DC FanDome: Selfie Station / Warner Bros. & DC Comics

Immersive Web Experience and Social AR Campaign

The DC FanDome entertainment and comic convention was a unique and multifaceted effort from Warner Bros. and DC Comics in response to the cancellation of Comic-Con and other fan conventions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The massive, studio-wide virtual event took on the responsibility of capturing the camaraderie and accessibility of Comic-Con, featuring video panels with creators, games and activities for fans, and major announcements for both insiders and the general public.

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The massive, studio-wide virtual event took on the responsibility of capturing the camaraderie and accessibility of Comic-Con, featuring video panels with creators, games and activities for fans, and major announcements for both insiders and the general public.

Creative teams at Warner Bros. and DC had an idea for a collection of selfie AR executions that would be a part of the Fun Zone area of the FanDome, and which would specifically target users on mobile devices.

Our team set to work outlining both a number of creative social AR executions as well as the actual "Selfie Station" that would serve as the entry point and launchpad for all the experiences.

Social AR Executions

Strike A Pose

Looking back over photos from past Comic-Cons, we took note of impressive staged scenes and backdrops where fans could take pictures of themselves in other worlds or next to their favorite comic characters.

Taking those opportunities for personal storytelling as inspiration, we envisioned an AR lens that would let fans take selfie group shots or videos alongside their favorite heroes and villains. Working fast, we put together a very rough prototype overnight to demonstrate the idea and how it could give fans the agency to compose their own group shots to share their fandom their way.

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Separating the foreground, midground, and background into separate layers allowed us to create a parallaxing effect that enhanced the feeling of composing your own truly unique shots.

The potential for this dynamic selfie mechanic was instantly recognized, and it was quickly decided that multiple variants would be produced.

Variations ultimately spanned the comic book, animation, and cinematic lines of the DC Comics Universe and featured an epic roster of characters, from classics like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, to edgier heroes like the Doom Patrol and John Constantine.

Alter Ego

Featuring a "which character are you" slot machine-style mechanic popularized in social AR over the past year, the Alter Ego lens was rolled out just ahead of the scheduled FanDome date to get fans excited for the event.

The lens did huge numbers on social media, pulling in the director of Shazam, who joked about his hero character being left out, actress Gal Gadot—who, of course, got Wonder Woman as her Alter Ego—and journalist Jake Tapper.

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Personal Comic

Rounding out the new lenses was "Personal Comic," a photo-booth style execution that let users capture three selfies in a hyper-stylized, halftone screen style, each set in a separate Gotham City comic panel.

The "Personal Comic" execution, shown here as executed across Facebook, Instagram, and Snap, let users capture themselves in comic panels.

As is standard for our Social AR projects, each lens was developed in both Snap's Lens Studio (for use in Snapchat) and Facebook's Spark AR Studio (for use on Instagram and Facebook).

Designing the Station

Between the new social AR lenses we created, and a number of repurposed existing social AR lenses, the Selfie Station would play home to over a dozen different experiences.

To give each execution an equal opportunity for impact, and so that each could be quickly and easily distinguished, we designed a poster for each AR execution and some futuristic, floating signboards to house them.

3D model development.

Arranged in a circle around the user, each poster floats forward when the user looks at it, creating an entertaining mechanic while also offering a more dynamic presentation. Tapping on a poster allowed the user to launch an overlay with options to experience the social AR execution on the platform of their choice.

The entire experience was then housed in a dome featuring a repeating design that again showcased the half-tone comic style used across the FanDome event.

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Outcome

The Selfie Station—and the 10 social AR lenses and 3 filters it housed—were an instant success in providing fans a place to create shareable memories of the FanDome event.

During the short course of the virtual comics convention, over 6 million impressions and 250k shares were delivered, with fans, comics creators, and celebrities joining in on the fun.