5 XR Creators You Should Follow | March 2023
Welcome to the next edition of our 5 XR Creators You Should Follow, where we are pleased to introduce you to some of the most gifted and inspiring XR designers! ✨
Today’s guests have dedicated much of their lives to mastering digital creation, and they’re here to shARe their knowledge, insights, and experiences with you! 🎨 Through their stories, you’ll learn about their journeys in the creative field, from the early beginnings to their current successes. 🪐 From workflows and life hacks to their future plans and dreams, they will give you an inside look at what it takes to make it in this ever-evolving XR space.
Why did you decide to start creating in AR/VR? Tell us about the beginning of your digital creation journey.
I think it’s a normal technological progress for digital fashion, where it moves towards tangible aspects. We, as Creators, just as much as users, like to feel the artwork, see how it looks in real life, and experience the feeling of wearing the clothing itself. I believe we will see more and more traditional fashion brands moving towards AR/VR also with in-store experiences where consumers would be able to try on items that are out of stock or in limited edition. If I remember right, Snapchat is already producing AR monitors where you could scan your body with a camera and try on virtual clothing. I discovered this amazing experience in Miami, where we could try on digital fashion items from Dress X digital fashion marketplace using a full body-sized monitor. To be honest, it will become a game changer.
For many years, I have been creating digital experiences as a product designer, and I also have a programming background. Combining my skills to craft XR experiences is something I love doing. I am convinced that XR can be both useful and entertaining, and I am determined to shape its future.
I grew up programming in the 80s, and I’ve always been fascinated by communal digital spaces, both real and fictional. In the mid-00s I developed art and games in Second Life, which seemed to me like a big step toward the Metaverse described in the novel Snow Crash. XR continues to propel us toward a sense of full immersion in online environments, allowing us to connect more deeply with people anywhere in the world and express ourselves creatively in unique ways. Professionally I use elements of XR to connect users in remote physical spaces with their business tasks and metrics more intuitively and naturally than with classic pen and paper. In my personal time, most of my XR development takes the form of TikTok Effects, primarily for entertainment and humor
I am a visual artist based in Helsinki, Finland. My background is in installation and photography art. I have a master’s degree in visual arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. I have always been drawn to the intersection between art and technology, and I wanted to explore the possibilities of this medium in my own art. I felt that AR would allow me to bring a new unique perspective to my work. In addition to showcasing my AR art on Instagram, I have also exhibited my work in art galleries and art museums. This has given me the opportunity to share my vision with a wider audience and to see how my work resonates with different communities.
During covid, I taught myself 3d modeling and animation, so I started posting digital art besides the analog art I was already making. My friend Marielle who explored filters every now and then for art, asked “Why don’t you try to make Instagram face filters? You’re an artist, I’d love to see what you come up with!” I signed up for the Beta, got in, and checked out the software, and the Facebook Community. The way people shared stuff and helped each other grow was a real community and I am drawn to that. There was not so much competition then, and it was not about likes. It was very different then. Having programmed since I was 12 (in 1984) it was very easy to pick up the software. It helped that the SparkAR team had done an amazing job.
What are the best AR/VR works you created? Could you show them to us and describe the workflow behind those creations?
It’s always hard to select the best artwork because I give my heart fully to every project. I love what we’re doing with HONEY as I admire all our Creators. Nevertheless, I would choose the one we made for the ZERO10 application by one of our artists, OnClickCloset. The meaning of the artwork You, The Creator was built together with our team to inspire everyone to create at any time anywhere. We’re the Creators of our own reality with our incredible minds but at times we tend to forget about it. It is going to be released at the end of this month. Soon we are releasing a Face Wearable on Filta made with the help of Pablo H Reyes, who introduced us to this platform. I am actually very excited about this peace since we will make the whole experience fun and gamified. Stay tuned!
⭐ Gingerbread Frenzy, which I created for TikTok’s Holidays Challenge. It’s a game in which you have to eat as many gingerbreads as you can. I played around with Effect House to see what was possible, as it was one of my first effects. Then I came up with the concept, prepared all the necessary visuals, and did basic sound design (recorded myself making weird noises for the game). Finally, I put it all together and made a funny Christmas game that people loved.
⭐ Rich Face Scan, a filter meant to be a joke about AI tools and exaggerating what’s currently possible with AI. The filter pretends to scan your face and analyze your age, gender, ethnicity, browsing history, etc. to tell you your chances of becoming wealthy.
