As a lifelong creative and technophile, I have an insatiable curiosity about technology and how it constantly changes our lives. I am passionate about innovation and finding new ways to capture the imagination.
At The Mill, a global creative-technology-and-content studio where I have served as the chief creative officer in the U.S. since 2015, we specialize in crafting engaging experiences by using emerging technology to stimulate people through moving images. We are particularly excited about this collaboration for a Special Collector’s issue of W magazine, in which we are extending the boundaries of print into the world of augmented reality, enhancing the content you see on the printed page before you with immersive graphics that unlock a totally new magazine experience.
The key to this dynamic content? Your smartphone and the W magazine app, Beyond the Page, which we developed exclusively for this issue.
So, how did we get here?
We are all currently riding the wave of immense mobile-computing ability and cloud connectivity. No one predicted the smartphone revolution; in 10 short years, the iPhone has transformed not just the way we communicate but how we live. Never before has such power—and information—been in the palm of your hand. That piece of glass in your pocket, crammed with the latest technology, has assumed a lofty place in our hierarchy of precious things.
This rapid rise of the smartphone has opened the door to new ways to reimagine print media, including digital storytelling that blends the physical with the virtual. The mixed-reality world is here. Working alongside the photographer Steven Klein, we made 3-D scans of the issue’s cover star, Katy Perry. These were then used to create a series of virtual portraits, which are brought to life when scanned with your phone using the Beyond the Page app. (Just keep an eye out for the W icon, below, which pops up throughout the issue.)
You can also scan digital images from the September issue, like the cover below, or the photographs in our Katy Perry cover-shoot photo gallery to unlock the AR experience using the Beyond the Page app.]
The blend of physical and digital realities promises to open up creative possibilities like never before: Imagine flipping through a fashion magazine and seeing the model come to life, stepping off the page and into your living room. You can see her clothes from all angles and the weight of the fabric as she moves. In the mixed-reality future, a magazine won’t be confined to the pages in your hand. These pages will trigger a series of curated, immersive experiences, an extension of what we have done right here with this issue of W.
While the applications of mixed reality are far too extensive to delve into here, I will say that this is an incredibly exciting time to be at the forefront of emerging technology and digital storytelling. We’re looking forward to further exploring how they can complement and expand print media.
For now, we will leave you with the enriched pages of this W issue. Enjoy.