AWE 2023 Recap

Effect House x BTM Fireside Chat

In conjunction with the AWE conference in Santa Clara, California, we had the wonderful opportunity of co-hosting an event with TikTok Effect House. This event featured a fireside chat between our AR Manager/Effect House designer Vedika Bhasin and Effect House community lead Greg Feingold. We loved getting to connect with over 100 people and share our love of AR and all things Effect House.

SnapAR AWE Feature

Our latest Snapchat Lens “Nebula Dance” was featured at the SnapAR Lounge at the 2023 AWE conference in Santa Clara, California. We enjoyed watching AR creators, designers, industry leaders, and those interested in the space get groovy in the galaxy. If you did not make it to AWE, our lens is available on Snapchat. Click here to try it out.


Winter 2023 Newsletter

In this issue of our quarterly newsletter, we are excited to recap all the creative content we made and shared throughout the Winter. As always, we would like to thank our clients and business partners for their endless support and flexibility.

Augmented Reality Meetups

We would like to thank everyone who attended our SnapAR-sponsored meetups at Workbar Boston in January and February. This was a great opportunity for members of the AR community and those interested in AR to connect and learn more about this industry. We would also like to thank Naomi Eberle, an official Snap Lens Ambassador, for sharing her knowledge and expertise on Connected Snap lenses and Behavior Script.

Check out our socials or the next edition of our newsletter to hear more about our March 2nd Meetup, “Lens Fest Extended.” We are looking forward to connecting with new and familiar faces in NYC and cannot wait to hear Maya Pruitt’s presentation on machine learning (ML) models for object tracking.

Branded Likes

The ending of Super Bowl LVII was crazy but the ads were even crazier! Our design team had the opportunity of designing Twitter Branded Likes and Hashtags for some of the game’s most popular ads. Our lead animator, Chihiro, even had his Doritos animation featured in their ad during the commercial break!

Pepsi Co. and Doritos wanted to engage their viewers not just on the TV screen but on Twitter. To help them out, we designed a branded like for each of them that went live for 24hrs the day of Super Bowl LVII. Fans of Pepsi and Doritos could trigger the design on Twitter by liking posts with the following hashtags: #RealorActing or #DoritosTriangleScheme. It was truly amazing to witness how many Twitter users engaged with our branded likes throughout the game.

February Favorites

Looking to up your Valentine’s Day game? Our AR, Design, and Social Media teams worked together to launch multiple Valentine’s AR and design experiences across various platforms.

We released three new AR lenses: Be My Valentine (Instagram), You Light Me Up (Snapchat), and 1 MSG from Valentine (TikTok).

Show some love to your special someone (and the Smurfs) via Samsung. We had the opportunity to design this Samsung Theme for Galaxy users—just in time for Valentine’s Day! Spread love all year round by downloading this theme from the Galaxy Store.

Eye on AR - SnapAR Lensathon

Our AR team submitted a connected lens for the SnapAR Lensathon contest. With “Chaos Hoops,” users can play a game of basketball with friends from all over the world in real time. We’ve loved getting to watch users embrace their inner Lebron and Tatum with this lens. Click the Snapcode to try out “Chaos Hoops” on Snapchat. We cannot wait to see all the cool work AR developers and designers created for this contest!


Eye on AR - Fall 2022

A blog post dedicated to the people who know how to make communication with friends and family less boring! Our AR team has been busy this quarter working on creating new, innovative experiences for brands and their audiences. Keep reading to learn more about the *many* exciting projects they have been working on.

Lens List Fashion Month

Digital AR marketing company Lenslist held another challenge and our AR team just had to participate! We felt as though the Snapchat x Lenslist AR Fashion Month Challenge would be a perfect opportunity to experiment with Lens Studios’ newest features and to design a lens for the fashion/makeup market—a market where AR and its technologies are rapidly transforming the ways companies engage with customers.

The Snapchat x Lenslist AR Fashion Month Challenge called upon creators to “design original fashion and beauty lenses to help [the] AR community get dressed, made-up, and ready for the most stylish events of the year” (Lenslist).