⭐ AR Glasses, my first-ever filter. Although it’s simple, I love it because it gives me a glimpse of what I hope to have in the near future: AR Glasses (as you can tell from the name, of course). I believe that such wearables will allow us to see the full potential of this technology.
I’ve developed about 50 TikTok Effects and the ones that I consider my best technically or artistically are not always the ones that resonate with an audience. My most popular effect Build a Flag enables the user to construct a flag from a wide palette of colors by turning and tilting their head. I created it for Pride month 2022, and it has nearly 800 thousand videos with over 800 million views. I have created several semi-popular tarot effects, culminating in the Rider Waite Smith Tarot which supports arbitrary tarot spreads of up to 16 cards. Some of my most technically complex game effects include Dungeon Crawler, 15 Puzzle, and EHrdle. My general workflow is to have an idea that I haven’t seen yet built in TikTok Effect House and think of how it could be accomplished technically within the constrained resources that the platform provides us. Then I build a proof of concept, and if things go well it blossoms into a full effect that I release. In a way, my prior experience developing for old computer systems gives me an advantage here over other developers who may be more familiar with more fully featured modern languages.
My latest AR series explores old Finnish beliefs about the forest and the modern human relationship with nature and technology. In the human soul, as in Finnish mythology, there are things that sometimes seem lifeless to us like wood or stone, but they can wake up and come to life. I wanted to immerse the viewer in this mythical world, with its own special atmosphere and unpredictable metamorphoses. AR provided the perfect platform for me to achieve this goal, as it allowed the audience to engage with my art in a new fascinating way. My goal was not only to revive old myths but to help the viewer to revive in their souls the part in which imagination and creative search live. If this happens, the viewer becomes more than a spectator, they become a co-author of the creative search.
The process of creating this series of AR effects involved different AI tools, 3D modeling, texturing, and building the AR experience. For me, background work is an important step in creating meaningful and impactful art. I was inspired by Finnish folklore and nature and wanted to bring the mythical world of trees, animals, and forest spirits to life for viewers. I gathered information from books and the internet about these themes and subjects, which are serving as the foundation for my art. After this step, I decided on the characters I wanted for my AR artworks. I worked with various AI tools to imagine the appearance of the forest spirits in 2D images and fine-tune the images for later use. I made 3D models from the 2D images in Blender and used the images for texturing too. I created interactive AR experiences in Meta Spark Studio. In this series, AR face filters allow viewers to fully immerse themselves in the experience of being part of nature. For example, by embodying the essence of a tree, a tree leaf, or a stone through my AR effects, viewers are able to experience being a part of the natural world.
My trademark styles are colorful, kaleidoscopic, trippy, and gentle. Works that combine this with technical challenges so I feel I have grown after the process make me proud. Here are my three favorites:
⭐Gl!tchFr3ak: a very complicated face filter that displays an infinite amount of masks, representing that anyone can put on any identity and symbolism. We are limitless. We are not who or what we think at all.
⭐Dissociation: a personal favorite of mine, on a very personal theme that has to do with my personality disorders. It’s a world object so you can watch it anywhere from any angle. 3 segments are shown displaying what dissociation feels like. Each segment starts with a quote from a real dissociation patient.
⭐Treehouse exposition opening AR filter: a man running out of the target poster, then calms down and prays. Then magic appears around him.
What is your plan for the future? What do you want to work on or what kind of skills would you like to develop?
I really would love to encourage more females to pursue their dreams of being an artist, a creator, or an entrepreneur without any fear. We teamed up with Meeta Club to organize a series of brunches in Milan and hope to inspire more ladies to learn about web3, the technology behind it, and new software and applications. At the end of the day, digital fashion should be fun and we’re here to prove it.
So far, I’ve worked with Spark Studio and Effect House, as well as some web AR projects. In the near future, I’m excited to try out Lens Studio and Reality Composer. My goal is to continue growing my skills and knowledge, and I’m always on the lookout for new projects and fun challenges. I’m also keen to keep up with the latest developments in AI technology.
I always keep an eye on what new features and capabilities are being added to Effect House because I like to remain on the bleeding edge of experimentation. I try to be a trailblazer who shows the raw power of what effects are capable of, hopefully inspiring fellow Creators to more fully express their own visions through my techniques and teachings. I develop skills as I need them for specific ideas I have, but one area I could use more practice in is 3D modeling and animation. As a hobbyist, I work on whatever occurs to me. Much of what I build is 2D-focused, but 3D is almost a necessity for AR effects that explore physical space.
