Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. wants to create video game-like 3D characters through facial and performance capture, according to nearly a dozen recently posted job listings.
The fast-growing company is looking to hire people with expertise in 3D character animation and game design, including a 3D lighting artist and someone who can “digitally sculpt 3D characters.” Building these characters from the ground up will “play an important role in shaping how Snapchat tells visual stories,” according to another job description.
They also indicate that Snap is exploring other ways of blending the physical world with the virtual.
A job description for a performance capture specialist says that whoever fills the role will “develop internal and external tools to support the creation of new Snapchat experiences.” Performance capture is commonly used by video game and movie makers to create virtual characters based on human actors.
Yet another open role seeks someone who can model “3D characters, clothing, accessories, and props.”
A Snap spokesperson wasn’t immediately able to respond to Business Insider’s questions about the new job listings.
Beyond its 3D selfie lenses, Snap signalled its interest in creating virtual characters when it acquired Bitstrips, the Canadian startup behind the hugely successful Bitmoji app, for a reported $100 million earlier this year.
Snapchat users can now send Bitmojis of themselves in messages and the app’s paid geofilters. Creating 3D characters could allow Snapchat to eventually let its more than 150 million users interact with more realistic, animated versions of themselves.
The Los Angeles-based startup has been steadily hiring VR and AR experts from its tech competitors and Hollywood too.
This summer it acquired the small team behind an app named Seene, which let users create 3D selfies using computer vision technology. The core team behind its newly released Spectacles camera glasses was working on numerous Google Glass-like augmented reality projects years ago.
More recently, Snapchat added rear camera “World Lenses,” which overlay 3D effects over all of your surroundings instead of just your face.
Exactly how Snap plans to use 3D characters remains to be seen, but the company clearly plans on being an industry leader in VR and AR for the foreseeable future.
Know anything more about Snapchat’s plans for augmented reality? Contact this author via email ([email protected]) or on secure messaging app Telegram (@alexeheath). Anonymity guaranteed.
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