Designer / Storyteller
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Snapchat Environments

Snapchat Environments

This project was a collaboration with John Lee and made in Adobe AfterEffects.

For this project, we imagined what kind of new, innovative features augmented reality technology could have on our current social media platforms. The result was Snapchat Environments, an augmented reality feature that allows Snapchat users to collaboratively design their environments in AR space. Similar to a Snapchat Story for a business, event, or city, when users are geographically near a Snapchat environment, they can select it from their stories list. Once selected, users can use Snapchat’s new AR capabilities to transform their surrounding environment by leaving drawings, stickers, or messages with a 24hr duration. They can also see what other creative transformations others in the community left behind within the last day.

A common critique of social media is its impersonal nature. Something we really wanted to achieve with this project were real, personal connections made in physical space, but through the existing infrastructure of a social media platform.

While developing this concept, we analyzed three popular social media applications: Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. By looking at a variety of characteristics, we decided Snapchat was the best platform because it mainly services peer-to-peer interactions. Its built in geo-tagging and existing filters, stickers, and lenses also leant themselves to this idea, because they could encourage further customization of the environment. We felt that this level of personal connection, that someone could be leaving a secret message for another user in a public environment, would be an experience unique to this feature. Additionally, we believed Snapchat Environments would encourage more people to use the other group features that Snapchat has, which often get less attention.

From there, it was scripting the narrative and animating the video pitch. We worked on the script and an Illustrator storyboard at the same time, making sure we both made our case for this feature, and properly explained it in a concise way. Scripting and storyboarding in parallel also showed us what items needed more explanation and less visuals (e.g. our initial pitch in the first 30 seconds), and vice versa (e.g. the demonstration of the feature in action). From there, we recorded the voice over, and used our Illustrator storyboards as a base to animate the video in After Effects.

Social media comparison (click to enlarge)

Brainstorming the narrative (click to enlarge)