“From Alice to Ocean: Alone Across the Outback” by Smolan

  • ©Rick Smolan

  • ©Rick Smolan



Entry Number: 01


    From Alice to Ocean: Alone Across the Outback

Program Title:

    Designing Technology




    From Alice to Ocean: Alone Across the Outback is the astounding story of 27-year-old Australian Robyn Davidson, who set off to cross the desolate Australian outback on foot, accompanied only by four camels and a dog. Robyn Davidson’s own account of the journey “Tracks” became a worldwide bestseller.

    Rick Smolan, the world-famous photographer who created the “Day in the Life” series photographed Robyn’s trip for National Geographic magazine. Smolan combines his own award winning photographs with Robyn’s text.

    From Alice to Ocean is noteworthy as the first illustrated book ever packaged with its own interactive PhotoCD disk. The PhotoCD provides the reader with a new way of experiencing an illustrated book, allowing them to imagine themselves on Robyn’s epic journey and actively participate in her story.

    The interactive PhotoCD disk tucked inside of From Alice to Ocean represents what many people
    are calling the most successful example of interactive media combined with traditional book publishing to date. The new computer technology has the potential to change the way that illustrated books are published, and ultimately may reshape the publishing industry itself.

    Not only does it demonstrate the power of combining new and traditional publishing technology, it also shows the power of combining design and technology. Smolan worked together with Kodak’s PhotoCD department as the technology was being developed to produce the PhotoCD in conjunction with the book.

    Smolan did much of the layout work at the (then Kodak) Center for Creative Imaging. There he worked on not only the book layout, but the screen images for the PhotoCD. At that point he was working with the technologists to pool skills and ideas to produce the work that was greater than the sum of its parts .

    Smolan is hopeful that the technology showcased in From Alice to Ocean will encourage others to explore the potential of interactive technology. “Interactive publishing is the uncharted territory and I hope the other publishers interested in this new medium will use what we’ve done as a reference point and be inspired to experiment as well.”

    From lmergy
    Working in concert with Eastman Kodak’s PhotoCD Imaging Team, lmergy produced the interactive PhotoCD as a companion to the book. Playable at home on a TV set in full color, the PhotoCD allows the viewer to visit segments not covered in the book.

    Peter Mackey collaborated with Smolan and Kodak to edit Davidson’s narrative and link it to the appropriate images. Menu and sound effects were designed to be simple, to avoid interfering with the beauty of the story and provide an easy interface for the consumer.


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