Esquire looks to energize print with 3D animationOct 29 by The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Hold Esquire's December issue in front of a webcam, and an on-screen image of the magazine pops to life, letters flying off the cover. Shift and tilt the magazine, and the animation on the screen moves accordingly.
Robert Downey Jr. emerges out of the on-screen page in 3-D, offering half-improvised shtick on Esquire's latest high-tech experiment for keeping print magazines relevant amid the digital onslaught.
Esquire's top editors are clearly enthused about the new technology, called "augmented reality."
Triggering the animation is a box just below Downey's cover image, resembling a crossword puzzle and looking a little out of place. The magazine has printed about a half-dozen boxes inside the issue, each calling up a separate interactive feature, plus a couple of ads. The issue will be available nationally by Nov. 16.
(This is exactly what GE did last summer, I remember holding up a printed off black and white image to a webcam on the GE site and it would become a moving, 3D image that you could interact with by blowing into the webcam. Very cute.)
It may be the future of print or just a dying medium's last desperate grab at attention as the Internet swallows more of peoples' time.
With the Web drawing some ad dollars and readers from print, publishers have made various attempts to give more oomph to the medium. Time Inc. has tested personalized magazines that allow readers to mix and match sections from eight different titles. Entertainment Weekly ran a video screen in some copies of its fall TV preview issue. Last year, Esquire animated the front of its 75th anniversary edition with digital e-ink, the same stuff used in Amazon's Kindle electronic-book reader.
Esquire Editor-in-Chief David Granger acknowledged the issue is costing more than usual to put together, "the magazine won't be able to use the technology every month, but would like to as often as possible."
For the December issue, when held up to a webcam, on the page is Esquire's regular men's fashion spread, while on the screen, the model is pelted by a computer-animated snow storm. Granger gives the page a quarter rotation, the weather turns sunny and the model starts throwing on summer clothes.
It's nice to see that it's not all Print media vs Online media, and that someone has finally managed to find the inbetween. Like I said earlier, it's nothing new, the technology has been used before by GE, (General Electrics), but it still hasn't reached a whole new audience yet like 3D has. It is, however a cool a gadget it is, more work or the company and more work for the customer. Although they won't lose out if they don't hold their magazine up to the webcam, if they have one, they will be missing out on what should come more easily to them. People are waiting until they can buy a magazine made out of digital pages that just get updated every month, or twice a month, but have it in their hand like a magazine instead of on the internet. Until then, I don't think everyone will be bothered to go through the steps of receiving the technology, they want to be spoon fed and have it quicker, e.g. as soon as they buy it. I'm waiting for a fashion magazine to do a 3D issue, with 3D specs included... here's hoping!