Behind the scenes on CA's cutting-edge print and digital extravaganza

On Tuesday, a very special issue of Computer Arts magazine hit the newsstand. Sparkling with an array of sophisticated print finishes, and boasting a host of cutting-edge digital techniques, issue 239 is an eye-popping celebration of creativity.

It's no secret that the CA team are passionate about the power of print and digital. This month they've practiced what they preach, collaborating with a talented crew of creatives to push the boundaries of both media, transforming the print and interactive editions of the issue into a one-off collector's item.

Whether you're a print junkie or a digital wunderkind, the latest issue has some cheeky surprises in store...

To create the cover of this landmark issue, British illustrator and paper engineer Helen Friel crafted an incredible spinning diorama by hand, using her weapon of choice: paper.

Intricate lettering and 3D geometric shapes are suspended into the vibrant scene, adding detail and depth to the final image.

Creating further depth

For the cover of the deluxe print edition, Friel's spinning 3D masterpiece has been translated into 2D using a treasure trove of special finishes – including a multi-layered emboss and textured deboss, plus rough-textured and high-build varnishes.

Check out how special finishing house Celloglas brought the tactile cover of issue 239 to life in the behind-the-scenes video below.

The digital edition, meanwhile, makes exciting use of Instagram's Hyperlapse – an exposure technique in time-lapse photography – to present a 360-interactive cover that can be spun in any direction with the touch of a finger.

Have a go yourself by downloading the issue from the App Store.

And inside the digital edition, as usual, the interactivity continues. Don't miss the (extra) special report, which stars Friel's striking diorama in full spinning glory – above – plus a number of subtle interactive touches, such as parallax scrolling captions.

Unique challenges

For Friel, one of the most challenging parts of creating the diorama was working out how to suspend the elements on a free-standing, spinning set.

"Usually things that float are attached to bars overhead with fishing wire so I had to construct a rig for each side, which would do the same job but not look messy," she explains.

Friel constructed the heart in the centre of the Love Print side from tracing paper

Friel constructed the heart in the centre of the Love Print side from tracing paper

"The heart is just normal tracing paper - this was the hardest to work with as to stop the glue showing you can't use tabs but have to glue and join along the edges of the paper."

"I think my favourite part is the Love Print / Love Digital text," she adds. "It took hours to string up but I'm so pleased we managed to do it in camera."

Computer Arts issue 239 is on sale now – catch the print edition here, and the interactive digital version here. And don't forget: you save up to 59% with a special print and digital bundle subscription.

Liked this? Try these...

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Julia Sagar
Editor-in-chief retail

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.