Future of AR/VR & Industry Trends with Isabelle Udo | Episode 1
For our first episode, we have Isabelle here. She is the founder and creative director of videOrbit studio in Amsterdam based mixed reality studio focused on social AR and interactive installations. She's one of the top creators globally. She's well-recognized within the community. We're so excited to have you, for this interview series and podcast. Thanks for joining us today.
Oh thank you so much, what a great introduction. Of course. So before we dive into our questions what has your journey been like in the AR space and what convinced you to pursue AR? Yeah, so I actually studied interactive design so it didn't come out of nowhere that I went into AR though, before you know when I graduated as an interactive designer, it was 2014 and AR was not really a thing yet. So, I just had to continue my studies in film directing.
And at the time I graduated, the whole AR platform opened up and the Facebook platform. I signed up, I downloaded the software and there I was, I was completely sold. It's all I've been doing since it was I think August 2019. That's great. So it sounds like you've been, you know, part of when Facebook sparked their community sort of from the very beginning stages. And now as you've worked with different brands, um, you know, for brands who are interested in AR, what would you say is the value of it and why should they integrate AR into their marketing?
Yeah, I think AR is a very, very interesting tool for clients, you know, and, it really gives the user the ability to tell a story with you know, an effect. And this is something that is super interesting you know, for brands because they can get a lot of engagement with their brands. So I think, Augmented Reality is a tool is absolutely a tool that for any brand can be very, very interesting. And you can definitely see that nowadays as well.
You know, that many brands are right now, you know, jumping on the bandwagon and really wanting to do something with AR, which is super nice to see. Yeah it's a lot of fun and people like to use these effects, you know, on social mostly. So, yeah. And what about
creators who, you know, are interested in this space? What's some advice that you can give them in terms of? What is the best way to start learning, you know, best way to get inspiration in this space?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Um, I can imagine that it can be, you know, quite difficult if you don't really have any background in design. But for me also, I didn't have a background in coding, for example and I lived, yeah and I seriously learned it very much along the way. As well as 3D effects I didn't do 3d effects because before I, I didn't do 3D design before I started making effects.
Yeah, well what my biggest advice would be really just you know, push through half the specific goal in mind, a concept that you come up with, and then start to create. Because that's how I feel that I learned the most by having this very specific goal. And then through tutorials, I really learned how to do that and and how to create it in a way how I envisioned it, um, starting from spread a sketch, really.
Um, so yeah, that's, for me always a very effective way of learning and, you know, the, whole platform is still very much. You know, in back end development. So, I'm learning every day still. And, uh, yeah, my biggest advice would really be like definitely in the beginning to don't give up and push through it because yeah for me it was the same. I was also stuck for like, I don't know, a couple of weeks on something that looking back now, it will be like okay, I was stuck on that, but, um, yeah, it's really learning along the way.
When it comes to AR filters and that stuff, what are some aspects that make a good AR filter versus you know something that in terms of you know, what could make it go viral for instance? Yeah, that's a very good question. And actually, um so there is different types of effects that can work very, very well. Um, there's, you know some more simple effects, like just with colors or just very simple, you know, beauty makeup often times people really want to reuse that because they they're thinking like Ooh, I was looking really good with this practice, you know so so I'm going to reuse it, which always is really good for the numbers of that effect.
I often times make effects that are a lot more complex and then have more of like a concept behind it. And to me, I really feel like having some kind of hook to it, something to draw the attention is really where you can get, um, yeah, a lot of engagements, you know, with the effect. So I have one example of, for example, I made a an effect where you have some grapes that are like hanging just above your head. And then as soon as you open your mouth, there's a great falling in.
And I think this is a really interesting interaction because it's really sets a kind of mood and, um, you know, people can really have you know, play with this, make their own story out of it, you know? That's why I'm, I'm really thinking that having some interesting concept behind it can also really help with, um, you know, engagement, In terms of, you know, talking
about concepts with clients, uh what are some common misconceptions that you've come across when it comes to brands, um, wanting to integrate AR just our conversations about misconceptions and, uh, that may may or may not be true.
So what I experienced mostly when working with clients is that the platform is so new that often times people really don't know exactly what is possible. You know and also what is allowed because, you know, there's definitely rules. it's social media, and, uh, some things are definitely forbidden, like doing you know, um, uh, showing hate or hate messages, for example. So there's definitely also a refuel process for that, set up.
So there's definitely also a refuel process for that, set up. This is something that often times clients might not be aware of. And, for me, I really like to to help them with that, you know, and really explain like and together come to with a solution that will fit perfectly for their concept and for their goals. I can definitely see that the whole knowledge about how, how it exactly works and how to deploy an effect. It starts to be there but very slowly.
I'm always more than happy to you know, to advise them and assist with any questions. Any concerns about if it's even possible or not. In terms of sort of pushing the boundaries and having that conversation about what is, and what isn't possible,
in the next five years, where do you see the future of AR going? That's a very big question. Um That's a very big question. I think it will absolutely be implemented in our lives on a grease vase and definitely in way more aspects of life. You can see right now a lot of it and what AR is very, you know, well-known for right now. It's the, the filters and the lenses, you know, on social media.
