A Portal into Portals
In January, 2023 we were approached by Atlantic Records with the challenge of creating an augmented reality portal for one of their artists: Melanie Martínez.
We had to contain our excitment, as one of our co-founders turned out to be a HUGE Melanie Martinez fan. We instantly clicked with their team and brought a bunch of ideas to the table that are now materialized in the AR portal of the debut song of her album: DEATH. Here’s a recap of the project and a glimpse into the inner workings of Sunken Blimp and how we bring amazing immersive experiences to life.
Martinez has established herself as a creative force to be reckoned with since her 2015 debut album, CRY BABY. The album is a collection of alt-pop that tells the story of its title character through a series of self-directed visuals and hit singles, amassing over 6 billion total streams and 1.5 billion video views. With her new release, PORTALS, Martinez solidifies her place as a multi-talented singer-songwriter-filmmaker. This album marks her first full-length release in nearly four years, following her 2 billion-streaming, RIAA Gold-certified second album, K-12, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Alternative and Soundtrack album charts.
The Design Process
We met with her team with a bunch of ideas in mind. The fact that we already knew the world she’s been trying to create made this conversation flow smoothly. We like meeting often with our clients and including them in the design process. Melanie herself shared some sketches of the ideas she had in mind. We discussed the overall vibe, the songs that she wanted featured and started working on the first concepts.
After receiving all the necessary information, we gathered the team and started our internal design process so we could provide Melanie and the AR team with a clear plan and vision for the project. We used AI to generate first concepts, hand drawing, test 3D designs. We ended up with several options for the Portal Threshold and tought about the possible elements to be included in the experience. The music video for DEATH was released. It turns out our ideas fit perfectly with the dark-fantasy world Melanie wanted to portray.
During this phase we design the environments and assets that will go into the experience. Knowing the lore behind Melanie Martínez world, we decided to pay an homage to her CRYBABY persona and built an altar: RIP Crybaby. We know fans love easter-eggs and details, so we made sure to research and include some of the most recognizable elements from her universe and included them in the environment. We got all of the assets together, we created renders and adjusted the elements distribution. Designs approved, unto the creation of the Portal.
During the previous phase we had started our first tests for the AR Portal. Once we had an initial concept we shared it with our team of developers to start testing the space. The 3D Team and the Developer Team worked closely together to bring the experience to Augmented Reality and start with the tests. One awesome thing about working with AR is that we were able to share the progress with Melanie and her team to gather feedback constantly.
The experience came together. We are ready to launch.