With a dedication to pushing the boundaries of AR, I am also keen to explore more widely the potential of XR and the metaverse as a platform for art in the future. I’m on a constant drive to experiment with the potential of art and new technologies. I want to bring my imagination to life in an interactive and immersive way. I also want to further develop my skills in creating engaging and interactive worlds on new digital platforms, and I am interested in creating more collaborative projects with other artists and designers to explore new ways of combining our different skills and perspectives.
At the moment I am participating in a Beta program with Meta and their MetaSpark team on creating and expanding the Augmented Layer of the Metaverse. As you can see in the video included, a cute little Kodama forest spirit from Princess Mononoke dropping by in my neighborhood. In 2D it all seems unimpressive but AR experience through the latest MetaQuest Pro headset even convinced me. It’s so real, it even feels unnatural to not be able to just pick up the object and feel it. AR was a total surprise to me.
Spatial.io! Playing and entering Metaverses through your web browser, supersmooth, easy, and intuitive, makes it fun and appealing, even if you’re Gen X like me. As a creative, I can present my art and portfolio as a gallery/metaverse anyone can walk through, and experience the works in an immersive way. This is a sexier way than how the internet used to be: flat and 2D. In the coming months, I am planning to publish my first self-made Metaverse: Ayahuasquero, a Boom/Burning Man vibe artistic meeting and sharing place for learning and sharing experiences and knowledge on ayahuasca. It will have different areas and chillout spaces. Expect weird organically shaped constructions. Neon lights. A dark and underwater vibe with centers of light, all as if illustrated by Moebius. I am trying to convince Kaedim3d to help me with 3D modeling these hallucinogenic 2D images I created in Midjourney. Will be a lot of work otherwise. It helps that creating 3 objects in Gravity sketch is huge fun!
AI image and video generation. This past year my creativity and productivity have skyrocketed. With stable diffusion and Midjourney, I can conceptualize and improve at lightspeed. Having visual references from the whole world at your feet and applying them to your art and vision within minutes is game-changing. I’m currently waiting and wishing to be allowed in the research group for the Runway animation app. AI goes faster than all of us expected and the future looks bright! The only limitation is money for new hardware. I need a faster Macbook, haha!
What is your dream project or collaboration?
It is very hard to select only one company for collaboration. I’ve met many incredible projects who support females and creators’ economy in the web3 space for the last 2 years as I have never met in any other industries in all my life! I would love that one day, we would be able to gather all awesome projects together to create something truly unique and meaningful for the world and our environment. Because we are all here for the same goal: to build a safe future for our generations.
My dream project would be to create a super-useful app for AR glasses in the future, something that could improve someone’s life and make a real impact. I would also love to collaborate with big brands such as Apple, Meta, Nike, Lenslist, and others.
My dream collaboration would be to work with @FilterDank on something really elaborate and ridiculous. Something that makes everyone who sees it laugh and post a video.
From time immemorial, we have been using various languages to convey fairy tales, legends, and impressions. Creative search pushed us to search for new languages and new forms of audio-visual expression of our feelings. And now we are witnessing the development of a new language of the metaverse, three-dimensional and interactive. The ability to create fully immersive and interactive worlds opens up exciting new possibilities for storytelling and self-expression. I am eager to delve deeper into this field and see where it takes me.
My dream project would be to collaborate with experts in XR technologies to create an interactive installation that combines Finnish folklore and nature with cutting-edge technology. The installation would transport viewers to a mystical forest where they could explore and interact with the various creatures and spirits that inhabit the forest, each with their own unique story. It would be an effective way to present the rich cultural heritage of my home country and create a truly unique and memorable experience for the viewers. I believe that old stories from folklore could help us to see our current environment in a new way and make us appreciate the unique natural world around us more deeply. I would like to collaborate with XR specialists, other artists, and storytellers to realize this vision.
I feel happy and fulfilled when I make work that creates awareness by offering transformative experiences. You do something, and have an Aha! moment. I love that. Combining (neuro)psychology with beauty and clear esthetics. Colorful collabs with LGBTQi+ friendly people and brands that express freedom and open-mindedness.
It’s truly soul-stirring to witness the boundless creativity of today’s XR Creators. 🙌🏻 Their passion for exploring hidden corners in the realm of digital art is simply remarkable! 🤩 With every stroke of the brush, click of the mouse, or tap of the pen, they breathe life into their imagination, making us delighted by their skills. And we are sure they have inspired you to your own personal achievements! So don’t forget to follow these talented minds on social media to fuel up on new designs and visions of the world, and stay tuned! 🌟💕