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the truly impressive 3D & animated information graphics shown during the long opening sequence of the movie Stranger than Fiction. all visual effects were developed by MK12 studio. (i.e. infographic art, closing credits effects) & Intelligent Creatures (i.e. opening scene, flat demolition).

when will there be an augmented reality application capable of overlaying such real-time information, especially for the data-addicted between us?

[link: (Quicktime, closing credits)& & &|thnkx Andrea!]

see also An Inconvenient Truth infographics.


Your question reminded me of William Gibson's 'Spook Country' - allthough it's GPS based vr art in the book. Doesn't sound too improbable, does it?

Fri 17 Aug 2007 at 9:11 PM

I actually thought of your blog when I saw that movie opener, so kudos to you.

Fri 17 Aug 2007 at 11:01 PM

wow. that is a very nice compliment indeed, billyg. even better than the recent inclusion of infosthetics in this cnn blog list...

Sat 18 Aug 2007 at 1:05 AM

I've been a fan of MK12's work for years now and what was done in this opening sequence was done with the usual excellence I'd expect from MK12.

On the other hand I think this is a perfect example of how graphics can distract from, rather than enhance, the information they're meant to further illustrate.

Close your eyes and listen and that opening sequence is painfully boring. The only reason I sat through it was to watch MK12's work. So I suppose in this case the distraction is welcome.

Sat 18 Aug 2007 at 8:13 AM

Thomas, that's a rather odd comment. Cinema is primarily a visual medium, and this opening sequence is telling a story visually--letting you see through the character's eyes. Closing your eyes misses the whole point.

But like billyg, infosthetics also ran through my mind when I watched this a few months ago :)

Sat 18 Aug 2007 at 12:52 PM

I always wonder what they type in for all this text. Sometimes you see a word or two, but often it's 10 full pages of tiny, unreadable text showing up for a split second.

Do they really type actual information or is it totally meaningless Blindtext?

Sat 18 Aug 2007 at 9:10 PM

Folks at MK12 seems to be doing a decent job indeed.

Mon 20 Aug 2007 at 1:24 PM

for those interested, the DVD has a special 17-min feature about the infographics in this movie. it contains several interviews, many more (deleted) scenes and stills.

Mon 20 Aug 2007 at 9:31 PM


You're right. That was an odd comment. What I should have said is watch this opening sequence without all of MK12's nice work. It's tedious and not very entertaining. The story and narration isn't all that good. MK12's infographics make it interesting but not because they work to enhance the information presented by the narrator, (as much of the added graphics are illegible or are designs that suggest meaning but are really vacant of any), but rather because they themselves are more interesting than the story. They're essentially distracting us from the tedium of the opening sequence.

Again, I love MK12's work and I think this is a fine job of entertaining with animation. I just don't think they actually enhance the narration as infographics should strive to do. Given what they had to work with, perhaps that was an impossible task.

Wed 22 Aug 2007 at 8:07 AM

I was meaning to catch this movie while it was on the cinema. Now I definitely want to, especially given the visual style and the two tracks by Spoon. I'm pretty sure the tune behind the opening sequence was from The Way We Get By. Great band.

Thu 23 Aug 2007 at 3:06 PM

I read last year that the New Zealand tourism board are investgating augmented reality systems for there historic sites.

I believe the concept is a head up display system displayed onto windows so you can over look say an old war site it will play through the history of the battle or whatever, display rich info, animations, etc...

No idea if it will pan out but it will be awesome if they do it.

Sun 26 Aug 2007 at 10:10 AM

Funny, I watched the visuals with the sound turned off, and all I could think was "My god, what a load of chartjunk."

If this technology ever becomes real, I will support making Edward Tufte our Dictator For Life. We'll need him.

Mon 27 Aug 2007 at 3:20 PM

Thomas, that might actually be the point. It's not that you have to have all of your senses piqued, only the visual sense. That's the point of the way they've done the video – the visuals are important, as they convey the message a lot stronger (and, in this case, it's the visuals that are being used to convey the message). It looks to me like a great piece of work. A good job was done on the inconvenient truth video as well.

Thu 24 Jul 2008 at 9:38 PM

As long as we keep the spirit of being digital this will never come to an end. I just hope though that 3D stuff won’t replace the reality. Real-time things are very much needed in any field be it in the World Wide Web or in the offline world.

Mon 15 Sep 2008 at 11:58 PM
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