“A captivating and entertaining way to showcase the AR capabilities of the iPhone 13.” —Matt von Trott
“[The team at Tool] are some of the best in the business, and this project is no exception. They make great use of mobile AR and lean into its constraints to create a playful, beautiful experience.” —Andre Elijah
Overview: For the launch of the iPhone 13, Los Angeles–based creative production firm Tool worked with Verizon to create H1DD3N, a first-of-its-kind AR treasure hunt. In collaboration with Grammy-nominated artist Halsey and pop art collective FriendsWithYou, Tool developed a large-scale AR installation that enables users to explore a magical playground to find a hidden iPhone 13. Participants in the treasure hunt encounter animated characters called Friendsies that represent aspects of the new device. The experience targets five key media markets alongside an at-home experience that can be accessed by anyone with a smartphone.
Tool built two experiences—at-home and on-location—that work together to allow users to add their Friendsie character to the AR installation at any of the five locations involved.
H1DD3N formed part of a larger launch campaign that spanned social media, traditional media and OOH, among other channels.
The ideation, UX, design and development of H1DD3N took approximately ten weeks.
Comments by Adam Baskin:
What software, back-end technology and programming languages did you use? “We leveraged three.js and 8th Wall to develop both experiences. The main challenge for the at-home experience was how to create a seamless transition from a Web AR environment with six degrees of freedom to a WebVR experience with three degrees of freedom that transported the user to a virtual representation of Bryant Park. To accomplish this, we used 3-D objects, animations and shaders to mask the transition from the pass-through camera into a VR environment that appeared around the user.
“The main challenge for the on-location experience was the perception of scale. The limitations of AR don’t allow for depth of field or accurate ground shadowing in this instance, meaning that distant objects would just appear as tiny as opposed to far away. To solve this, we positioned the user close to the largest AR element when the experience launches. The starting point acts as a visual reference for the user. And as AR elements pass by and occlude each other in the distance, the parallax effectively conveys a sense of distance.”
How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on in the past? “It was a groundbreaking project in the way that it blended location-based experiential with a fully scalable digital experience anyone could access. Thinking through those two experiences in a way where they provided the best experience to those users while maintaining a thoughtful, strategic throughline was constantly considered during discussions.”