Our lens, Elemental Euphoria, captures the beauty of nature with a fashion twist. The AR team designed three unique lenses inspired by the elements: earth, fire, and water. Each one contains wearable jewelry and makeup that incorporate custom 3D assets and 2D motion graphics. For example, for the earth, emerald jewels were used; for fire, gold, and designs that looked like the sun’s rays; for water, rain clouds, and other images associated with water.

The Elemental Euphoria Lens is a try-on lens that takes advantage of Lens Studios’ newest technologies including voice activation. When users speak, the lens will change to a different element. Try out “Elemental Euphoria” by clicking here, and congratulations to all the creators who participated in this contest!

Branded Effects for Instagram

Our AR team loves Instagram as much as Snapchat and TikTok! This September we designed and published 2 branded effects for Instagram Camera.

Have you ever wondered what tool you are, or what Mr. Men, Little Miss character you are? These two simple randomizer lenses we created for Snap-on and Mr. Men Little Miss allow users to engage with their favorite brands in a fun, interactive ways. Click the links below to test out the effects and share your results with us @baretreemedia.

Vote for Change

November 08, 2022 marked midterm elections in the United States. This Instagram camera effect encourages not just our fans but everyone to get out and vote. To vote for a change, every voice matters. Find our “Vote for a Change” filter on Instagram Camera or on our effects page.

Ugly Sweater

For National Ugly Sweater day on December 17, our AR team created a voice-activated, interactive try-on lens featuring four different ugly sweaters designed by BTM team members. We even created a BTM-themed sweater that features our company colors. Our team loved getting to create assets unique and personal to them.

Interested in something unique for your brand? Reach out to our team!

Bare Tree Media is a full-service creative studio and digital publisher creating super slick, mobile-facing content! We would love to bring your brand’s ideas to life through digital animation and AR. Check out our Augmented Reality page to see branded experiences we created for TikTok, Snapchat, & Instagram.

Drop us a Line

The Best of Snap Summit 2020

Like most recent events, this year’s Snapchat Summit was adapted virtually as opposed to existing in a physical space; it might seem like a no-brainer for a company whose expertise is in the digital realm—but if anything, this year’s summit has proven Snapchat’s ambition of bridging the gap between between augmented reality, and reality.

If the theme of Snapchat up until now has been “show, don’t tell” the mantra they’ve adopted moving forward seems to be “experience, don’t show”. What this means for brands is that Snapchat has uniquely positioned itself to allow artists & studios to create unique, branded AR experiences that transcend the digital sphere.

Below I’ve highlighted the features that I’m most excited about, as well as how they can be utilized to elevate users’ AR experiences.

Local Lenses:

These dynamic lenses use real-life locations (whole areas or specific buildings) to create a unified AR experience that different Snapchatters can share, as long as they’re in the same physical space—the first of its kind. In the example above, multiple people are creating a mural of different colors on one shared space using multiple phones. This added expertiental element creates a unified experience that exists wholly online, but that facilitates physical community. This is the first best of both worlds experience.

Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

Snap Scan & Marker Lenses:

Scan Partners is a powerful tool for brands. It allows the camera to recognize an item and then attaches it to a specific lens. The examples Snapchat used were a plant-identifer that, when clicked, would provide information on how to care for that plant (including links to buy those items). But they can also be utilized by luxury brands in order to create beautiful AR experiences in the physical world, once again blending the 2. Louis Vuitton recently added their logo as a marker lens, which means that when their logo is scanned in real life in Snapchat, a virtual door to their latest showroom opens highlighting classic and current collections in a virtual showroom. Too-Faced marked their 'Born This Way' product packaging—so when scanned, users can try it on virtually. Marker lenses elimiate the need to advertise via Snapcode, as well—the product is the Snapcode.


Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

SnapML:

The developer tool now features SnapM (or Snapchat Machine Learning), which lets developers bring their own machine-learning models to power Snap lenses, making what is possible to create limited only to the imagination. This allows for the creation of lenses that were previously impossible (such as the Van Gogh filter below, created by Nicholas Dominici) that would benefit anything from a new movie or video game with a singular aesthetic, to a museum wanting to highlight a current exhibition.

