Creative Spotlight: Emilio Vegas

Emilio Vegas, known online as Emiliusvgs, is reshaping AR. The Peruvian creator specializes in AR effects and concepts and has been steadily growing his following on Instagram and YouTube.

Testing products, tweaking Snapchat lenses, and vlogging, Vegas keeps busy with his so-called “Metaverse” project. You can visit his YouTube for more tutorials and product reviews, but first, read on to learn more about how Vegas got his start.

Q: How long have you been playing with AR?

A: I fell in love with augmented reality in 2009 when I was a young university student. I used to read a Japanese tech blog in which they showed a simple examples of AR. I immediately searched for information about how to do it, until I got it done with and nyartoolkit library.

Q: What inspired you to start creating lenses and working with AR filters?

A: It called my attention the ability to create AR filters without having to compile it into an application. The effect is uploaded directly to the social network and has the ability to spread quickly. Users can experience our work with fewer technological barriers.

Q: How do you describe yourself to people who don’t know the first thing about AR and mixed reality?

A: [That’s a] difficult question. I think I would tell them that I am a researcher of a new technology that allows people to see 3D information superimposed on reality and view it through your smartphone or other viewer. I also use this technology to create visual effects for Instagram and Snapchat.

Q: What is your favorite medium to work in?

A: I really like working with WebAR technology. I use a lot of ARjs. I also love Lens Studio platform. It seems to me the most robust platform to create powerful effects.

Q: In what ways do your lenses currently use machine learning?

A: Since SnapML came out, I have dedicated myself to make lenses with the Style Transfer function. It seems like a very creative method to me. I used colors from my country (Peru) and I tried to transmit my culture through augmented reality.

Q: Did you build those ML models yourself? If you didn’t, what did you do to find or otherwise create them?

A: I used the Lens Studio templates to experiment with object detection. Then, when I discovered Fritz AI, I decided to do my first modeling which was based on an XBOX control. Fritz is a very intuitive platform that will allow more people to explore the world of machine learning to create lenses.

Q: Where do you see your career going — how important is it for you to be a digital creator?

A: With my Emiliusvgs project, I want to spread the knowledge of augmented reality [and] make it accessible to the world and especially to Latin America. As a digital creator, I have learned to read the needs of users and provide value not only technically, but also conceptually and theoretically. We always have to be innovating.

Q: If budget, time, and technology were all in place, what would be your dream project?

A: I would like to apply the mirror world concept to an entire city. Having the ability to add a layer of relevant information to users, [while] respecting their privacy and rights. This is also accompanied by providing the necessary hardware to use (ex. smartglasses).

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