One of the difficulties in creating awareness is getting your audience to remember the message you’re trying to convey. In an exhibition called MeshMinds 2.0, illustrator Alfonsus Wong and immersive technologist Alan Ng use AR and comic strips to bring awareness towards responsible consumption and production.

Both individuals worked together for their project called PaperChase AR, an app that offers AR experience to entertain and educate the audience. The interactive app revolves around recycling while telling a story about a trash-eating monster, and the whole project was created with the iPad Pro, iMac, Procreate and ARKit.

PaperChase AR - the app that combines comic and AR technology to encourage recycling 1

The idea first came about when Wong wanted to throw away a coffee cup in a recycling bin but couldn’t spot one. Inspired by a Pokémon game that required players to search around the mall for stickers to win Pokémon cards, Wong decided to incorporate the same element into PaperChase AR.

According to Ng, Wong was so into the game that he remembered every spot he went to find for those stickers. “So, what if we turn it into a similar game? We make finding the recycling bin a part of this invested game that you’ll have to play.”

PaperChase AR - the app that combines comic and AR technology to encourage recycling 2

The general idea is that, the recycling bins will provide the app users with different pieces of the comic – drawn by Wong – which helps participants remember the locations of each recycling bin.

The project took both of them four to five months, where all the artworks were drawn by Wong using the iPad Pro and iMac. What started as a single-sheet of artwork became a multi-layered comic, that comes with a map at the back of each strip. The map then allow users to find the next piece of the story. Wong also revealed that the iPad Pro made a huge difference in terms of his workflow. “I had so many weddings to attend last year, and I was able to work on a train. It’s like, woah. Felt like a boss.”

According to Wong, 80-85% of his artwork was created on Procreate on the iPad Pro, while the rest was done using Photoshop. When the artwork is completed, Ng then proceeds to build the AR experience from scratch. It wasn’t the first time Ng has worked on AR/VR projects; he’s been at it for the past few years, and he also contributed in the first MeshMinds exhibition. “It’s a new medium that’s very interesting to explore – it merges tech and design – and becomes a very thin line,” said Ng.

PaperChase AR is actually a unique experience for Wong as he mostly does digital drawings without incorporating AR. As for upcoming projects, Ng mentioned of a project that highlights mental health issues through the use of virtual reality. For more details on Ng’s upcoming project, visit VERE.360 and for those interested in Wong’s artworks, you can find them here.


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