Apple Watch Face Design Studio Showcases Detailed Photography Process

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Wired earlier this morning posted an interview with Apple Human Interface Chief Alan Dye, in which Dye discusses a few lesser-known details of the Apple Watch, specifically giving Wired an inside look at the obsessive level of detail that went in to making each of the Watch's customizable faces.

An Apple designer works to capture a jellyfish for a photograph in Apple's design studio​
During the interview, Dye elaborates on his team's enormous talent, but says what makes them work so well is that they "really care" about what they create. Echoing back to Steve Jobs' creative concern over every bit of minutiae within any one of Apple's products, Dye begins discussing the process of capturing a simple flower bloom for one of the Apple Watch faces.
Yet what Dye seems most fascinated by is one of the Apple Watch's faces, called Motion, which you can set to show a flower blooming. Each time you raise your wrist, you'll see a different color, a different flower. This is not CGI. It's photography.

"We shot all this stuff," Dye says, "the butterflies and the jellyfish and the flowers for the motion face, it's all in-camera. And so the flowers were shot blooming over time. I think the longest one took us 285 hours, and over 24,000 shots."
The same goes for the jellyfish face, which was captured by the team after building a tank within the design studio and shooting a variety of different species at 300 frames-per-second with high-end Phantom cameras. The resulting 4096 x 2304 images were shrunk down to fit the Watch screen, Dye noting "when you look at the Motion face of the jellyfish, no reasonable person can see that level of detail. And yet to us it's really important to get those details right."

A look at Apple's detailed process in photographing jellyfish, butterflies, and flowers for the Watch.​
The Mickey Mouse face features a similar level of detail, with the popular mouse's feet tapping in exact rhythmic beat to a one second count. Dye claims that if one were to line up 100 Apple Watches with the Mickey face on, his foot would tap in perfect unison on each one. The astronomy faces are some of Dye's favorites, however, with the Apple chief noting how hard the team worked to perfect the Earth and Moon's daily orbits and cycles.
Dye points out the subtlety of this face. "When you tap on the Earth and fly over the moon: We worked really hard with our engineering team to make sure the path you take from your actual position on the Earth to where the moon is and seeing its phase, is true to the actual position of the Earth relative to the moon."
Wired interviewed both Dye and Apple vice president of technology Kevin Lynch earlier in April, with the two providing some behind-the-scenes knowledge on everything from the origins of the Apple Watch to the reasoning behind the look of the fitness-related medals.

Check out the full Wired interview here.

Article Link: Apple Watch Face Design Studio Showcases Detailed Photography Process
 

DavidTheExpert

macrumors regular
Apr 20, 2012
200
347
I think playing around with the customizable watch faces is going to be the most fun part of the Watch. Especially once we start getting third party ones.
 

musika

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2010
1,279
438
New York
My take on Apple Watch solely based on what I've heard (for whatever it's worth):

So ambitious that it fails to be great at anything.
 

Sandstorm

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2011
590
1,343
Riga, Latvia
Some aspects of the UI I absolutely hate - the confusing fitness milestone icons, ugly glossy emojis, creepy white hand, exploding hearts etc. Way too skeuomorphic and just plain ugly. Just my opinion, of course.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,559
3,966
I'll wait a few generations. This product line looks like it might have a promising future, but I don't think generation one looks worth having.
 

pee jay bee

macrumors member
Jun 6, 2014
33
8
Some aspects of the UI I absolutely hate - the confusing fitness milestone icons, ugly glossy emojis, creepy white hand, exploding hearts etc. Way too skeuomorphic and just plain ugly. Just my opinion, of course.
I think people are misunderstanding skeuomorphism, which is about real world features represented on a screen. Stitches in leather, shadows under watch hands, torn paper calendars etc.

3D emoticons and hands are not skeuomorphic.

Mind you, I totally agree, those emoticons are horrible and the worst thing about the Watch. I like the fitness rings though.
 
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Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
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Make the watch face available for developers to sell in the app store like the keyboard in ios 8, that would be awesome.
 

cmichaelb

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2008
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I'm always impressed with the level of detail Apple strives for. Whether I like the results or find it useful doesn't matter, it's the attention to minute details that always impresses me.

I generally love the results lol.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
4,384
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As impressed as I am by the level of detail strived for with the photography, this doesn't seem to be nearly as amazing:

The Mickey Mouse face features a similar level of detail, with the popular mouse's feet tapping in exact rhythmic beat to a one second count.
The exact second? Is that feat even possible in a watch?
 
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thadoggfather

macrumors G4
Oct 1, 2007
10,838
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Wow, what level of precision.

They captured a baby jelly fish so Johnny Ive could stare it down.
 

Saucesome2000

macrumors 6502
Dec 10, 2014
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Nashville, TN
THIS is what makes Apple superior to it's rivals. This is what has made them the elite company they are.

It makes me very happy to know that Steve's attention to detail lives on and that he influenced so many others to strive for perfection.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,559
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Can they provide the video of the person scooping up the jellyfish as a watchface? Just loop it so that it's exactly 1 second long.
 

heeloliver

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2014
622
399
Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Awesome. Love this watch face. I'll either use this or the chronograph style one. Wish we could have the high res photos of the jellyfish, they would make an awesome background.
 

kagharaht

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2007
872
363
I for one appreciate the level of detail that Apple does for their products. Some blows it off as a waste of time and effort. Thats fine, everybody is different. For me, I love it. The fit and finish of Apple hardware products is astonishing.
 

samcraig

macrumors P6
Jun 22, 2009
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USA
Also perfect justification/rationale why users won't be able to create their own - at least for awhile.

Impressive article.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,354
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Prescott Valley, AZ
THIS is what makes Apple superior to it's rivals. This is what has made them the elite company they are.

It makes me very happy to know that Steve's attention to detail lives on and that he influenced so many others to strive for perfection.
There's attention to detail that results in superior quality and then there is attention to detail so excessive that it has no practical benefits to the end product, it's simply a psychological ploy. The backstory behind these watch faces appear to be the latter.

Given the "boutique-ness" of the aWatch, this is important. Apple is pulling out all the stops of the psychology of marketing that they've learned over these past 10+ years. They're the best at it. It is what will help the aWatch be a raging success.