Projection mapping and virtual reality development Liverpool

"The Snowflake Trail – projection mapping in Liverpool"

18/11/14


This Christmas the stores of Church Street will be the scene of a multimedia Christmas spectacular. It will be one of the few times that Draw & Code have shown off our projection mapping in Liverpool, so we are particularly excited about it.

Although Liverpool’s Christmas light switch-on has already been and gone, this is something a bit different. The Snowflake Trail is going to illuminate the city centre and bring together projection mapping, live performance and an exciting challenge for children as they follow Jack Frost and his Snow Sprites through the streets for the chance to win special prizes. Produced in association with Liverpool BID and Open Culture, the Snowflake Trail aims to bring a joyous, spectacular and forward-thinking alternative to the usual Christmas celebrations.

The centrepiece of the Snowflake event will be a projection mapped animation currently being created in our studios. It will be seen during the grand launch event on Church Street on the evening of Thursday November 20th where it will be soundtracked and feature live performers. For six weeks the animation will run each night from 6pm, so don’t panic if you can’t make it to the opening performance.

Projection mapping and virtual reality development Liverpool

3D scanning architecture

Secrecy surrounds the animations themselves, at least until it premieres, so the image that you see above forms the building blocks of the project. It is the point-cloud data from a 3D scan that we had commissioned. This is the backbone of the animation that is built around a 3D model of the building on which we will be projecting. Have you got any idea what building it is?

The scan was taken in the street and the resulting data looked eerily beautiful. It even included ghosts-like figures of shoppers as they walked by. It was Emily’s job to use this data to create a 3D replica of the building; “We wanted to use 3D scanning technology to ensure that the projections match the building precisely.”

Projection mapping and virtual reality development Liverpool

Once she had created a 3D mesh and textured it, Emily could animate it with spectacular lighting effects. Creating a 3D model of the building allows for complete control of the scene with shadows cast in key places or the ‘lighting’ emphasising one area of the architecture over another. The downside is further extending the already massive render time, as Emily explains; “It has already taken hundreds of hours rendering time despite knowing how to optimise the rendering process wherever possible.”

Projection mapping in Liverpool

The whole project has been on a tight turnaround, but the late nights will all be worth it when the show premieres on Thursday 20th November. Draw & Code’s Andy Cooper has been working on this type of event for years, although rarely so close to home; “This will only be the third time that our projections have been seen in our home town – so it is a rare opportunity to share our work with Liverpool.”

Make sure that you head down to Church Street to see projection mapping in Liverpool and to follow the snowflake trail! Head to This Liverpool’s website for more information: This Liverpool Snowflake Trail


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