Additionally, this allows the creation of extremely accurate tracking of faces, gestures, feet, and even landmarks such as buildings. Below, you can see the practical application that Wannaby has used: they created a try-it-on filter that lets users see their newest shoe in a variety of colors (yes, that shoe is AR, not real).

In short, SnapML has destroyed many creative boundaries that previously existed—the new “brand experience” is limited (mostly) by what you can imagine vs by technology, as used to be the case.

Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

Places:

Snapchat is making it easier than ever to integrate call-to-actions with their app and lenses. One example of this is “Places”, which would lead to an outside-Snap call to action such as ordering a physical product online, whether it’s that new lipstick or food from their favorite delivery spot! This would be especially crucial for smaller businesses that need to receive local support.

Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

Integration SnapKits:

If your brand has an existing app, Snapchat will now let you integrate their technology with it in order to create a new layer of interaction with your fans. This is more abstract in thought, but can be applicable to any number of brands across any discipline—it’s an equally powerful tool both for those brands within the entertainment industry, and outside of it. Rally Road is an app that is meant for classic car investments, but has integrated Snapchat’s CreativeKit to let users purchase shares in rare items and share them with their friends in a unique AR environment. Atom movie tickets has also utilized this to let its users browse movies, purchase tickets, and choose seats together in one easy experience.  There are numerous types of kits available, each with their own unique perks (AdKit, which makes monetizing apps easy with SnapAds, CreativeKit, which allows apps to bring real-time data into Snapchat, and CameraKit, which brings the power os Snapchat camera to your apps).

Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

Where Do I Start?

If you're interested leveraging Snapchat for Any of the above uses, a qualified creative studio is your best bet, since we know the ins-and-outs of not only best creative practices to create an attractive filter, but can also help determine which strategy is the way to go when the options can seem endless and equally appealing (especially after this year's summit).

We here at Bare Tree Media would love to collaborate with any artist, strategist, or brand who's just as pumped about these new Snapchat features as we are! You can take a look to see the lenses we've already created.


enchanted-forest-video-call-ar-effect

How to Bring Some Fun to Your Video Calls

enchanted-forest-video-call-ar-effect

How to Bring Some Fun to Your Video Calls

As we adjust to a new normal, video conference calls have become the number one way to get some quality face time with co-workers, clients and loved ones. If you’ve been like us, you’ve been spending a majority of the time in these calls and want to break up the monotony with a bit fun! Using Snapchat’s desktop app Snap Camera or simple videos, you can add exciting backgrounds and AR effects to your video feed.


How to Add Videos to Zoom

Adding fun videos to Zoom calls is super easy! Once you are in a Zoom Meeting, in the bottom left corner of the window, you will see a ‘Start Video’ button. Click on the up arrow to the right of the icon and select ‘Choose Virtual Background..’

 

This will bring you to your video settings within Zoom. You will see five default videos from Zoom that you can try out. But if you want something special hit that plus button to the right and choose ‘Add Video’. A finder window will open up where you can navigate to any mp4 video file you have on your computer.

And that’s it! You should now have a fun video playing in the background!

If you’d like to use our enchanted forest video background you can download it right below by hitting the download button. Then right click on the video, hit ‘Save Video As’ and choose where you would like to save the video onto your computer.

Download

How to Use AR Effects

If you’d like to get a little fancier, you can use Snap Camera to add a wide variety of AR effects to some of the most popular video call apps including Google Hangouts, Skype, Twitch and more! Unfortunately Snap Camera doesn’t currently work on Zoom with the latest macOS (though they are working to fix this!) but if you are on a Windows computer you can follow the instructions below for Zoom as well.

 

First, Install Snap Camera

You can download Snap Camera to your computer here. Once it downloads, double click and follow the instructions to install the application. Snap Camera will automatically open and show a wide range of suggested lenses. Click on any effect to try it out!

 

 

Next, Update your Video Settings in your Video Call App

Once you have Snap Camera setup, open up your video call app of choice and go to the video settings. There you should see a dropdown to select which webcam you would like to use and select ‘Snap Camera’. If you don’t see ‘Snap Camera’ listed you may need to restart both applications or your computer for Snap Camera to appear on the list of options.

