Above: The completed interactive UI featuring a 3D rotating globe that takes the user on a trip around the world.

When you get us to do a project, you’re guaranteed of two things - the final product will be handmade from the ground up and absolutely unique.

This is especially true for an interactive project just completed for the International Office of NWU’s Vaal Triangle Campus. Every year NWU Vaal receives a large number of students from all across the world. A need developed for a compact, offline (disk-based) information resource to supply these international students with everything they need to apply and study at the NWU from application forms to immigration matters and medical information.

And because it also served a marketing purpose it needed to look attractive.

The client wanted on a high-tech look to the project and we changed gear early on to overhaul a simple rotating globe background graphic into a custom 3D graphic that takes the user on a trip around world. A crosshair cursor searches the globe, zooms in to selected countries like China, Cuba and Norway and then presents the user with basic demographic information. 

Building a desktop-sized video graphic into the presentation’s background presented me with two challenges: 1) optimizing everything to play back smoothly on even the most limited computer system a potential end-user might use, and 2) maintaining the map’s crisp imagery once the globe zoomed in to a specific country. My starting point was a simple world map image and I ended up using lot of the apps in my Adobe Master Collection as well as a few non-Adobe tools to arrive at the final product. 

Above: 2D to 3D...the project called for some serious custom FX work. The starting point of the globe animation was a simple world map image. 

A series of completed animations were then built into the project’s user interface and links were added to a multitude of PDF documents that would be available on the final disk. Everything was finished in the NWU Vaal’s distinctive green corporate colours.

Above: The final product presents the user with clickable document links, video and web-based content. Available soon in mini DVD and Blu-ray formats from the NWU Vaal International Office 
This project had me scratching my head at times but I’m thrilled with the way it turned out. The International Office has a very active blog and Facebook page that is well worth checking out.