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Bruce Christy, executive creative director/graphic designer/interactive designer
Kevin Brimhall, Axis41/Spencer Burgess, Phunware/Myan Duong, Axis 41/Eric Moujaes, Dann Petty Design/Dann Petty/David Rathbun/Matt Scherer/Shaun Steele, design team
Sean Dellis, Binocular, production designer
Robert Duke/Ryan Engle/Darren Turetsky, Binocular, developers
Brent Kirsten, Digital Core, online editor
Rick Schulze, RS & Associates, video director
Adam Gravois, Mirar, visual effects supervisor
Paul Grimshaw, RS & Associates, executive producer
Sean Forsgren, Glasses.com, producer/project manager
Psyop, 3-D animation company
Athena Studios, production service company
Glasses.com, project design and development/client

Launch Site

“Set-up was an intense process, but I was impressed with the accuracy of the results.” —Sean Klassen

“Magical. This app takes the art of the digital sunglass purchase to a level well beyond anything I’ve ever seen.” —Troy Lachance

Overview: Try before you buy—it’s what every consumer wants, but typically forfeits in the age of online shopping. Eyewear retailer Glasses.com set out to solve this problem with an app that lets a shopper view thousands of frames rendered on their face instantly in 3-D. Using the iPad camera to photograph a face and then build a 3-D model, the app provides an exceptionally realistic “virtual fitting” that lets users turn their heads to view the frames from any angle.

• This project took two years to produce, with technology ranging from augmented reality to digital animation with cinema-class effects gathered from across the globe.
• Australia’s national science agency (CSIRO) provided the key technology, Smart Vision, which uses algorithms to turn 2-D images from a mobile camera into a 3-D model.
• Social tools let shoppers share views of themselves in their favorite glasses on Facebook and Twitter, and use polls to let friends help them pick the best pair.

Comments by Bruce Christy:
What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “There were many challenges with such an ambitious project. First, virtually rendered video frames had to incorporate a full inventory of 3-D-modeled eyeglasses placed on a model of the user’s face that’s generated on the fly. Reflections, lighting, shading and complex occlusion masks (such as the part of the eyeglasses not visible behind the nose as the face turns) all had to be synchronously implemented. Next, these interactive video clips had to be rendered 4-up on a screen as the user swiped through a catalog of thousands of eyeglasses and sunglasses. Quite a task considering the processing power of a tablet.

“From a creative point of view, there were 47 different wireframe revisions across the board, three different design approaches and dozens of features added after the whole team thought it was locked down. Every single pixel was explored and every line of code refined multiple times. We routinely started over. We have a saying around here (quoting the Army Corps of Engineers): ‘The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little bit longer.’”

What has been the response? “Response to the end product has been incredible. The 2013 TED conference invited us to present the technology on their main stage and allowed a launch demo booth in the lobby, which wowed the tech elite. Apple featured the project on the App Store in version 1.0, which is rare. Edmund McCormack (iAd Sales, Apple, Inc.) reported that Glasses.com for iPad was their most successful retailer app download campaign in iAd history, both in terms of downloads (800,000 to date) and cost per click. Likewise, Facebook informed us that the cost per install was the lowest they, too, had ever seen, which is testimony that a fresh idea with sophisticated design does break through.”


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