Lastly, choose an AR Effect and have fun!

After Snap Camera is selected as the video source, you can pick any AR effect you would like within Snap Camera and it will update in your video call. Try out our enchanted forest effect by searching ‘Enchanted Forest’ or search ‘Bare Tree Media’ to see all of our Snapchat effects!

Interested in having your own custom AR effect or video background created?

Reach out to our team!

Bare Tree Media is a full-service creative studio with a dash of technology and a whole lot of fun! Our mission is to help your brand stand out visually and engage your audience through creative and interactive content. Although we specialize in the creation and digital publishing of branded emojis, messaging stickers, GIFs and augmented reality, our talented artists and animators can create just about anything for your marketing needs.

Drop us a line

Wimpy Kid, Inc Expands Digital Engagement with Augmented Reality and Sticker Keyboards

Boston, MA – January 24, 2020 – Fellow Massachusetts-based companies Wimpy Kid, Inc. and Bare Tree Media Inc., expanded their digital partnership with the introduction of augmented reality social media effects and a global expansion of their stickers within keyboard mobile applications.

To kick off 2020, Bare Tree Media designed and released three augmented reality effects themed around the latest installment in the popular middle-grade series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 14: Wrecking Ball. The AR effects offer users the ability to insert a swinging virtual wrecking ball into their camera scene and then wreck, record, and share a real world scene of their choice. The AR filters are available to engage Wimpy Kid fans on popular messaging platforms, Facebook and Instagram, and as an AR lens on Snapchat.

Bare Tree Media also expanded their Wimpy Kid-branded digital presence to include digital stickers released within Baidu’s keyboard apps worldwide, including Facemoji Keyboard in the United States, Simeji in Japan, and Baidu IME in China.

‘Augmented reality is a great marketing platform for brands to engage audiences, and a perfect fit for the Wimpy Kid fanbase to create and share their special moments with a wrecking ball,” said Bob Ferrari, CEO of Bare Tree Media. “We are also very excited to expand sticker distribution through Baidu in key markets around the world.” 

“We are delighted to be kicking off 2020 by launching these stickers with Bare Tree Media and Wimpy Kid, Inc.,” said Josh Fenn, Senior Marketing Manager at Baidu. “Now, our keyboard app users around the world can all enjoy Wimpy Kid’s uniquely charming brand of humor when they chat with their friends online.”

“I’ve loved seeing fans around the globe engage with the Wimpy Kid brand using our existing emoji-style stickers. This year, we wanted to expand the Wimpy Kid universe and I’m thrilled to have the brand-new augmented reality and sticker formats on major global platforms. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Greg can go with his fans in 2020!” said Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

About Bare Tree Media

Bare Tree Media enables brands to reach, engage and entertain consumers through the creation and digital publishing of branded emojis, messaging stickers, GIFs and augmented reality. As a pioneer in the digital creative and technology sector, Bare Tree Media has worked with many brands including: 20th Century Fox, ABC Television, American Greetings, Baidu, CBS Interactive, Disney, Duracell, Facebook, Giphy, Instagram, King Features, Life is Good, Lionsgate, Mars-Wrigley, MuscleTech, Paws Inc, P&G, NBC Universal, New England Patriots, Snapchat, Snap-On Tools, SONY Television Pictures, Twitter, Warner Bros, Wimpy Kid, and many more. Brands interested in offering their own mobile messaging apps, stickers and augmented reality can go to www.baretreemedia.com or contact Bare Tree Media at info@baretreemedia.com.

About Baidu’s Global Business Unit

Baidu’s Global Business Unit (GBU) is focused on bridging the gap between Eastern and Western markets with its consumer and business-focused internet products and services. Baidu GBU’s product portfolio features keyboard apps Simeji and Facemoji Keyboard, content recommendation platform popIn, and ad platform MediaGo, which serves Chinese advertisers looking to reach consumers overseas. Baidu GBU offers its products and services worldwide, including in the United States, Greater China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. For more information, please contact us at: gbu_us@baidu.com

About Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The fourteenth installment in the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball, was published on November 5, 2019, and immediately hit #1 on the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times bestseller lists.

