Building a Better Big Mac

Hi, I am Louis, the new high school intern for Capitol Interactive. I have just started to learn the tools and programs we use here to develop amazing VR and AR experiences. One of these tools is Facebook’s AR Studio which is a free program for creating simple Augmented Reality experiences. My task was to develop a program in which the scene responded to facial expressions in some way. I thought that it would be fun to make my first project a comedic one.

At the beginning of 2019, news broke that McDonald’s had lost the trademark on one of the companies most iconic food items: The Big Mac. This comes after McDonald’s sued and lost a trademark case against a restaurant in Ireland named “Big Mac’s” and it was that the name “Big Mac” was no longer reserved for McDonald’s; at least in the European Union. Since the trademark was overturned fast food companies such as Burger King have been poking fun at the McDonald’s by naming burgers on their menus with parodies of the name, such as “The Burger Big Mac Wished It Was” and “The Anything But a Big Mac.” This development inspired me to help Burger King make fun of the once McDonald’s exclusive.    

First, I watched, and then performed several tutorials within the AR Studio app to understand how to create and use face tracking; then I went to work.

I started by adding two 2D canvases to my scene. The first was the Burger King logo next to the words, “Better Than a Big Mac.” The other was just a 2D image of a Big Mac. I created these by downloading the images I wanted locally. Then uploaded them to AR studio as textures, assigning those textures to materials, and then assigning those materials to “rectangle” objects within the canvas. After that, the 2D element of the process only required some light scaling.

The next step was to have the program detect the user’s mouth opening. To do this, I created a face tracker in and set it to recognize when and how open the user’s mouth was, which is as simple as selecting this action in a menu.

Patch editor for SparkAR

Patch editor for SparkAR

This is where it starts to get a little tricky. Once I had patch script to track mouth openness, I added a script to add plus one to the X and Y value of the “mouth openness” variable so it upscale larger. Then I had that value be the scaling variable for a 2D transformation command. Once I had done this, I applied the command to the camera texture to create a new texture of the scaled image.

  The program gives the user the ability to control the zooming of the photo just by opening their mouth. By doing this, when the user opens their mouth, it appears as though the they are eating the burger. In summary, augmented reality is a useful tool that gives users a new way to interact with marketing on a more engaging level — creating stronger relationships between brands and individuals.

If you want to try the “Better Than A Big Mac” filter for yourself click the link below.

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 3.49.31 PM.png