Transforming Art in AR

Google Fiber is tackling some of the most significant challenges of net neutrality by offering a more accessible, transparent, and unrestrictive internet service. No other internet service provider is building new infrastructure to make internet better - it takes a lot of hard work. And since the construction impacts local communities, Google Fiber started an artist initiative to give back to the new “fiberhoods” across America.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, Google Fiber wanted to take one of these initiatives a step further. And we were asked to help envision the project and make it real. We helped build an augmented reality (AR) experience for a mural painted on a 35’x50’ wall by local Raleigh Artist, Taylor White. The project stands today as one of the largest-scale AR experiences to date.

From the start, our priority was to create an AR experience that felt like a natural addition to Taylor’s art. And we discovered that Taylor’s artistic process could be a perfect focal point for the user. When painting the mural, Taylor painted layer over layer, burying her art until the topmost layer perfectly matched her vision. To truly dimensionalize her progress, the AR app would pull hidden layers of geometric shapes from the wall itself to add a profound sense of dimension and scale to the user experience.

Our timeline was ambitious. Just under 2-month to plan, conceptualizing the idea, designing the pieces, and building the app to make it happen. Conceptualizing and prototyping happened hand-in-hand, each one moving forward while simultaneously informing the other’s trajectory until the finish line. With a ton of unknowns, from the massive scale to variances in natural light, we tested and tested to ensure the AR experience would work once the mural was painted.

The experience launched with a two-day grand opening event where participants could explore Taylor’s art with the augmented reality app. In the near future, anyone will be able to download the app to experience Taylor’s art in AR.

We partnered with Portland production studio, Revery, to document our journey and provide a closer look into the project from start to finish.