AR Talks | Jeferson Araujo
This time, we guest Jeferson Araujo: the 28 years old architect from Brazil who fell in love whose effects are now crazy popular. He shared with us his story, his take on the future of filters and a lot of essential tips for the beginners.
Hello, Jeferson! You are an architecture graduate – how did it happen that you’ve turned to Augmented Reality and started creating filters for social media? How does your education in architecture relate to your artistic work?
It was in the aptitude for augmented reality combined with the passion for internet virals that I found my space. From there, I said goodbye to architecture. And, in the end, learning the course actually helped a lot. I credit my success to the training, which gave me fine notions of proportion, geometry, 3D drawing, working with textures and colors, as my aesthetic notion from architecture helped me a lot in the beginning. But instead of meticulous projects and time-consuming approval, I opted for the speed of the web and so AR was my chosen platform.
With over 300 Instagram AR filters made, you are obviously a very experienced creator. Could you say that you’ve developed a particular style of your filters? Is there anything that links them together? From where you take inspiration for the new AR projects?
With my first filters becoming instant viral, days after I created the very first, customers didn’t take long to arrive. In the beginning it was just simple filters, as customers wanted versions of my filters but with their own identities.
As I was still focused on finishing my architecture course, it was like a hobby and a way to earn extra money, so I did it in my free time for my friends and influencers, while chatting with my friends from the Brazilian community of creators.
As time went by, my effects were spreading more and more, and reaching bigger and bigger artists, and thus becoming something unbelievable in my life. At that time, I had already graduated in architecture, and decided to dedicate myself fully to augmented reality.
I’m a person who thinks very quickly about conceptual issues, so I’ve always found it very easy to create new things. This was a big difficulty in architecture, as I needed to have a concept once, and work on it for months, until I finished that project. That was the deciding factor that made me fall in love with augmented reality and make this life-changing decision.
My filters have a common feature, where I try to play with reality, bringing everyday characters, such as drag queens, tattoos, accessories, that is the things that you could be in real life, but generally you are not. Another factor that I try to bring a lot into my effects, and that I brought from architecture, is the realism of the materials. As this is augmented reality, they must blend seamlessly. There is no room for poorly finished materials. That’s the shock factor that makes people fall in love with an effect. The perfect blending with reality.
In the past, I was building my audience and reach on Instagram, so I was following the recipe of success – filter just to make people ‘prettier.’ It reduces the nose, enlarges the mouth, puts on eyelashes, and we have a recipe. But we can create much more than that. Today, I don’t look for more views, I conquered my audience and I want my work to contribute with something healthier that is fun and doesn’t cause harm to anyone’s self-esteem. I take care not to hurt sensitivities and create illusions of perfection, because there is no such thing as a perfect face, skin or lips. The person needs to like to see themselves in the mirror, without any filters.
Your Instagram feed is full of curated, amazing photos, and many of your AR effects were made to enhance pictures in a subtle way. What’s your take on photography and its relationship to Augmented Reality?
When I was 16 years old, I worked as a wedding photographer for a while. I’ve always liked photography, but I ended up discovering that it didn’t become a pleasure when it became a job for me. I ended up leaving this profession and continuing as a hobby I have until today. I like to photograph everything harmoniously to save for later.
In augmented reality, just as I try to bring realism with materials, I try to bring realism with cameras and film. Since I started practicing Spark, in 2019, I have tried to make VHS. Using patches from Josh Beckwith and help from the community, I got a very satisfying result. From there, I continued to produce different versions of lomographic cameras, films, vhs, fisheye, etc.
You’re not only a known community AR creator, but you also develop filters for clients. Could you share your favorite cases you’ve worked on with clients?
Earlier in May 2021, I was surprised by the news that I had been chosen to create the official Augmented Reality filter for “Cruella”, where users could share stories on Instagram of themselves with makeup and visuals inspired by the new movie of the Disney character. Disney+ Brazil used my profile to promote the film that was released worldwide on May 28th using the filter.
Another case that I love is the AR Effect that I created for the Eudora brand, in order to be able to test the lipsticks of the line that was being launched. The Brazilian cosmetics company Eudora reached out to me to develop color filters for their lipstick line, since with the pandemic it is not possible to “test” directly on the lips. Then 28 colors were created, for the Soul line, for Instagram.
Do you have any tips for the beginner AR freelancers?
The biggest tip I can give you is not to start creating AR in a hurry to earn money. I know everyone wants money, but first you need to learn the basics and the intermediary and then start working for clients. Another fundamental rule is: have a solid portfolio. You do amazing things. Okay. But where are they? It’s hard to believe if the customer can’t see it.
According to recent data from Facebook, there are 600,000 creators. Stand out from the crowd, be an artist. Being an augmented reality creator allows you to help your client to see things that are not obvious in the creation process, so the conceptualization part must be very well worked: never absorb the orders made by the client and follow literally. You have the power to take the customer’s idea and turn it into something amazing with your creativity, bringing many benefits to your customer, and building a solid career for your AR business.
Allow time for this much-needed and important conceptualization process for creating the filters. In Cruella’s filter, for example, it took me almost a month to set up the concept and create the filter. Sometimes a filter seems to be an easy one to create, but you have to try several times to see if it works or not. Studying the best solutions for your client’s original idea is essential to collect good results in the future.
If you are interested in learning how to create AR effects or improving your creation process, I will open a class soon, pre-registration can be done on my website (it will be in Brazilian Portuguese but subtitled in multiple languages): jefersonaraujo.com/creators
The Brazilian AR market seems to be very vivid. In your opinion, are Instagram filters popular in your country? Do you have any thoughts on the way AR is being used in Brazil?
Brazil is one of the most active countries on the Internet. All sorts of effects are popular here, but mostly effects involving the face and environments. In 2021, I want to share my knowledge with young creators, help strengthen the Spark AR market, especially in Brazil. A course will be announced soon in partnership with a market-leading course platform.
What do you think is the future of AR on social media? Will it become solely a marketing format or will it keep its artistic soul? How quickly and in which direction will it develop when it comes to new functionalities?
It’s hard to talk about the future. I know that at present, augmented reality on social media is no longer a novelty, but a very important branding tool that should be adopted by brands that want to stand out in the market and that want people talking about them.
Consumers are no longer attracted to traditional advertising, such as banners on websites or advertisements made by digital influencers, and need to feel increasingly connected with brands to feel like buying. The brands that strive to create this connection with the customer are the ones that come out ahead in this race. Augmented reality is the best way to connect with the customer, after all, you can put your brand and your customer in the same environment.
Augmented reality ads are immersive, which means they help marketers create a certain emotional connection with customers. Unlike images or banners, for example, AR ads are interactive and realistic: consumers can see and even interact with them. Imagine, for example, you might be turning into a character in a newly released movie. Now think about it: you are passing by on the street, and you are passing by a billboard of another movie. Which of these two movies will you feel more like watching? Undoubtedly, most customers will opt for the one with an AR ad.
Jeferson, thank you very much for taking your time to share your experience with our readers! Good luck on your next projects 🍀