Meet Florencia Raffa – our next guest of Creator’s AR Journey, who has found inspiration in the most unusual places, and whose work reflects her passion for exploring and improvising. She shares how a negative experience led her to discover her new passion and how she has been continuously improving her craft.
How did you start your AR journey? How did you discover Augmented Reality? What motivated you?
In February 2020 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, they operated on me quickly and in March I found out that I was going to start chemotherapy, that’s when I knew I was going to be bald and I wanted to change the negative aspect of a disease with something positive and that’s when I started to do the effects for fun. Before doing augmented reality effects, I worked as a graphic designer and I loved making designs that were unconventional, changing the way we see something… I partly feel like Marcel Duchamp hahahahaha but I always liked giving things another meaning and with Augmented reality gave a negative situation and experience a positive aspect which led me to discover my new passion!
What Is AR for you?
AR is a new branch of art that changes and involves people to be a part of it. I love that the things we see today can be transformed with augmented reality. Give added value to what I have already seen, years ago I started a venture that consisted of drawings that I did on my cell phone, and over time I wanted to give added value to the notebooks and clothes that I illustrated with those drawings (@artepad_store), and I had thought of an idea that Today it is possible with augmented reality, I had thought of a QR (since that has been around for a long time) that when you pointed with your cell phone it would let you see something extra from the illustration and at one point I thought of making an app to color the drawings that towards, but it was very expensive since in 2014 augmented reality was only possible through apps.
What or who is your inspiration?
I don’t have a single way of getting inspired, sometimes ideas come to me from unusual places, for example on the street I see someone or graffiti or on many occasions talking to someone an idea comes to me out of nowhere. I follow many artists, each one gives me a vision of something that I love to combine or gives me a new idea of something. I follow many effects creators, and each one has something unique, Denis, Manu, Paige, Elya, Piper, Adam, Yisus, etc. There are many very good ones that I couldn’t put all of them in because I would end up making a papyrus of names hahaha. Every day, each of the creators we see contributes something that makes us complement each other. When I started doing effects I never imagined that I could achieve it, but what I am sure of is that many have inspired me and with them, I have found my style. I also believe that one is always looking for something, because this is eternal progress and what we do today in 5 years will be better as long as we keep working to improve ourselves.
Come up with something about yourself that sets you apart from other creators. (AR direction that you like most, Passions… Anything you like and can be used to showcase your individualism)
I think that each person in her life tries to have the best time possible, or at least tries to fulfill her dreams. In that eternal search, one is never satisfied, but instead goes for objectives and I believe that I always achieve those goals in my life that make me always discover new ways of communicating. I believe that today I am still seeking to reach new goals and my process as an artist is continuous, so perhaps in 10 years if I continue creating the effects, they may be very different from what I am doing today, but they will always have my essence because what makes the creators differ is that each one has an essence that is molded with constant practice. I think that nowadays I am in constant improvement, for me there is no ceiling and it is what I like the most because it means that I can continue creating effects, whether they are aliens, real characters, fairies, monsters, etc., and go beyond myself and improve myself day by day.
How would you describe your work, do you have a specific style? direction? Does it change over time?
I improvise a lot, when it comes to creating something new, although I plan ideas and things that I want to do, many times to achieve an idea I first improvise and investigate and then ideas emerge. like brainstorming but making effects. On other occasions, if the idea is simple, I do it and that’s it, but many of my effects, which are the most artistic, have come from the mere fact of trying things. I love to investigate and improvise, that way I’ve learned a lot. When I have to work for a client, the way I work is very different, because since we have times and objectives, other things are prioritized, but my effects are many times achievements from learning new tools, or from the simple fact that I don’t have something specific that perform and I can improvise.
When did you realize that you had reached a turning point in successfully creating augmented reality? What helped you with this?
I think that we are always improving, what I am achieving today in a few years will be better or different, although it will have my essence, it will continue to progress. If I look to 2020, every time invested in improving is seen today in 2023, but those 3 years that I am now are part of eternal progress. I like that people like what I do, it gives me great pleasure to do things and that they see themselves and tell me that they are good, which shows that I am going on the right path. In every creative process, one has to explore everything, and I feel that each one is creating that journey and learning. I love to see how other creators are improving, and how we are growing as a community.
Tell me about the projects you’re most proud of? What makes them special? What assets were used to build that project?
The ones that I like the most that I have done were several, for example, the colored Fairies, the ones that I have put together by extracting parts of the face, like ART & FLOWERS and the Aliens also! I’m very proud of Aliens. Generally, I use procreate to draw all the assets, also nomad to make 3D objects and deformations, and if I want to animate I use After Effects.
Describe your working process. Do you follow the work spontaneously or do you have a plan that you follow?
I improvise a lot, but for some, I have the idea and I do it. For example, the Art & Flowers project was not improvised, but I really liked an Adobe advertisement and I wanted to see how to recreate it. And the Aliens are all improvised, although I uploaded 12 aliens, I actually did approximately 30 or 40 I think. The creative process for each filter depends a lot on the idea if I have an idea I do it and sometimes when I don’t have anything and I’m just seeing what I’m doing improvised. Now, for example, I made some filters with target tracking that inspired me in Berlin, where I came to live, and I wanted to combine the Uniqlo logo with a futuristic city and the Berlin television antenna in an image that I later used as tracking on a t-shirt that I printed. at Uniqlo, where I did two effects with that tracking.
How do you deal with clients’ feedback?
In general, I work very well with clients, and many times they ask me for a few modifications. What I always do is a mockup first to validate the whole experience. And then when it’s ok I start development and if there’s something I don’t like very much I redo it with a new mockup. But usually, I always validate everything in the mockup, and there is more feedback in that instance. But luckily some clients call me Speedy Gonzalez because I’m pretty quick at solving things! and they like how I work!!
What is your dream in terms of AR creation?
I love being able to make objects that have added value in the future. For example, clothes, I have made clothes with fabrics printed by me, and I love giving added value to clothes. I have many ideas that I have not yet achieved and that excites me to continue creating, so there are going to be new challenges and new dreams for me in regards to augmented reality.
How immense is the future of AR in your opinion?
We have no limits. I imagine a few years from now that Google Maps will mark our walking route with its glasses, that we go to the supermarket and look at the products and the health app tells you if it is good or bad for your health, or that you learn things without having them physically, the latter is something I want to do, give my contribution and achieve something that is not just a makeup or a character, that’s why I think that we creators have no limits.
Crosscreators team is thankful of Florencia for joining us in this interview and for sharing her passion and unique approach to creating AR. Her story is a testament to the power of art and creativity in transforming negative experiences into something positive. We hope Florencia’s insights will inspire lots of people to explore the possibilities of AR and to continuously improve in their craft.