In the ever-evolving landscape of digital creativity, there’s a tale that resonates with determination and passion—the story of Andy Teh, an augmented reality (AR) Specialist at Shuttlerock Vietnam.
But his story starts far from Vietnam, on an Indonesian island where he began his artistic journey. Think of Andy as an artist inspired by Sumatra, navigating the AR world at Shuttlerock. After graduating high school and trying out hospitality in Australia, he shifted to design. His journey, with challenges like bartending and late-night graphic design gigs, shows his business mindset of bouncing back and improving skills.
After the pandemic, he landed at Shuttlerock, a big player in digital ads on platforms like TikTok and Facebook. Starting as a Junior Motion Designer and moving up to a key role in AR, Andy’s story reflects his ability to adapt to this fast-paced industry. Now, why did Andy move to Vietnam? It began with his girlfriend, and the pandemic made him stay longer. Shuttlerock became his first business gig in Vietnam, where he grew professionally and explored the AR field.
In Andy Teh’s story, each step marks growth and adaptability. Here, he shares more about his journey as a creative in Vietnam – how he handles client feedback and his thoughts on the future of AR in marketing.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most satisfying aspect of my job is comparable to completing a challenging puzzle or earning a well-deserved medal. I find immense joy in navigating complex challenges and solving problems in my dynamic role. Each successfully resolved challenge is like fitting a piece into a puzzle, gradually revealing the comprehensive solution. This process of problem-solving is deeply fulfilling for me.
How have changes, such as AI, affected your job, and what should we do to keep up with the changing world?
Currently, AI doesn’t have a significant impact on my work. It’s not ready to take over the main tasks in AR, as per my experience. AI is still at a basic level for 3D, and I believe it will take more time to play a major role in the AR workflow. Despite this, AI proves helpful for handling side tasks necessary before diving into AR projects.
The key is to try things out and learn from mistakes. Combine insights gained from what works, what you learn, or even failures to develop your own standards and personal values. If your traditional methods still yield efficient results, stick with them.
However, staying informed about new developments in your industry is crucial. You don’t have to replace your old methods, but having knowledge about the new ones is essential. Give them a shot to see how they fit into your workflow. You might not need them entirely, but you could find a small corner in your process where they enhance efficiency, much like how I leverage the advantages of AI in my AR work.
How would you explain the difference between VR and AR to someone unfamiliar with the field?
Both VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) provide real-time experiences. However, the key distinction lies in the nature of the experience. VR offers a complete immersion, transporting you into an entirely new dimension. Imagine walking into a different world, making it ideal for applications like property selling.
On the other hand, AR is a hybrid experience, blending virtual content (like 3D objects, 2D graphics, and filters) with the real world. You can clearly distinguish between the virtual and real environments. A popular example is the Pokemon game, where virtual creatures interact with the real world—a concept that gained significant fame in Vietnam.
What’s your approach to work?
My approach is to adapt and go with the flow. I maintain a calm demeanor, often being commended for my strong survival instinct. Whether working in a team or leading, I place trust in my team members, providing them with the space to showcase their potential. For those with less experience, I offer guidance initially and gradually encourage them to recognize and leverage their strengths. When I sense they are ready or nearly there, I take a calculated risk, allowing them to take charge of a suitable project independently.
Throughout, I keep a watchful eye on their progress, ensuring open communication. Additionally, I always plan a backup solution in case unexpected situations arise.
What sets Shuttlerock apart from other design studios, both in Vietnam and globally?
Shuttlerock stands out primarily due to our world-class design approach, crafted specifically for each brand rather than using generic templates. We take pride in offering a 2x faster turnaround time, reducing costs by 67% compared to traditional advertising agencies, all while maintaining a 100% in-house creative team. In the realm of Augmented Reality (AR), we provide an exclusive service and a dedicated team to conceptualize ideas, enhancing brand engagement—an uncommon offering in Vietnam. Our internal team benefits from proprietary tools developed by our research and development team, streamlining the creative process and ensuring secure idea submission and result checking for clients. With our in-house cloud for storage and communication, we prioritize efficiency and confidentiality.
Looking ahead to 2024, Shuttlerock Vietnam aims to elevate our local impact by fostering a more vibrant work environment and creating additional job opportunities for Vietnamese talents. On a global scale, we’re harnessing advanced AI technology to deliver top-notch creative solutions aligned with client goals. Furthermore, we’re expanding our partner programs to extend our influence and outreach.
What are your thoughts on the growing trend of major brands using AR technology for interactive product experiences?
In my view, the future of marketing is indeed headed toward AR, but it’s still in the growing phase and not quite ready to dominate the market. The limitation lies in technology access, primarily relying on phones or tablets for AR experiences. If a user lacks a high-tech device, the full AR experience remains out of reach. Even AR wearables or VR glasses, while available, aren’t commonly adopted in daily life. Connecting these devices with household goods presents another challenge.
Regarding the recent trend of 3D motion tracking products, it’s important to note that they’re not exactly AR. While it may share similarities, true AR demands a real-time interactive experience. The current trend often involves videos using CGI to showcase products, which, while impactful, might be a temporary trend. I believe that even if this trend fades, it will leave a lasting impact, influencing brand recognition strategies in the long run.
How do you deal with client feedback in AR, especially when they want to make changes?
The difficulty depends on the stage at which the client requests revisions in our 3-step process:
- Storyboard: This initial stage is the easiest for revisions.
- AR Demo: Here, we showcase the main actions, making it a suitable phase for changes. While it demands effort, it’s an optimal point for handling revisions.
- Polishing: This stage aims for a bug-free, complete AR experience. Revisions here are challenging, even more so than starting anew for extensive changes. The complexity arises from AR’s logical chain of actions, where a small alteration affects the entire process.
Our solutions involve thoroughly examining the case’s viability and appropriateness. We then optimize the case to find a solution that benefits both parties. In the end, the mantra is simple: JUST DO IT, as I firmly believe in taking decisive actions.
What advice would you give to a junior designer aiming for a senior position?
Begin with a journey of self-reflection, understanding both your strengths and weaknesses. Develop a clear improvement plan, setting a timeline to enhance your skills and a strategic approach to showcase your abilities effectively. It would also help to cultivate discipline in every task, no matter how small. This commitment isn’t just about the tasks themselves but serves as a step toward shaping a resilient and growth-oriented mindset.
I also believe that translating your positive mindset into actionable steps really helps. Consistent and dedicated actions contribute significantly to shaping your personal and professional image over time. It’s also important to recognize the importance of effective communication as a crucial skill. Being able to convey ideas clearly and collaborate efficiently is essential for professional growth.
Throughout this journey, maintain humility. Even as you progress towards a senior role, stay grounded and open to learning. Never assume you’ve reached the pinnacle, as continuous growth is a constant in any successful career.
What advice or call-to-action (CTA) would you offer those aspiring to join the AR field or potentially join your company?
My suggestion is simple: “Come and replace me.” Embrace the opportunity to not only be part of the AR industry but to make a mark within our company. Step in, showcase your skills and contribute to the innovative landscape of augmented reality. This isn’t just an invitation; it’s a challenge to bring your unique perspective and talents to elevate the field and our company to new heights.