Responsive &
Customizable AR
Black Math x Reality Labs

When a client uses the terrifying idiom “we’re building the plane as we’re flying it,” they usually mean we’re developing a design language while we animate. Or that we’re finessing a script while already storyboarding.
But when the client is Meta, and the project is building hundreds of Augmented Reality assets and a pipeline for future artists and creative teams, it carries a deeper weight. It means that we are taking part in answering the biggest questions our industry is asking right now: What is the future of visual communication? How will we connect with each other in 10 years? In 20? What can we create with today's tools that the artists of tomorrow will be able to build on, to reimagine, and to give new meaning?
Black Math’s partnership with Meta went beyond the sum of the creative (what are we making?) and the technical (how does it work?). The mission to break ground for future AR creative communities challenged our team in every way over the course of a year dedicated to building the playful 2D, 3D, loop-able, chain-able, customizable building blocks that will be the foundation of the way we connect for decades to come.
Get your barf bags ready—cause we’re aiming for the clouds.

We served as a test group of creatives who helped to define, implement, and evaluate strategic pipelines for the future of AR experiences — AKA modular assets that are equipped to: respond to user input, react to each other, interplay with space realistically, and altogether form a robust content library. This meant diving deep into development with the Meta team, learning all the ins-and-outs of what the ins-and-outs even were.

From the ground up, we built sandboxes of all kinds & filled them with versatile tools for future play, predicting both the expected and not-so-expected ways that users might want to combine & chain assets for their own unique experiences.

We also helped open the door to increased user input with virtual objects, developing a range of default 3D text styles and a series of editable objects for users to insert their own words, change colors, or personalize design & animation details.

Editable 3D Text Styles

Customizable Objects

And of course, we dove deep into all the feeeeeeels, asking questions like "How & when do people communicate digitally?" "Which emotions do they most commonly want to share?" and "What tools would be most helpful in enhancing those situations?" ...resulting in tons of emotion-driven kits full of crying onions, pooping pigeons, sassy peacocks, and more baby duckies than a normal-sized heart can handle.​​​​​​​

So what's next?

At Meta Connect 2022, Virtual Objects were officially unveiled as part of the "early beginnings of the tools needed to build world-facing, interactive AR experiences that will contribute to the augmented layer of the metaverse." 
What exactly the future looks like from here, we can't be sure—but we have a mocap suit now, so we'll do our best to keep filling the world with as many kinda-creepy-twerking-dancer-things in as many worlds as clients will allow.
Preview image pulled from Facebook, Developer Sessions: Extend the Metaverse.

Process Highlights


Client: Meta

Creative Direction | Chrissy Eckman, Jeremy Sahlman
Technical + Animation Direction | Steve Madden
Creative Tech + AR Direction | Meredith Binnette
3D Lead (Head of FBX Weirdness) | Ivan Sokol
Producer | Rebecca Cummings

Concepting + 2D Design | Meredith Binnette, Kevin Chiu, Wendy Huang, Steve Madden, Adabelle Tan, Aishwarya Sadasivan, Yifan Sun, Chrissy Eckman, Veronica Ni, Colin Bigelow, [Celia Hsu, Rasita Kartarahardja, Emma Noel]
3D Model | Ivan Sokol (Lead), Tadao Masuyama, Omid Seraj, Connor Bushovan, Louie Jannetty, Amr Seoudi, Patrick Foley, Jessica Young
3D Animation | Lyon Graulty, Lenar Singatullov, Wendy Huang, Yifan Sun, Omid Seraj, Meredith Binnette, Louie Jannetty, Caspian Kai, Cody Samson, [Lee Ormerod, Eric Molina]
2D Animation | Kory Demers, TJ Sochor, Jane Winters, Wendy Huang, Meredith Binnette, Steve Madden, Sam Button, Preston Sullivan, [Jake Williams, Banks Maynard, Tanaya Khadke, Cathy Lin]
Creative Tech / Dev | Meredith Binnette, Russell Bradley, Steve Madden, Ben Knutson, Cody Samson, [Amr Seoudi, Noland Chaliha]

Sizzle Video
Storyboard + Design Lead | Adabelle Tan
Editorial | Steve Madden, [JC Andreu]
3D Design + Animation | Amr Seoudi, Antony Forcellini, Banks Maynard, Wendy Huang
2D Design + Animation | Yifan Sun, Steve Madden, Cathy Lin

Produced by Black Math
Executive Team | Jeremy Sahlman (ECD), Evan Fellers (CEO), Alexandra Williams (EP, Boston), Stephanie Rabins (EP, New York)
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