Bridge: The Story of an Aura

James and Chris’s Aura for ‘Bridge’ by John Petrie

Chris and James teamed up to create an Aura for Bridge, a sculpture created by John Petrie. This was one of the sculptures that Leonard Janiszewski had taken the students to during their tour of the Sculpture Park.

photoHaving selected this artwork, the boys spent time out on the lawn taking photographs of it from many different angles. James, a student of photography, brought his own camera in to ensure he was able to capture the shots he was looking for. The boys also went online to find out more about the artist and the materials that had been used to create the sculpture.

James and Chris then worked together to simultaneously envisage and design their aura. They created a digital mock up, discussing and imagining what features they would include in their aura as they designed the layout of the interface. A consistent look and feel to their aura, and the development of a seamless experience for users, was of equal importance to the boys as the quality of their aura’s content. James brought his laptop in from home to use design software that he was familiar with and together they decided on the interface below.

Bridge Concept - Copy

A mock up of the Bridge’s interface

The boys were very pleased with their design. They had decided that a tap on the History of the Bridge button would overlay the sculpture with a photograph of the Sydney Harbour Bridge while under construction. A tap on the Materials button would launch the secondary Steel and Timber buttons that users could select to find out more about the construction of the sculpture. Tapping the Video button would allow users to watch a video of the boys discussing their selected sculpture.

Example Buttons

Buttons for the Bridge Aura

Chris and James now went about systematically constructing the elements they had planned for their aura.  Chris went online to further research the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and select a historic photo of it to use in their aura. He also investigated in more detail the interesting facts about the materials used in the sculpture to be included in a pop up graphic. While he was doing this, James meticulously created the images they would need to include in their aura, such as buttons, graphics and information tiles.

The thoroughness of the boys’ detailed planning can be seen in the consistent approach they took to naming and organising their graphics. Did they anticipate the value such a systematic approach would have when it came time to program and sequence their aura using these elements in Aurasma Studio?

AR Planning

While James was finalising the graphics, Chris started work on the script for their video. James joined him and they finished it together. Using one of MacICT’s video cameras and the blue screen, the boys took turns filming each other’s part of the dialogue. They had discovered from their research that sunshine and shadows had a key role to play in how people might appreciate and interpret Bridge. The style and content of their video, including questions and suggestions for their audience, acknowledges that while the boys could rightly anticipate that their audience would be situated at the sculpture, they could not predict the time of day a user might launch their aura or the weather conditions they would find themselves in. The boys showed their awareness of this by creating a video element that would be applicable to any user’s reality.

It was now time to upload their elements to Aurasma Studio and create the aura. The boys selected their trigger image. Creating a channel in the project’s account, they then uploaded their images as overlays, and placed them over the trigger image in such a way to match their mock up design. Each overlay then needed to be programmed with specific properties so that it would appear and behave in the way the boys had planned. Below you can see, on the left, the list of fourteen elements that they included as overlays. Next to it is a screen shot showing how the interface allowed the boys to position each overlay and add properties to it.


The following video showcases the boys’ aura. James and Chris were very satisfied with what they had designed and created. The had successfully realised each of the elements they had imagined in their mock up and had correctly attributed properties to them so that people could interact with their aura in the way they had envisaged.


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