AR Trail + Big Fan Interactive Q&A

Download our official Cardiff Animation Festival App and take part in our super cool Augmented Reality Trail!

Hidden around our venues are trigger points that will unlock sections of our amazing animated poster! Make your way around our venues to all our different events to find the clues.Find all 6 animations to unlock the poster in it’s full animatey glory! The app is available on Android devices and iOS! Download from the relevant app stores now!

// AR is the future and it’s a fun way to find new things! Like a digital scavenger hunt!

So, Russ, can you tell us who you are, what AR is, what you do and where you do it?

Hello! I'm Russ Morris. Professionally I'm a interactive developer, which means I get to make things like games, AR applications, 360 Video and realtime visualisations - basically anything that you can interact with on a phone or computer or games console. I recently set up Big Fan Interactive, but have been working freelance around Cardiff and Bristol after moving back to Wales from London a few years ago. Personally, I mostly spend my time with my family, listen to podcasts and try to keep up to date with movies, games and music. Augmented Reality (AR) is definitely going to be an ever increasing part of people's lives over the next few years. As a brief summary, AR is kind of like linking the digital and physical spaces together. Common examples would be looking through the camera on your phone and seeing digital characters or graphics projected on to the images you see on the phone.

// Animation meets AR, is this a brave new world?

I definitely see an opportunity for AR and animation to meet somewhere in the middle. Fundamentally AR is a way of viewing and possibly interacting with digital content - currently with your phone but wearables will add extra possibilities. A lot of the tech used for AR is linked to how we make games, and games are FULL of animation. Take an 'interactive' animation like Felix Massie's 'Rain or Shine', but view it through your phone projected on to your table at home and make it interact with the objects. Maybe the lead character is trying to cross the road but your lamp is in the way - so the lead character looks up at you and is like "can you move this please?" There's that possibility to make your characters interact with the audience, much like a theatre actor might deal with a heckler.

// How do you see AR changing the way we interact with the world around us? We've already had Pokémon Go as a great example of using AR in games, and we'll see a lot more games over the next few years. A LOT. Where we'll see the big shift in AR becoming part of our everyday lives is with productivity and lifestyle apps. We already have the ability to see what that vintage lamp you want would look like on your up-cycled side table, and the ability to measure rooms by pointing your phone at the walls - we'll see more of these. We'll also see an ever increasing way to link this data to how we buy stuff - so you could look at a particular wall in your home and just say "find me a sofa that will fit here" and within seconds you'll be able to see them in situ. A new wave of wearables (glasses) is also coming. Google Glass was interesting but probably too early (and looked a bit silly). New glasses by Intel look just like normal glasses, but are able to project messages and notifications in to your periphery, so it's less intrusive. You can choose when to focus on and read the information, or choose not to. There is a danger of tech increasingly putting barriers between people, but over time we'll learn how to deal with that as a society and determine the rules and boundaries of how, where and when it's acceptable to use the tech. So, fast forward 5 years; You know all those pictures of food you like to post on Instagram? Well, now you just look at the food with your new AR glasses on and when you do that it puts all the names of the food and nutritional information over the top - and then it sends that to your app for tracking what you eat. Later, when you're on your run, you can see a digital marker in the distance that you're running towards. You look across the park and see another runner and projected above them is their running data. They're running towards the same target but they are running faster than you. Do you run faster? Later you're at a party and walk in to a room of people you've met before but can't remember their names. Luckily for you you can see all of their names above their heads thanks to your fancy AR glasses. It's all a bit Black Mirror, let's just hope it's not ENTIRELY like Black Mirror. // What are you most looking forward to at Cardiff Animation Festival? I have 2 young kids, so I get to see a lot of kids animations on TV and we watch all the big animated kid films. At home we all LOVE Hey Duggee. To hear more about how that is made is going to be super interesting. I'd love to work on a Hey Duggee app but the folks at Scary Beasties don't seem like they need any help with the excellent apps they are making.

// Where can people see your work? I've recently setup Big Fan Interactive and I'm in the process of getting the site sorted and content uploaded. The best place to keep in the loop for when that goes live is by following @BigFanInt on Twitter or emailing hello@bigfaninteractive.com // Why ARE you so wizard? It's not just me, I like to think that everyone is wizard.

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