DimeTrap.com which still can be enjoyed as an immersive experience gives users an interactive journey through T.I.’s world and his inspiration. As users explore his 10th album art, they hear firsthand accounts from T.I., including stories about the Trap and the major events that have impacted his life.
The Dime Trap album was initially announced to be released in 2015. But T.I. took his time with the new record because he was waiting to find the spark that would make the album worth doing. That’s why T.I. and Grand Hustle Records decided to share his inspirations and collaborations for the waiting fans in an short documented narrative. The brief was to ‘mark the release’ of his new album that takes listeners on a journey through his past experiences and adversities, which shaped the evolution of “Trap Muzik” from its early beginnings.
Taking formative moments from T.I.’s life, renowned sculptor Kris Kuksi was approached to create an incredibly detailed sculpture on which he could frame these stories into The Dime Trap album artwork. The goal was to emphasize the personal story and life events from T.I., introduce and bring the album artwork from Kris Kuksi to life in an interactive experience like you have never seen before.
If Dime Trap is the culminating album of T.I.’s career, DimeTrap.com is the B-Side that gives you a raw picture of the man and the stories that have made him. We believe in projects which can push the boundaries of web design and development. And like great hip hop, great digital projects are born from mixing and sampling from a number of diverse elements and references. In this case, working from such a detailed sculpture required a ton of creative solutions which in the end were mixed and mashed up to create this unique digital experience.
In the 3D website we focussed on one particular aspect: storytelling. You’ll start the journey by hearing T.I. talking about his art and his album with sound at its core. The interactive story (as it is written) starts with a completely black environment with a floating 3D model that has the icon look engraved in wood. In a closer look the 3D model of the sculpture is full of detailed scenes that would want you to listen to the A-Side too.
We created an incredibly detailed 3D space for users to explore the history of T.I.’s evolution. We build our interactive experience around the strong image of the album art, giving the audience the opportunity to discover it in greater detail and have the whole experience narrated by T.I. himself.
Starting with such a beautifully sculpture with breathtaking details, the biggest technical challenge for the project was to preserve the overall quality. The geometry of the artwork would be way too detailed to render into a performant website, using WebGL. The solution was to leverage a form of compression of all this visual information called ‘deferred shading’.
This process involves parceling the entire scene into a sequence of layers, each describing something specific about the forms and the environment (or lighting). This process uses transcoding various types of data from the 3D model, (positional and textural) into color and eventually back into 3D information within the application.
Dime Trap was released to critical acclaim and so was DimeTrap.com. Dime Trap debuted at number 13 on the US Billboard 200 and received an ‘universal acclaim’ with a average score of 81 at Metacritic. When DimeTrap.com was released, this immersive experience was acclaimed with a FWA Site of the Day and a FWA Site of the Month. Also it received an Awwwards SOTD and a Mobile Excellence Site of the Week and was featured in Medium as #CWW that all together put the extra mark on the universal success of the album.
We put a lot of work on the lights with a natural camera position to let the interactive
experience feel intimate overall. When freely navigating and when focusing on a particular scene the light comes up the most. A high-definition irradiance map was created to capture the environmental lighting conditions in the scene. We used panoramic HDR photographs including layers of different exposures within a single file which gave us increased control over the final exposure and gamma of the light.