Interview with Kelsey Jones

A conversation with the digital artist behind Resident's AR feature

What is your line of work, and what types of projects do you normally work on?
I'm a digital artist specializing in 3D graphics. 10 years ago a normal project for me would've been creating a CG image or animation that promoted a product or provided instruction. But now my scope has grown much broader. VR, AR, 3D printed models, video editing, game dev, you name it! Variety is nice.

How did you come into contact with Resident?
I've been mates with Resident co-founder Scott Bridgens for... years? It feels like a long time. Up until recently, I didn't even know what he did for a living, I guess it didn't seem important! But last year we both discovered what each other did for a crust, and then a collaboration just made sense.

What was Residents brief for this project?
Resident were in the process of redesigning their website. As technology is always changing and improving the way people shop online, they wanted to make sure they were on the leading edge of this wave and incorporate it into their site. In this case, the technology was the ability for 3D models to be shown and manipulated within a browser, and then have the option of viewing the model in AR. They asked me to create 3D models for all of their products, as well as advise on the best way to incorporate these into their site.

When did you start and finish the project and what was the most challenging part of it?
Our discussions began in June 2021, and I worked part time on this until the website launch in early 2022. There were many challenging aspects to this job. Probably the hardest part was dealing with the large number of products and variations possible, especially when having to iterate on these repeatedly to achieve optimum speed and quality. I tackled this by scripting a pipeline that automated many of the repetitive tasks, so I could press a button and let the computer do the heavy lifting where possible.

What aspect of the project are you most proud of?
I'm most proud/relieved that the system of model delivery that I envisaged ended up working as expected! Many other 3D configurator systems we evaluated didn't let you see your chosen configuration in AR, rather they'd show you a generic version. We felt like this was important for the functionality, especially when colour coordinating! So I'm glad we achieved this.

What do you enjoy doing in your down time?
My job is also my hobby, so I'm often still at my PC after work hours, tinkering, learning, trying to keep up! What gets me off the computer are usually ocean activities, surfing, swimming, kayaking. We are so lucky to have so much ocean around us in NZ, and it brings me peace and awe to be amongst it.

Who is your favourite creator/creative?
Difficult to say.. I'm super into Lex Fridman podcasts at the moment, always enlightening! But on the visual side, I find so many talented people when researching for new projects. One that comes to mind is Memo Akten. He creates real-time art installations which are super cool, and there is usually some interesting tech behind it all.

Where do you find inspiration?
I love art, both visual and aural, but the technology that enables it is just as interesting to me, so often I learn of a new program or technique online, then try and think of ways I can apply it. Outside of the internet, nature is the next best muse. The form of a shell, the intersection of ripples on water, im fascinated by chaotic motion and what it produces.