As we continue our interview series with Spark AR creators, today we’re catching up with Kyo Park, a freelance graphic designer that splits her time between Seoul, South Korea, and London, England. Kyo talks about how she blends her 2D and 3D design skills to create AR effects, where she finds inspiration for her work, and offers some helpful advice to creators interested in working with brands.
Designer Discovers AR?
A few years ago, I moved from Korea to London to study graphic and media design at the University of the Arts. After I graduated, I worked on the agency side for a bit, but it wasn't a great fit for me, so I started freelancing. Today, I focus mostly on graphic design work in the art and fashion industry.
What got you interested in AR?
My creative skills and experience are grounded in your typical tools, mostly Adobe 2D design products, but I’m interested in 3D creation as well, so I’ve learned how to build rigs and models, and comfortably use software like Blender too. A little over a year ago, I started experimenting with face effects and Spark AR Studio as a hobby, and really enjoyed the way I could bring both my 2D and 3D design skills together, so now I’m trying to focus on projects where I can use this blended skill set.
Where do you find inspiration for your effects?
Inspiration comes to me in different ways. Sometimes I find it in my dreams or when I’m listening to music. My brain automatically creates images or scenes based on the tone or tempo of the sounds. I also like looking at older-style runway fashions and paintings. One thing I try to avoid is looking too much at other AR effects for inspiration. I want to be as original with my own work as possible, and avoid creating effects that look and feel like everything else out there.
How did you learn Spark AR Studio?
I watched a lot of tutorials, especially on YouTube. It helps that I know several Spark AR creators too, so between the skills I already had a designer, plus friends in the community and a ton of great stuff on the internet, I was able to learn Spark AR Studio fairly quickly. I think I’ve created over 100 effects so far, but I’m constantly turning some off, some on, depending on how they’re performing.
Do you have a favorite effect?
Yeah, one of my older effects called Iconic Nose Piercing, comes to mind. There’s just something about this effect that captures and reflects my personality well — it’s weird, it’s fashionable, it’s fun! I also try to advocate for any effect that supports social justice/social good movements.
What are some of your go-to features in Spark AR Studio?
I like templates, especially the head and neck decoration ones. They just save me a lot of time with routine tasks, like creating and positioning objects on a model. I also like using the Patch Editor and shader patches, even though there's a lot more I need to learn about shaders, lighting and such. I’ll admit, it’s hard at times to keep up with all the new features and capabilities, so I tend to focus on one feature at a time, and really try to come up with an original idea that’s a good expression of that specific feature.
How do brands find you for AR projects?
I’ve published quite a few effects on Instagram, some of which have generated millions of impressions — so brands typically find me that way, through Instagram. I like that all of my published effects link to my Instagram profile, it helps them work as my digital business cards too.
What types of projects are brands requesting?
I think AR on Instagram is a great example of “easily accessible AR” for brands. The brands can create fun and differentiated experiences with AR, and then pair that experience with the reach of social media. I think a lot of brands see this combo and are excited about the possibilities. Now, they don’t always know exactly what they want, because I still tend to get, for example, more asks for face effects versus world effects. But this is okay, that’s why they want to work with experts to help guide the idea and the design.
Any advice for creators aspiring to do more brand work?
I think you need to know what your strength is and play to it! Stick to who you are and don’t be afraid to do your own thing. This doesn’t mean you can’t look at what other creators in the community are making, but don’t limit yourself to only what you see.
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