Animochi is an augmented reality platform powered by open blockchain technology. Users acquire Animochi CHANNELs in order to create content on the Animochi mobile app. Each CHANNEL is associated with an Animochi avatar. Owning an Avatar’s CHANNEL allows the user to pose the avatar on the app, capture them using the in app camera, and then post their creation to the character’s CHANNEL.
A Character’s CHANNEL works much like a traditional social media ‘story’, where sequential posts are aggregated and played for other users to view. In the same way social media users are able to create a virtual persona or brand, Animochi users will be able to create a narrative for their characters through developing their character’s CHANNEL.
Animochi was first created out of our team’s love for traditional animation and anime, as well as an appreciation of social media’s ability to drive online personas. In synthesizing these two influences, our team created three initial goals:
- Develop a AR game/creation engine focused on storytelling using tools from traditional anime and social media.
- Leverage blockchain technology to allow users to acquire ownership of their content.
- Provide a platform that acts as a bridge between the virtual and real worlds in relation to social media and gaming.
The Animochi Creation Engine
The foundation of the Animochi platform is its creation engine. The engine allows users to create augmented reality scenes using various two dimensional and three dimensional objects. The objects are selected via in a game ‘wallet’, which displays objects by category. At launch, these categories will consist of “Avatars”, “Backgrounds”, and “Objects”. When selecting the “Avatar” category, the user is provided with a selection of avatars available to them. A user gains access to a given avatar in their wallet by obtaining their CHANNEL in the the web app Marketplace, or via third party sellers. Once selected, the avatar will appear in the user’s augmented reality scene, and can be manipulated using the underlying technology of the Animochi engine to produce posts for the avatar’s CHANNEL.
The “Backgrounds” category allows users to select from various 2D ‘objects’ or planes that display content ranging from common anime cartooning to the user’s photos and videos from their camera roll. These objects were designed to be used as backgrounds to provide context and setting for the avatars, but can be used in any way the user desires.
To further develop a character’s setting, the 3D category provides the user with additional objects that can be placed within the virtual scene. These objects consist of props of various themes, ranging from medieval walls and armor to cyberpunk cars and buildings. Although the objects listed under the 2D and 3D categories will be static at launch, allowing users to add third party 2D and 3D models is currently an area of focus for development.
One of the prevailing themes from social media over the past 15 years is the rise and now ubiquity of the “story” media type.
A stories is usually a short, automatic sequence (autoplay) of images or videos that is divided into several sequences, which is accompanied by backgrounds, music, texts, stickers, animations, effects and emojis. The aim of stories is to tell a story (e.g. an everyday experience) or to convey a message.
In order to allow users to develop narratives for their characters, the Animochi team chose the stories content type, with the intention of adding techniques from traditional animation, comics and anime. This was a done out of an awareness of the similarities between both types of media in terms of how an overall narrative is formulated by readers (or users):
“[A comic is defined as] Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer”
― Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
However, one notable deviation Animochi takes is the abstraction of the ‘story’ away from a given user (or their username), and instead combining it with the Animochi Avatar. As such, the content generated is attributed to the avatar’s CHANNEL, and the CHANNELs are ownable and tradable between users.
At launch, users will be able to acquire CHANNELS through the web app Marketplace. The Marketplace will initially consist of 25 Animochi CHANNELS (the genesis CHANNELS dubbed the ‘0x0’ models). New CHANNELS will then be added periodically to the marketplace through 0x1, 0x2, and 0x3 model drops, each with increasing quantity. The Animochi team aims to open up the minting process of Animochi channels to other creators in the future.
A Bridge to the Metaverse
Individuals are spending increasingly more time in virtual worlds. This trend is accelerating with the introduction of open worlds on the blockchain. In many instances, users of these virtual worlds are expected to chose from default avatar characters, or bring along models of their own creation. Custom characters add an element of depth to these experiences, however, as of today, there is no streamlined process for a user with little technical skill (or time) to acquire a 3D model and then ‘plug and play’ into a virtual world. In other sectors of the industry, phenomena like “Vtubing” show a potential for 3D characters to be used for social media content creation; however, interoperability between those social platforms and the virtual worlds are all but nonexistent.
In order to bridge the gap between these closely related sectors, Animochi aims to be a launching pad for users to acquire online avatars, develop their persona on our app, and then plug and play into a game through partnerships with other virtual worlds using blockchain technology.