The New York Times Debuts Its first Volumetric AR Experience

The New York Times has been a publication which has eagerly embraced immersive technology such as augmented reality (AR) as a means of enhancing its news coverage, such as giving readers a better look at the various NASA Mars missions. The NYT has now moved into what it believes is the next phase of visual storytelling, using moving 3D images of real people.

The first NYT article to utilise this technology forms part of the coverage of New York Fashion Week, with the NYT using over 100 cameras to capture images of model and activist Ashley Graham. These images were then combined to create a moving 3D hologram of Graham that can be viewed as if she were in the same room.

“The Times chose to feature Ashley Graham because of her approach to body positivity; she is outspoken about not altering images of her body or face shape, a practice that is commonplace in the fashion industry,” said Joanna Nikas, staff editor, Styles, The New York Times. “It’s also one of the main reasons she decided to participate in The Times’s first volumetric AR experience, an opportunity that captures her from all angles and with no altering.”

The AR experience was created using Microsoft technology at the Metastage Capture Studio in California. The technology used to create the effect has been built directly into the NYT app on iOS.

“If you are constantly showing an altered woman in media, what is that little girl going to go and do when she looks in the mirror and see smoothed out skin or almond eyes or a pinched nose and plumped up lips,” asked Ms. Graham. “Why would we want young girls and boys to go home and not love themselves because we are lying to them in magazines and lying to them on social media.”

The NYT app provides the most immersive experience for the article, and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, though other versions of the article are available for different platforms. For future coverage oon new AR and VR content, keep checking with VRFocus.