Boston, USA, January 2023
Boston 365 - City Mapping Workflow
In Summer 2022 the team at Lightborne entrusted us to find a viable solution to projection map the city model for Boston 365.
Our task was to understand the creative intention and deliver a high detail, "low" polygon mesh for a media server, assess content loads, and section the deliverables to ensure the best playback and coverage.
The creative team at Lightborne required the city to be unwrapped piece by piece and as a sensible whole.
While the whole model comprised of just under 150 individual sections, each part was a microcosm with its own challenges and beauty.
The modelmakers at FrankNDesign allowed us to test sections early and gave us a clear key to positioning and complexity. The strength in cooperating closely lay in 3d-printabilty checks before our work commenced.
Each section was first converted from a volumentric object into a high resolution surface model by our modellers. Subsequently the mesh was algorithmically simplified, manually retopologised and cleaned up. The resulting lightweight accurate topology then got unwrapped by a second team.
The best texture allocation for the overall model had to combine the print sections into bigger clusters. The best clustering was established by using the projection studies by machine role (colour image below left). Each server covered a particular area with an overlap to the adjacent one. Exclusive and overlapping zones then informed the main clusters. (below right).
By merging the clusters in an effective way the individual texture spaces could be kept at the minimum while keeping the effective resultion close to the audience at about 2mm, coinciding with the projector pixel size.
The projection was achieved through and automatic camera based process. As a side effect we were able to receive a point cloud scan of the model, as installed.
The installed western end of the city was gradually rotating away from the intended shape. Here we were able compute the deviations (pink and orange colours below) to recalibrate the affected 3d cluster to fit the installation.
Our team consisted of 8 talented specialists working on Boston 365. Throughout 120 days we all appreciated working for, and handing over to the Lightborne team, giving them a foundation for their amazing art. As our opening image is teasing Lightborne's Summer look the experience, please visit their website to find out more.