s visual and auditory experience. So, I think it has the potential to transform any activity that relies on these senses.”
Korman, who is set to graduate in June with an individually designed major in engineering, wants to continue solving storytelling and design problems in the immersive technology space.
Le, who still has a couple of years at Stanford, similarly plans to use immersive design and engineering principles to augment art, education, and gaming.