Crafting the World’s First Living Storybook
In bringing the MirrorWorld app to life, best-selling author Cornelia Funke and Mirada set out to create something unique to the publishing world: a living storybook that merges literature, interactive gaming, graphic novels, and film.
The process began with Cornelia Funke’s first trip to Mirada’s studio. By the end of the conversation, Funke and the Mirada team all saw the potential to combine the author’s unique vision with the studio’s story-driven and technologically progressive creative process to produce a new model for digital publishing.
Timed to the release of the second novel in her series, Fearless, the app would be a hybrid creation: a blend of the intensely personal experience of reading a book, the incredible scope of watching a film, and the inherent interactivity of a mobile tablet. The iPad was the ideal canvas for this new breed of storytelling. The device’s inherent logic and ability to deliver text, audio, video, touch, and gyroscope feedback brings the reader into the world—offering an intuitive link to the material, allowing them to witness it with their own eyes for the very first time, in a firsthand experience—empowering them to touch, look, and explore.
In partnership with Funke, the Mirada team concepted, designed, produced, filmed, and programmed all aspects of the app—marrying classic narrative tradition with pioneering technology—to take audiences through the ethereal dreamscapes of immortal fairies, to the incredible stone memories of the Man-Goyl, into the beautiful heart of darkness in the Tailor’s illustrated fabric narrative. Each facet of the experience expands the world, illuminates back-story, and foreshadows future developments.
The project drew on all of Mirada’s in-house talent—2D and 3D animation, live-action, sculpture, and even textile design—to create an immersive, responsive world. The cinematic experiences alone—shot on Red Epic, Canon 5D MIII, and Ikonoskop cameras—included over 10,000 frames of visual effects work, entailing over 40,000 frames of computer graphics and pre-composition. Footage, audio, and design assets totaled over nine terabytes. All told, the app contains over 9,000 unique assets and over 31,000 lines of code totaling 1.8 gigabytes – nearly 10 times the size of an average iOS app. The detail and depth of Funke’s vision translated to 110 minutes of narration – featuring 25 minutes of live-action video across more than five featurettes, along with 15 stories with original score by Atli Örvarsson.
Throughout the entire process, each team collaborated across disciplines; ideas for visual, narrative, and interactive approaches evolved constantly. In turn, this development inspired Funke to expand the storyworld; as the team delved into new techniques and technologies, Funke wrote entirely new stories – answering questions about characters previously unknown. Do Ogres have life-mates? What happens when a child-eating witch eats too young (or old) a child? Funke found that the depth of the collaborative exploration and dialogue changed her entire understanding of the world, and has had a profound influence on her continued MirrorWorld novel installments.