Dezeen Music Project: UK visualisation studio Universal Everything has designed an augmented reality app that lets users navigate and manipulate digital environments that accompany music by British band Radiohead (+ movie).
Three-dimensional visuals were adapted from sketches by English artist Stanley Donwood, who has created the band's album and poster art for the past twenty years.
"We were contacted by [Radiohead frontman] Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood with the idea of building an app that is an immersive, ever-changing world," Matt Pyke of Universal Everything told Dezeen. "Beyond a linear music video, this was about creating our own ecosystem, with seasons, weather and fragments of sound."
Opening the Polyfauna app on a smartphone or tablet loads a bespoke scene, which is different every time it is used. Colourful skies and landscapes sometimes appear peppered with abstract trees.
The augmented reality is navigated by moving the tablet around or tracking a red dot that relocates the user to another area of the virtual world.
"We built a vast map with varying terrain, colours, species and sounds," said Pyke. "As you move around the map, by drifting or teleporting by chasing the red dot, you encounter new environments - giant forests, flat plains, tangled spiky creatures and hidden, rare occurrences."
Tracing fingers over the screen creates spiky forms in the air that slowly slither out of view in the direction of the hand movement.
"Users can bring their own life into the world, by drawing on the touchscreen - a drawn spine grows into a floating lifeform - drifting into the wild," Pyke explained.
The app uses the device's gyroscope to react to 360-degree movement, aligning with the sun and horizon in the real world.
"What makes this special is the non-linear nature of the experience," added Pyke. "Every user starts in a different location in the world, with individual music, colours, seasons, species and terrains to explore. We hope we have created a space between sound, landscape and life."
The free app is works on iPhone, iPad and most Android devices and is available to download from links on the company's website.