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YTSO: Sydney Opera House (3D Projection Mapping)


This was my first gig with Obscura Digital. We had an extremely ambitious script and storyboard for Stravinsky’s Firebird. I was brought on board because I had traditional animation and motion graphics skills, computer/vfx skills, and classical music training: I could integrate traditional animation techniques with computer delivery / procedural systems and I could read the score. The only problem was that the schedule was far too short for the existing creative to be realized.

I decided to scrap the whole thing and began creating a huge library of organic elements inspired by the themes (both literally and musically) of the piece. This included a lot of paintings (watercolor) of sprite elements, animated cycles and backgrounds used both as rolling dissolves and in a multi-plane fashion. I had 2 fantastic assistants (Tim Digulla and Joe Maslov) and between the 3 of us, we put all this art under the camera and animated it with moving lights, replacement techniques etc. We then built scenes in After Effects corresponding to the movements in the piece with cues to be performed live by the VJ in sync with the orchestra.

The biggest challenge were the audio-reactive elements which used real time processing to ‘react’ to the dynamics of the orchestra. The first tests were quite disappointing – the relationship between the amplitude of the instruments and the playback of the animation resulted in a frantic twitching which was both unintended and unattractive. I eventually got good results by radically exaggerating the animation principle of ‘eases’ to make the tiniest amplitude fluctuations result in very broad movements.

Michael Tilson Thomas like the early screenings so much he moved the Firebird to the finale of the concert and Obscura were so happy with the work that they asked me to stay on and direct their next project – a huge (record setting) building projection for Coca Cola’s 125th anniversary.











Architectural Mapping of the Sydney Opera House
“Tripping the light fantastic with chic geeks – San Francisco’s hot-to-trot Obscura Digital made light of some very sweet music” – Sydney Morning Herald
Obscura Digital unveiled one of its most creative innovations to date, when it fused live experiential technology with a masterpiece of modernist architecture, transforming the dynamic Sydney Opera House structure into a visual augmentation of a live symphonic performance.
Over ten years of Obscura Digital’s technology innovations culminated in this two-hour show, in which they amplified the artistry of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra Grand Finale event with real-time audio-reactive graphic projections that simultaneously canvassed the interior and exterior of the iconic building with parallel projection shows.
PR Newswire

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

PAGE Magazine, Germany




Complete reel on Vimeo