But I think, you know, when we start to have wearables we can create a digital layer on our daily lives and there will be many new uses that we can use it for. So I think this was super interesting. I'm completely speculating. I don't know exactly how it will work and how it will look. I'm assuming it will be an application. I'm assuming it might be like an application. For example, if you were walking on the street and you need directions you don't have to look at your phone because you have like a specific application in your wearable with which you can see the road where you have to go.
So these are all things that I think will definitely happen. So it's definitely an exciting time when, you know, a lot more momentum.
I feel like in these, you know recent months alone and just the AR space as an industry. So it's very exciting to kind of, hear perspectives, not just from people who are building sort of the platform. You know something like spark and also from creators working with clients and kind of figuring out and designing, creating these, you know, incredibly engaging and fun filters.
So going back to something we talked about earlier, which was about, you know, sort of your journey into of founding a studio.
Is this something that you've always wanted to do to have your own studio and looking back what's a piece of advice that you'd give to yourself? I never really thought that I would go this route honestly. So two years ago in 2019, when the platform opened up and I was just graduated from film school. So I was thinking, okay, well, as a filmmaker, it's kind of hard to find a job right off the bat and, you know be a successful filmmaker, but I did already have a lot of design.
So firstly, I actually started to work for an agency and it was an advertising agency. I also I did some AR effects there already because I was definitely completely ready, you know I went straight into the AR. So during the day I was working at the agency and then in the evening I was really you know, learning and practicing. But then quite soon I realized that, I wanted to you know go full on with the AR and that's what I did.
What advice, you know, if you could tell yourself when you started what would you tell your younger self? Yeah, I would well I honestly knew that I'm quite lucky with the whole journey because I accidentally took all the skills to be able to create AR from that perspective, though.
The big tip I would give myself is definitely be like enjoy it and then, and really enjoy it and then, and really go for it. I really did that, you know, in the last year, so I'm definitely planning to keep doing that.
But yeah, for me, it's, it's amazing that I can actually really do what I love. I feel very lucky for that. In terms of, you know, working on, projects and also balancing personal life. Do you think work life or work and personal life balance is a thing? How do you juggle all the different priorities and also have time for yourself, friends, family and so on.
Yeah I do work a lot purely of what want to do. I met, you know, I made many, many friends in the community, which is super nice because they actually understand you know, my point of view and then the things that I'm talking about. But I think family's absolutely very important to me. So I definitely make sure to make time for my family and do some sports, meet up with friends though during the week. Often times I'm really working and that's the moment that, you know I'm really going for it. So, yeah.
In terms of, you know what would you say is sort of like of all the things that you like about what you do, what would you say is like the best thing that you love. I think the community is absolutely a very very big part of what I really enjoy, you know about AR because it's such a really good and very big community as well. Like-minded people and many really creative people are there as well.
Which is, yeah, it's, I'm constantly amazed by what other people make which is also very motivating for myself. You know, also I, have made many friends in, you know, from all over the world. Which is, yeah, that's still mind boggling to me that it's you know, has become such a big part of my life. Not only online, but also offline. I have really really good friends that I see in person here in Amsterdam that we met through the community. It's kind of funny how much it changed, you know, my life in a way, the way everything was, you know, before and after.
So I think it's just very nice. In terms of, you know, starting the studio. It must have, you know, it's always a risk starting a new it's a new adventure as I'd like to call it.
For those who are sort of aspiring to have their own companies or to have their own agencies, what are, what are some tips that, you know you would give them to kind of, gauge if it's the right time to make the plunge, how to sort of navigate the ambiguity and the uncertainty that comes with having something that's your own venture?
Yeah, so I would say what really helped me was really work on also the organizational part of it. And if you you get a client inquiry really take some time to make a proposal sketch you know, written down all the interactivity because this is the moment that you're really, you know, selling your work to a potential client. What was really nice is that I at some point really made some type of like templates for that, so that everything was easier. Yeah, to create basically, you know, from the, from beginning to the end. I think that organizational part is really, really important if you're starting, by yourself.
That really, really helped me to be, to really look at like, okay what is needed? You know, how am I gonna make sure that everything is efficient?
Yeah. In terms of, organizing and balancing priorities what's your approach to, organizing, you know, different priorities different projects, um, following up and, you know, all the million things that have to be done.
I definitely keep my calendar. I am used to Google, you know, Google suite. I tried to get it as up-to-date as possible. The video call invitations they really work nicely because then you, you know it's automatically in your calendar, which is super nice. I do analog to-do lists with, you know, just a piece of paper and a pen. Every morning I make a list and then I try to finish it. It doesn't always finish
in that day but that's something that helps me a lot. But I think for everyone there is a different way of working and being effective.
So I think for some people we'll also have those lists online, but for some reason I really like to have it offline to really be able to, you know, do a little checkmark. Always when it's finished. Yes. Yes, absolutely. It's been, it's been really great hearing about, you know, your perspective on different questions that we discussed today, whether it's your journey, and sort of the value of AR for brands, the misconceptions, you know, we've definitely covered a lot of ground. Thank you for your time. Yes, you're very welcome. Thank you so much for having me.