Atlantic re:Think and The North Face, together with L2D, recreate the Himalayan achievement through an award winning mobile AR experience.
Total user engagements while the campaign ran for three months
Users averaged an impressive rate of 4.4 out of 5 total events per engagement
The Atlantic magazine’s tech edition needed a creative cross-over between the print feature and the reader's mobile device.
To accomplish the task, we integrated a QR code that sent readers to an immersive web experience designed to spark a physical reaction. Readers were invited to participate in an experience, not reflexively scroll.
Visitors to the experience could wield their phones, twisting them to see an accurate rendition of the Lhotse path. Mobile AR lets users take in the enormity of Lhotse, follow the winding summit route, and pause at each campsite along the ascent.
To get a high-res, fully immersive experience, we couldn’t rely on grainy GIS or satellite imagery. We needed to recreate an entire section of the Everest massif from scratch.
We started by digitally sculpting the mountains in Z-Brush then hand-textured them in Substance Painter before finally baking the results. While optimized, we were not satisfied by the resulting digital landscape and opted to twice-bake our peaks.
Thanks to Octane Renderer, we achieved fluid shadows and realistic sunlight conditions. Once fully baked, our final Lhotse model exhibited intense detail, a single-texture map for Three.js to load, and a sense of awe at human ability.
The task was to create a mobile AR experience to accompany a print story. The result was a portal to one of the most breathtaking locations on the planet, literally.
After prototyping AR functionality for the web, we crafted two main interactions:
A zoomed out view of the mountain and path, both visible in web AR and 360° panoramic views of each camp location along the summit path.
We couldn’t settle for 360° panoramic views limited to each campsite; your phone needed to feel like a window into the soaring sunny peaks.
To achieve the feeling, we innovated parallaxing panoramas which are multi-layered renderings moving at slightly varied degrees. The result gives you a true sense of depth.
Using Three.js and custom-innovated parallax 360° layered images, visitors could virtually hike up the Lhotse couloir and explore each camp along the way. Using your phone's accelerometer, you could turn in every direction to see exactly what the skiers saw.
Minus the icy gusts and thousand foot crevasses.
All of this work came together quickly. In fact, from start to finish, L2D had around 38 days to complete the project for its feature in The Atlantic’s tech issue.
Not only did we complete the project on time, we earned two accolades: FWA Site of the Day and The Mobile Site of The Week on Awwwards.