Stop Asian Hate is a Snapchat Lens that was created for our capstone project at the Snap Lens Academy  a project-based training and professional development course for underrepresented community college students, sponsored and hosted by Snap Inc. and Next Shift Learning. In Summer 2021, I had the opportunity to be one of the 15 Scholars to participate in custom skills workshops focusing on augmented reality, fireside chats, and mentoring with Snap and LACMA employees, as part of a rich learning experience.
Snapchat & LACMA
July 2021 — August 2021 (6 weeks)
Charles Park, Jen Mina, Francis Palacios
My role
AR Development, Visual Design, Project Management
Lens Studio, Blender, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe AfterEffects, Adobe Premiere
Stop Asian Hate Lens aim to immerse, inspire, and engage the audience. We hope to encourage them to stand with the Asian-American community against injustices and celebrate the Asian culture and heritage.
Our Lens has two parts: World Lens (rear camera) and Face Lens (front camera). The World Camera relies on a marker — in our case, the image of the mural or the mural itself — to reveal the elements in the scene. On the other hand, the face camera transforms the user's face into a tiger that resembles the one in the mural.
We were tasked to develop a Snapchat Lens based on a real-world physical mural in our community that tells a story and can be discovered by Snapchat users. The lens must contain a combination of multimedia assets (2D, 3D, audio, and video) to be prepared using external softwares, such as Adobe Photoshop and Blender, which would then be imported to Lens Studio to bring concepts to reality.
Everyone in our team happened to be of Asian descent, so as a starting point, we decided to look into different Asian-themed murals in Los Angeles. But another major contributing factor that led us to this decision is the rise of Asian-related hate crimes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We then came across the "Stop Asian Hate Crimes" mural by Lauren YS located near Chinatown in Downtown LA. Without second thought, we collectively agreed to choose this mural that aims to spread awareness and encourage users to take action against the injustices experienced by the Asian-American community.
We were immediately drawn into the vibrant colors and rich visual elements of the mural. We then decided to take each component apart and animate them individually following a customized sequence to enhance the viewing experience and leave a lasting impression.
Animated 3D model of a stomping tiger and added growling sound effect, to emphasizes the message of "Stop Asian Hate".
Animated 3D model, spinning and pulsating petals, to symbolize nature and growth.
Animated 3D spheres and 2D particles, floating around and fills the scene, to add dimensionality and to represent a celebration.
3D model with animated flames VFX and smoke 2D particles, alludes to the intention of the artist for this mural to be an altar that memorializes the Asian-American victims in the 2021 Atlanta, Georgia shooting.
Animated 2D image, a splatter paint that appears on the ground with a call-to-action to visit the website of an organization that help the Asian-American community.
Animated 2D image, we added this element that the mural would not appear too flat in contrary to the elements that we brought forward.
Follow these simple steps to experience our lens:
1. Download and open the Snapchat app.
2. Using the Snapchat camera, scan the Snapcode. You can unlock the lens by pressing and holding the screen while scanning. 
3. It starts with the front-facing Lens that transforms you into a (cute) tiger! Switch to rear-facing camera by double tapping your screen.
4. Point your camera at the image of the mural below and experience "Stop Asian Hate" Snapchat Lens in action! 

World Lens (rear camera)

Face Lens (front camera)

Future Possibilities
Our initial idea was to have the tiger jump out of the wall (like they're coming out of the mural using an occluder, but the technical execution was beyond our scope considering the given amount of time.
We also weren't able to figure out in time (for the final showcase) how to set the tiger animation sequence on loop. It only plays once and stays idle forever. In order to replay the animation sequence including the tiger growl audio and pounce action, the user would have to reset the Lens (by closing and reloading).

At the time we created this project, there wasn't an option to add an external link, unless it is a business Lens or a campaign. But we were considering this possibility so that instead of having the website as a part of the visual design (text on the ground), the user can simply swipe up to get redirected to the organization that helps Asian-American communities.

We are thinking that our Lens would get more reach and engagement if it was not dependent on a marker.
We had an ambitious idea for our Lens, and while there were aspects that we did not achieve, I'm still very proud of how our project turned out. One of the biggest challenge is learning multiple softwares in such a short amount of time, but we were able to delegate the tasks among the team effectively.
I also learned a lot about myself in teamwork settings. Prior to this project, I haven't experienced being a leader in any team. And even though we did not officially decide who would be the team leader, I personally felt that there were times in this project that I had to assume the role in order the get the work together. I was the one in charge of putting all the assets together in Lens Studio.
Additionally, this was my first time dipping my toes in the realm of augmented reality and I was immediately amazed by the possibilities. It's another skill added to my toolbox, but more importantly, this opportunity made me realize that AR is not just for entertainment, but another form of art that can mobilize social change.