Inspired by Coachella Music Festival's push for AR installations this year: Coachellaverse. Our project is centered around a light-hearted experience designed to simulate shooting fire out of the top of a cactus. We have been working together for the past year and found that we gravitate toward the surreal, and the absurd.
This is the final iteration of our installation.
It wasn't easy but we were able to work with the performance constraints of AR.
Emily built the cactuses in blender and ran them through the Spark AR add-on. Then we brought the cactuses into Spark AR and Serena added the particle systems on the top of the center cactuses. The tumbleweed was sourced by Marquessa from an open-sourced model of off Sketchfab. The animations where a collaboration between all of us.
The background is floating in the z-axis and cactuses in the y-axis. The tumbleweed is rotating around the camera and around it's own center point. The particle system that is attached to the center cactus, which is activated by tapping and holding the screen. There is a particle system in the background coming toward the camera as well.
Use the QR code to test out the installation on Instagram. We're pretty proud with how it turned out and would continue to experiment in the AR and filter space.
Originally we created three separate cactuses to add to the installation, but unfortunately the files were too large to all be added into the installation. We reduced the file as much as possible and it was still 150Mb over the limit.
So as a work around, we removed the other two cactuses and restarted the process by simplifying.
The background was generated by a diffusion network. It was important to give depth to the installation, and we wanted to incorporate other atelier intensives into our project.
Marquessa generated the background with surrealism in mind. With a few filters and an interesting shape, it provides movement and a plane to resolve the installation against.
The network returned lots of great options, but the one that we used stood out from the rest. The colours of the mountains and the contrast of the sky are beautiful. Also, it happens to be the only one with tumbleweeds.
The sketch on the left was inspired by the loho on the right. The logo is a part of a theme camp, which the installation has been published under. The sketch on the left is as close as we've been able to come to having a real pyrotechnic installation.
One of the other possibilities that we explored was using the logo as a target. But found that it was too finicky. The installation wasn't as stable as it was without the target detection which took away from the subtleties of the animations. So in the end, we decided that while was a good idea, it just didn't provide the look that we were going for.
Created by Emily Flood, Marquessa MacKenzie, and Serena Seow.