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Meet So-Hee Woo, creator of the Kid LAROI’s metaverse set

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Los Angeles’ Fairfax, a time-honored vacation spot for streetwear and youth tradition, is a becoming neighborhood to listen to So-Hee Woo speak about her AR set design for alternative-rock singer KILLBOY. She arrives in custom-made denims, which she repurposed with large vinyl stickers of hand-designed Doberman Pinschers, then painted in head-turning pink and pink. Not even 5 minutes into the interview, Woo gasps over a ping from her telephone; her buddy has despatched her a hyperlink to check Pinterest’s new invite-only collage-making app. Woo excitedly unlocks Shuffles’ options, shortly pulling objects from her photograph library to create a collage that frankly appears suave for one thing accomplished in 30 seconds.

Nimbleness and curiosity are pivotal to all of Woo’s artistic endeavors.

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“It can be horrible,” she says. “It can be the worst thing you’ve ever made. But just try. It expands your mind on how to do things.” 

As the present Head of XR Design at Encore, Woo makes “live music videos,” a hotly debated time period that she personally loves to make use of to explain her blended actuality units for artists’ digital concert events. Because the music trade inches towards acceptance of the metaverse as an extension of an artist’s id, Woo likes to show new converts and curious storytellers learn how to embrace the time period. 

“Some people hate [the term] ‘live music videos’ because then it feels less live and more manufactured,” Woo explains. “I like it because how you imagine the medium feels more similar [to a music video]. It doesn’t have to be constrained to the physical world.”

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[Photo via So-Hee Woo]

For Encore, an interactive reside music streaming app co-founded by Kid Cudi, Woo has constructed blended actuality units with artists resembling the Kid LAROI, Trippie Redd, $NOT, KYLE and Oliver Tree for his or her digital reveals. Some of her most vibrant collaborative work so far required modeling 3D heads to drift in outer house, designing a cartoonish hellscape that abruptly cuts to raining greenback payments and dressing an electroluminescent stage in opposition to an ‘80s “retro sunset”-inspired backdrop. The visuals evoke the energy of a Hype Williams house party set while still presenting a new way for artists to reinforce their taste and style. The best part of it all: Any artist can make one on their own in-app.

Though the experience is an exciting piece of the pie, it’s still many artists’ first time interacting with the metaverse when they step into Encore’s tiny inexperienced house to carry out. Consequently, what usually occurs is an “AR yard sale,” a time period that Woo coined to explain all of the littered design objects slapped onto an AR house when artists run amok with their new canvases. But augmented actuality nonetheless abides by acquainted visible rules: making a background versus foreground, centering topics for focus and having a function. Woo reminds artists of this as they begin to construct their units.

“[Artists] have been creating digital stuff for a really long time with music and album covers and music videos,” Woo says. “In AR, the principles are still similar. It’s just expanding that a lot more.”

[Photo via So-Hee Woo]

Self-proclaimed to have been “super addicted” to the idea of bodily items, Woo thought she was going to make tangible merchandise after she graduated with a serious in industrial design. After a quick stint creating devices for the medical trade, Woo attended graduate faculty to additional examine industrial design with a give attention to speculative design, which taught her learn how to solid what she thinks the long run may appear to be, then take steps to handle the issues set sooner or later. Nonetheless, Woo was craving some utility in her work. 

“I needed a balance,” Woo says. “My grad program used to be problem-setting, but the industrial design mind in me focused on problem-solving. To me, just problem-setting was almost too emotional. Everything always feels broken.” 

Throughout her thesis, Woo met with early innovators behind Encore and labored as a contractor to assist them outline their lane in prolonged realities. Impressed by the chance to broaden on its use for the long run, she took a place because the crew’s first Head of XR Design to guide one-off video productions, tech analysis and growth, and now the democratization of the digital instrument within the music and creator trade.

[Photo via So-Hee Woo]

For so long as the metaverse wants an articulate definition, the job gives the steadiness that Woo was in search of by her tutorial pursuits.

“A lot of people think the metaverse is undefined because it’s not fully immersive yet,” Woo explains. “This is the problem-setting part. [The metaverse] is a concept we are trying to shape: What are we going to do between now and what it actually is? When we have defined that, we better have made some good decisions along the way.” 

In hopes of defining the way forward for the metaverse by a wholesome and humane framework, Woo believes it is very important carry extra laypeople, from musicians to different creators, into AR by accessible language — in the end to show them that anybody can do what she does. In her downtime, she enjoys creating “how-toTikToks to offer sneak peeks into the manageable, no-cost (outdoors of a smartphone) work that goes into constructing units. She additionally makes movies to unpack the emotional and psychological aspects of the metaverse.

“I offer a unique perspective because I am not that technical,” she says. “I am still a designer and artist. I still have my core beliefs and values of what I want to say, and AR just helps me show it.” 

Woo’s core piece of recommendation for anybody who needs to start out? Ask your self what’s the best technique to get motivated. 

“That’s more important than what type of software to use,” she says. “If you think it would be really funny to make an AR snail climb along your forehead and have him high-five you on the way down, you learn the technology that way, and that is so much more useful. That’s your first step to the next thing.”

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