Augmented Reality (AR) has the power to transform the way we experience and interact with the world around us, and Visualize Me is at the forefront of this transformation. In this piece, we have the pleasure of interviewing a pioneering creator in the field of AR. With her innovative approach and cutting-edge technology, Visualize Me has been able to bring new life to the world of augmented reality. Our conversation delves deep into her inspiration, design process, and the future of AR technology. We'll also be discussing some of the ways that augmented reality is changing the way we interact with the world around us. From the environments that surround us to fashion to art and architcture, AR is quickly becoming a powerful tool for businesses, creators and individuals alike. So, without further ado, let's dive into our interview with the brilliant mind behind Visualize Me!
Can you contextualise how you became a digital artist and why you decided to focus on Augmented Realities?
My context of becoming a digital artist was mostly traditional and more connected to the fine arts. I’m fond of finding beauty everywhere and I always attempt to convey the feeling of harmony and love to life in this world through art. I’m excited with the possibilities of AR, because everybody can not only see the result of my efforts, but also can try in the different circumstances of the elusive moment.
Can you share with us your first steps as an AR artist?
It was a while ago, around three years to be precise, when I first began working on augmented reality (AR) technology. I desired to try something novel, as I had previously been working on 3D renders and wasn't content with just posting my works on social media. With AR I was able to share my projects on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and connect with people in a new way. The ability to explore and investigate mesmerising fictional worlds through AR provides users with a unique vision of themselves and reality that was augmented.
How do you see AR technology changing the way we interact with art and our environment?
Pursuing the thought further, I can recall the Platon’s ideal world of clear eidoses. Then, from this point of view, we can imagine AR like an emanation of pure images to our material world. And this is marvellous, because we can see our surrealistic dreams, our prospects, and ideas about rebuilding the world in the best way, if they were alive in the material world. These ephemeral images have the ability to be embodied directly in our environment.
The next astonishing feature of AR is neglecting of physical orders, but existing in the world which follows the unalterable natural law simultaneously. This method impresses me much more, like I do not take in account the gravity and forget about this fact while creating my assets, but then I open the project in AR, being always joyfully confused about it, as for the first time.
Can you walk us through your creative process when developing an AR project, from ideation to execution?
I commonly begin my work from a mature reflection on my hidden thoughts, undercover feelings and sudden dreams, I make a short concentration stop at that point. For a while the incomprehensible process of mental inner ripening of the idealistic foetus is going to start in my mind. I search suitable visual materials for illustrating the main theme of an emerging project, sometimes I create huge folders with references which can be a great help on the 3d modelling process then.
Afterwards the technical part of my work starts, when I create all the 3d assets at the same time. I make them raw at the beginning to see the most important visual forms together, after that I can create high poly 3d models with detailed sculpt and exquisite appearance. When I have low poly models ready, I am able to see them again together in white plaster materials as they are just sculptures. I choose the necessary palette according to the general tone and atmosphere of the project. I create animations at the last step of work, daresay it’s my favourite period because I can observe how they all makeover from spiritless frozen items to the digital substance imbued with a real breath of life. It’s a fantastic moment, perhaps some sort of alchemy, and it’s worth to make all the tough efforts.
Your work spans both AR and natural realities. How do you see these two mediums complementing each other, and how do you approach incorporating both into your art?
This question is likely about the attitude between nature and technique in general sense. I mean we had the duality of natural and technical human made worlds (and art is the organic part of the second one, as it initially has the root τέχνη in the Greek language). However AR, VR, web.3 technologies are the new reality, they accumulate some features from both the nature and technical worlds, for me it looks like supernatural hyperrealistic reality, which is so alive, fluid, changeable as the life itself. As a human being, I feel these changes sometimes very closely in a disturbing way because of the constant information noise. So I tend to return to nature to recognise myself, and maybe to help my viewers to find this point of contemplation.
How do you balance the technical aspects of AR with the organic and unpredictable aspects of nature when creating immersive experiences?
Unpredictability is the most intricate feature in the aspect of its recreating, all these kinds of inclusion, fracture, bump, dent, pothole and other tiny imperfections really make a whole show and reveal the devil in the details. Unpredictability is also one of the most important distinctions between live and dead matters. The recreation of fluidity of the vivacious substance in contrast to completeness of dead one is the most hard and very last percent of the whole work. The goal is going to be quite tricky, taking into the account rather small limit for the final AR file. I use a variety of different techniques to avoid manmade, synthetic or even plastic affectation in my digital creatures. A row of randomisation on various levels, adding some visual noise, refusal the symmetry mode in sculpting, unacceptability of procedural animation for complicated lively creatures, supplementation of the chaotic movements to the animations are some practice tricks which I use. As a summary, I’d say that it is a question of artist’s time, in other words, how much time the artist is ready to dedicate to creation. You can never finish your work, you are only able to interrupt it (the approximate quote from Leonardo’s diaries).
In your opinion is there a distinction between classical and digital art like AR?
I find the distinction between classical and digital art or augmented reality (AR) not so meaningful. It's more about the tools, techniques, and software that I use. The most essential aspects of the work process are my vision, experience of life, and art taste. They are the primary driving forces behind my work regardless of the medium I am using.
I’ve been drawing in the art school and then, in the art academy, I’ve been exploring nature and art masterpieces for a long time. In my opinion drawing and sculpturing are the specific way of communication with reality, it’s a deep feeling of the necessity of incarnation that experience which you can’t save inside.
How do you see AR technology impacting the fashion industry, and how do you incorporate that into your work?
In general AR is the area you can create anything you could mind.
I guess, AR is the perfect tool for brands to create their own digital identity, to use new abilities which AR has inside. So, for instance, augmented reality is a quite interesting instrument which allows to implement not only very popular now try-on experiences, but also something futuristic, fantastic, imaginable, but not realistic to execute in the real world for any reasons. In general, AR is the area where you can create anything you could mind.
What advice would you give to aspiring digital artists who want to work with AR technology?
If somebody wants to know my advice, well, I have some (a little). It would be great to start from the very basics and simple steps, like making just an AR item which can be tracked on the plain, using the assets that an artist already has in the library. Then little by little the aspiring person will be able to expand an area of AR knowledge and skills, to try out different software, to find out pros and cons of it. The crucial part of work is to clearly understand desires of the audience, otherwise AR product or art will be powerless without the viewer. Anyway if the artist realises the point of uselessness or irrelevance of current work for the viewer for some reasons (you know, not every piece of art is rather significant for daily life of people around), he/she had better be aware of this fact. As a result the artist doesn’t have unreasonable expectations about the future, doesn’t suffer with burning out, depression. There are always different kinds of projects here that need to be done, such as for self representation and for your audience, which barely intersect with each other. That’s why the good clue is to find a subtle balance between own world inside, popularity and visibility for others, and commercial success. In fact, it sounds quite impossible to achieve, but at the end it will help the artist to play the desirable role of AR creator for a really long time.
What upcoming projects or collaborations are you most excited about and what can we expect to see from you in the future?
Near future I’m going to continue the series of works which are dedicated to the human perception, currently I’m finishing the project about olfaction, which is full of spring vibrancy and flowers’ magic. The next point of my research is AR with cute animals in which I can connect with my audience, and improve my animation skills. For this reason, I’m going to live in the island far away from civilisation but with fast internet, therefore I’ll be able to construct my own artificial world with the possibilities of deep investigation of nature. Also I’m fond of AI now, trying to include it in my daily workflow. I’ll create some digital fashion wearable items with the help of AI on the sketch phase of my work.
Hope you’ll like my upcoming projects, and thank you very much for having me!