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Fancy yourself a 3D illusionist?

Feb 22 2016 14:28
Lameez Omarjee
The 3D illusions use flat images that create illus

The 3D illusions use flat images that create illusions of depth. (Picture supplied).

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A locally developed app that allows users to create 3D anamorphic illusions came up as one of two winners in the Get In The Ring Entrepreneurship Challenge for the southern and central African region. In March the app’s designer, James Sands, will go to Colombia to compete in the final stage of this global competition.

The mobile app, iMORPH3D, allows users to create 3D illusions, much like those designed by 3D street artists. The app, launched in 2015, has a global reach with sales in SA, Russia, Europe, Australia and the US. His participation in the competition has given iMORPH3D more exposure and access to potential fans and investors, both locally and abroad, says Sands.

As a creative director, having been in the advertising industry for the past 20 years, Sands is always looking for new and different ideas. Sands says 3D street art illusions piqued his interest.

“I love creating and doing anything creative, especially 3D illusions and optical illusions. Who doesn’t?”

After doing research on the art, he “deconstructed” the process and created a tool for “everyday people” to do the same. “We need a lot more creativity and positivity in this world and that’s what I’m trying to bring.”

Users don’t need to have a background in design. However, professional illustrators, photographers and artists can use the app to create their own 3D illusions to offer to their clients, says Sands. The app can be downloaded from iTunes or Google Play for $6 (R86.86). Users can watch a 12-minute video tutorial that explains how it works.

Using the app, users can take a photograph of an object to create a visual canvas. The user can then distort the image so that it looks 3D when printed on a flat piece of paper.  Email assistance is also available to ?users if they need help following the steps in the tutorial. However, the tutorial is fairly comprehensive and easy to follow, Sands says.

The final product can be printed on any household printer and the image size can be scaled up.

Sands solely developed this app over the past two years, finding time between his advertising media company ADFIRE CREATIVE M3DIA, and his full-time job as creative director.

He worked on the design, features, name, logo and website, but he got in touch with developers to do the coding for the app. 

While time is a constraint for the one-man business, there are plans to add more features in future. This includes an in-app store, which allows people to buy professionally made 3D illusions. He is exploring options to develop an in-app purchase for a higher-grade tutorial for more professional illusions. Eventually these illusions will be taken beyond the digital space. Sands hopes to introduce 3D art festivals where people can create a 3D illusion in one place at one time, hopefully breaking a Guinness World Record. Photo booths that allow people to take pictures with 3D illusion scenes in the background are also on the cards.

He says iMORPH3D is the first app of its kind. “It’s truly a unique app. There’s no other app like it out there… It’s a creative, fun idea.” Sands regularly does research to make sure no one else has “copied” his idea, he jokes.

People who use iMORPH3D to make their own 3D illusions for clients could essentially become competition for Sands’ 3D business. But he welcomes the competition.

“They are buying my app and that’s one revenue stream that’s working,” he says.

This article originally appeared in the 18 February 2016 edition of finweek. Buy and download the magazine here.

design  |  art  |  entrepreneurs  |  app
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