The Apple Watch Series 4 and watchOS 5 come packed with slick new watch faces that are equally beautiful and hypnotic.
On the surface, these new Fire, Water, Liquid Metal and Vapor faces are just plain cool. But when you find out how they were made, you get a much deeper appreciation for Apple’s extreme attention to detail.
Put simply, the watch faces weren’t rendered using CGI, as you might expect. Instead, they created by using practical effects in a studio — using a high-quality camera and real fire, liquid, water and vapor.
Cool Hunting recently published a behind-the-scenes video showing how the new Watch faces were made. The publication also sat down with Apple’s Vice President of User Interface Design, Alan Dye, to get more details about the process.
“It’s more of a story about the design team. We could have done this digitally, but we shot this all in a studio,” Dye told Cool Hunting.
Of course, it would have been way less expensive to just render the effects using a computer. But Apple didn’t settle.
“It’s so indicative of how the design team works — bringing our best and varied talents together to create these faces,” Dye added.
What’s even more interesting is that Apple didn’t touch on this fact at all during last week’s Gather Round keynote.
The new faces look incredible on an Apple Watch Series 4, with its thinner bezels and bigger display. The effects run to the edges of the display before bumping back toward the center.
But despite the fact that the new watch faces were tailor-made for the Series 4, they’re available for all Apple Watch models as long as watchOS 5 is installed. (They don’t, however, fill the entirety of the display on non-Series 4 models.)
As Cool Hunting’s Josh Rubin points out, this kind of thing is what makes Apple special — “putting in the time and effort to do something right and real might only be noticed directly by a few, but is certainly felt by all.”
The Apple Watch Series 4 was unveiled on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Preorders began last Friday, and the new Watch will officially launch in-store and start arriving on doorsteps on Friday, Sept. 21.