Chicago’s Trixi Studios has found a very danceable way to combine augmented reality (AR) with classic Swedish New Wave synth popsters a-ha. It’s a mash-up that is an ’80s music lover’s wet dream of a tech demonstration showcasing the potential of Apple’s upcoming iOS 11 ARKit framework.
a-ha and Take On Me 101
Before we get too far into all this app zaniness coming to the iPhone and iPad this fall, here’s a courtesy clip to get our younger readers in the ’80s musical loop. Firstly, who exactly are we talking about when we name-drop a-ha? Secondly, why is what Trixie has accomplished so damn cool? Here’s an introduction (or maybe it’s a reminder) to the band’s classic rotoscoped video (where live action footage had to be painstakingly traced or ‘painted’ frame by frame) for their 1985 Billboard-topping tune Take On Me:
Sorry kids, it’s not Pitbull
It’s doubtful Trixi has plans to base an app around Pitbull and Christina Aguileras’ 2012 tune Feel This Moment that sampled a-ha’s Take On Me. We can definitely say this, however: the original’s visual representation, directed by Steve Barron (who also helmed videos by The Jam and Human League back in the day) definitely took longer to put together than the standard stage-and-crowd concert shots seen in Mr.Worldwide’s offering. Two solid months and thousands of frames of footage on the a-ha front, in case anyone is counting.
Short and to the point
Animators working on a-ha’s labour-intensive video were undoubtedly mumbling under their breath about where else the sun doesn’t shine. Trixie’s developers? Not near the headaches. Speaking to The Verge, company founder Chip Seneni said this about Trixi’s app only taking 48 hours to develop.
“The hardest part was not having all the live video receive the post effect. But [we] really wanted that effect of turning your world into the ‘Take on Me’ experience, not a baked in experience.”
Trixi’s demo, in all its a-ha glory:
Trixi did have some help outside of the ARKit in bringing their application to life. GameFlow is used to handle the visual scripting. Developers also utilized Mixamo to tackle the characters and animations. The combined result is users being submerged into a stylized augmented reality that mimics the look and feel of Take On Me. In the case of Trixi’s demo, folks cut a real rug in their home while seamlessly dancing in and out of animated surroundings–their animated surroundings. Augmented, indeed.