2019 marked the first publication of a spin-off book, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, which was published in April 2019 and also immediately reached #1 on all three national bestseller lists (New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal). ABRAMS also recently released Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Best Friends Box, a box set containing Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1 and Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, and The Wimpy Kid 2020 Wall Calendar.

The series continues to reach new heights globally. This fall, Kinney visited seven countries on his international tour, including France, where he was made an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of the country’s highest cultural honors. Both Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball and Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid ranked #1 in every country in which they were published, including in the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Germany. The series is now published in 64 languages and 76 editions.

More than 200 million copies of the books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series have been sold globally. Published in 2007, the first book was an instant bestseller and has remained on the New York Times bestseller list since its publication and through the release of the fourteenth book, for more than 686 weeks total.

About the Author

Jeff Kinney is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and a six-time Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award winner for Favorite Book for his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Jeff has been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He is also the creator of Poptropica, which was named one of Time’s 50 Best Websites. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives with his wife and two sons in Massachusetts, where they own a bookstore, An Unlikely Story. For more about Wimpy Kid visit wimpykid.com.


Building a Better Bee Beard

Building a Better Bee Beard

I’m Lahna 🤠

I’m primarily an AR lens programmer here at BTM, but I also help out with illustrations.

The decline in honey bee health is a very important issue all around the world. So for National Honey Bee Day we wanted to contribute our skills as a company to help the honey bee gain more attention.

The goal was to create Snapchat augmented reality lens that gave you a beard made of bees that flew off when you shook your head. This concept was an attempt to debunk the idea that a swarm of honey bees is a dangerous entity. Swarming honey bees are when they are most calm and passive since they have no home to defend. Which is why beekeepers have no fear when they show off a beard of bees! Also, it looks cool.

We thought of two ways we could go about it:

  1. Position so many bee objects around the face that it looks like they have conglomerated there into a natural beard shape
  2. Create a static, textured mass that resembled a beard and then cover it in actual moving bees to save on tri count.

We decided to start with plan A just so we could work on the head-shaking and bee navigation while our technical artist expertly modeled, rigged, and animated a bee for us to work with. We used spheres of the approximate size of what the bee object would be until she was finished.

 

Beard of proxy spheres

We whipped up a script to detect when a user was shaking their head and partnered it up with a system that monitored all bees and their states. This triggered random bees to fly off the face every time the user shook their head a certain number of times.

I was then sent the bee proxy to more properly craft the shape of the beard until the full textures and animations were complete. Substituting them back in took a long time because of a weakness of Snapchat’s AR engine that we didn’t understand — but would come to terms with later.

In order for the bees to appear more realistic when they are flying, we wanted to add a little flying loop as the come back to the face. So, we added a looping state in there as well.

Eventually, the animations were finished and it was time to replace all proxy bees with proper bee objects. This took an even longer time and we didn’t yet know why; each bee was just taking forever to select.

After trying to put a certain amount of bees on the face, the engine kept crashing. To the point where the project was un-openable.

We had well exceeded the suggested tri count for the engine, but it hadn’t stopped anything before. Other lenses were ten times over the allowed tris but worked fine.

We realized, however, the engine was worse when it came to an overload of the number of objects in the scene hierarchy. The engine could select an object on its own, but an object with dozens of children took a very long time to select…and because of the nature of the engine each imported bee was broken up joint by joint into their own objects.

So it was time for plan B. We made up a beard-shaped object but no matter how hard we tweaked it it just couldn’t look right because the surface needed to be covered in bees for it to be believable anyway. We remade the scene from scratch, using the old scripts. There were three kinds of bee objects:

- Static bees with very few tris, to make up the bulk of the beard

- Idly animating bees that never leave the face

- Bees with animations built in that let them take off, fly, and land

This set of solutions worked surprisingly well! And after that, we put an overlay filter and some sparkles on it and called it a day!

 

Final Bee Beard Effect!

 

Check out the finished result for yourself: http://tinyurl.com/beardofbees