AR Artist, WRLD.SPACE on Designing The Juventus Insta Filter
Augmented Reality H+ Creative Artist, Clay Weishaar talks with Soccer Bible about his experience designing the Juventus Instagram Filter. The filter features multiple jerseys suited by the team, characterized by geometric shapes scattered in each unique environment. Here's what Clay had to share about his process:
Soccer Bible: You’ve been creating some other worldly goodness with adidas and Juventus. How does it feel to see that Instagram filter out there and being used?
Clay Weishaar: It’s super-exciting because this was a really ambitious project. Augmented Reality is still relatively new and you can only fit so much in an Instagram filter. So the adidas team wanted to do something that hasn’t been done before. So we just put everything we possibly could into making this an amazing experience. It’s definitely been a huge challenge. Pushing through that and seeing the end result is highly gratifying. We basically made a virtual art installation around these amazing football jersey’s which is amazing.
Soccer Bible: Football is a growing sport in the States. You’re in California mixing creative industries with the game – what’s your relationship with the football?
Clay Weishaar: I’ve been involved in football in a number of ways. My daughter plays and so I’ve been doing all I can to play the game with her and help her always get better. Our saving grace and escape or sanity check during Covid has been kicking a football around.
From a technology standpoint though, what I’ve seen is that the game has gotten so forward thinking. Look at the shoes and adidas specifically, everything looks so futuristic. Everything looks like future gear. That fits so well with AR. AR sport is developing so much because it’s all about watching the players, watching the game and exploring it through all angles. The technology we’re going to see, some of which I’ve worked on, we’re going to see volumetric video cameras that film games. Soon enough, you’ll be able to do a reply but put the hologram on your table, walk around it, zoom in on every little detail and it’s going to be an amazing experience, especially for those that watch the sport. The way wearable tech will go will bring a whole new layer to our lives and especially watching sport. You’ll be able to go to a game with AR glasses on and have data in the lenses. It’s going to be a cool additional layer to the game.
Soccer Bible: Juventus are a team pushing boundaries on all fronts. What was your first thought when this project was initially brought to you? Did you imagine the game could be so creative?
Clay Weishaar: I was really excited as an artist when speaking to adidas. One thing they really emphasised was how much of a modern brand Juventus is. They expressed to me the importance of not looking at this project with the traditions of football in mind. I saw the jerseys and was like “holy shit, these are wild” and I instantly realised it was a good match for me. I’m more in the future thinking side of the game.
I think those shirts resonated with me creatively. Looking through instagram feeds like SoccerBible and just seeing the evolution of the sport, the evolution of the gear and the evolution of the fan – there are traditional fans out there but here we’re talking about Gen Z and their activeness on Instagram, on Snapchat -– they’re going to be engaging with the sport in a totally different way than their parents would. My daughter will watch the game in a completely different way to me. She could potentially be watching the game with her generation wearing AR glasses and that would be completely normal.
Soccer Bible: You mentioned this project being like an art installation – what can you tell us about your take on being given a blank canvas – your mind must run away with ideas with how to express two passions of art and football?
Clay Weishaar: I think for me, when I start a project it’s so important to understand the context of a project and how it is going to be used. I watched games and I heard fans and when hearing the chants, I started thinking about AR and how cool it would be to make a virtual art exhibition that reacts and responds to fans cheering. The filter is voice activated so the more I yell, the more the art pops and responds. That came out of just understanding how fans get excited about their sport and I really wanted to bring that into the art. That was one of the most exciting things for me about this project.
The other exciting thing was the idea of “try on” augmented reality – so being able to put a digital version of the shirt on you. I ordered a Juventus jersey, it’s still on its way to me and I realised that would be the same for a lot of fans. So this filter allows fans to put on the jersey and almost see how it looks before their actual jersey arrives. So that “try on” augmented reality mixed with the art installation we’ve created as part of this filter, there’s several dimensions to the project.
Soccer Bible: It’s funny isn’t it with Augmented Reality – so much of the experience is about just trying it and figuring it out. Explaining it can also be quite difficult…
Clay Weishaar: The voyage of discovery is what it’s all about. I was trying to talk to my mum about what I made and eventually got to the point in saying “you’ve just got to try it”. I was talking to my daughter about the project, she’s eight years old and she said to me “you’re being paid to be inspired?” She just laughed at that. She thought it was so funny.
Soccer Bible: Has it shown you a different side of football now that you’ve seen what happens when football and art come together? Has it shown you just how many possibilities there are?
Yeah. I’m a sneaker fan, I collect and I’m into fashion. Seeing these new jersey’s – I probably wouldn’t always wear a traditional one but these third kits and what I’ve seen out there...looking at the SoccerBible feed, my mouth drools a bit. There’s so much cool stuff being done. From the vivid colours being used to the physical product being created, there’s just so much you can get inspired from with football. I have a feeling I’ll be doing more of this kind of creative work in the game in the future. The dynamics of the sport will change so much and it’s exciting for me. It’s definitely opened my eyes to the modernisation of the game which is really cool. Being able to fuse that with art and seeing the creativity in the sport – it’s what the project for me has been all about.
Soccer Bible: The crossover into the sneaker scene and the lifestyle world, football is on a mad good ride. It’s such a good arms race in a way.
Clay Weishaar: Yeah I think the future of the stadium is an interesting concept as well. Like how is technology going to play a role in that environment. How’s it going to hinder or enhance the sport – time will tell. E-sports for instance, it’s blowing up and is incredible to see. I used to play so much FIFA at the time when I was working with Ridley Scott. We were making sci-fi films and you can already see so much of that cinematic, virtual reality world coming into football.
Soccer Bible: Can you set the scene a little as to what that was like? Working on films with a Director like that?
Clay Weishaar: I got into AR while working with Ridley Scott. For me it was a way to take what we were doing in the writers room and then quickly visualise it. So for instance if there was a giant robotic drone in a scene and we’re conceptualising ideas around that, I was able to go out on my lunch break, have a coffee and make this thing then look at it, walk around it and that kind of thing. That’s the beauty of the technology – it’s very 3D, it’s very volumetric and very tangible.
Soccer Bible: With technology in mind and that industry you have worked in, how do you think technology can change the game? Beyond Covid – looking deep into the future…
Clay Weishaar: Yeah I’ve seen a little bit this last year working with a company called Magic Leap. What we were doing was looking into an experience for sports fans, through an AR headset. Part of the experience was to put on the VR headset and go watch sports. Especially with Covid, there are ways for the players to play the game, safe in a stadium and if the cameras are set up right that could give fans a shared experience of the game. It’s all a future sport and I’m sure there will be a lot of people in pubs who would want to dump a pint on all the technology but if being at home is the only choice you have to watch a sport you love, why not make it digitally immersive. I’m all for jumping into technology and not just seeing it flat but seeing it the way that it was meant to be played.
The filter is now available for use on the Juventus Instagram profile.