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The Art of PaintScaping

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On the closing day of SIGGRAPH'12, which is the most important computer graphics conference in the world, Allen Battino, Philippe Bergeron, and Joan Collins hosted the "Greatest 80s CG Party of all time" – the sequel. An impressive group of CG pioneers -- many Academy-Award winners, and presidents of companies -- gathered to reminisce about the past, and dream about the future. PaintScaping did a 3D projection mapping on a landscape, and the results were otherworldly.

LAVA magazine spoke with Philipp Bergeron, founder and CEO of PaintScaping, to find out more about the project.

What is “paintscaping”?
PaintScaping is our brand name for 3D projection mapping. It comes from “painting the landscape,” because we started on landscaping. PaintScaping is virtually painting buildings, landscapes, and people, utilising projectors to create images that interact with these structures. Some call it spatial augmented reality. We say it's a new paradigm in lighting, advertising, and entertainment that will leave an audience awestruck.

What was the inspiration behind this project?
The “Greatest 80s CG Party of all time” was inspired by the closing night of SIGGRAPH ’12, and the ability to hold the party at “The Forest of Mirrors” in Woodland Hills, California – a garden that would make Houdini proud. Using over fifty giant hidden mirrors as masterful Trompe l’Oeil, it has been featured on HGTV and NBC.

Tell us about the design concept of the project.
The project utilised the rocks, trees, and waterfalls that are part of “The Forest of Mirrors” gardens. We 3D lidar-scanned the entire garden using Faro Technologies. Barry Dempsey, our 3D scanner, did all the scans. Colorisations, artificial light, and 3D objects all flooded the beautiful landscape to create a truly memorable experience worthy of the monumental computer graphics conference. I directed the mapping with 3D lighting effects by Rob Ostir. 3D liquid simulations were by Terry Politis and Andronikos Bisogiannis. 

Tell us the process of carrying out the entire project and how long it took.
“The Forest of Mirrors” had been previously mapped by PaintScaping for previous events, including the closing of SIGGRAPH ’08, which gave us a head start on the proceedings. The preparation of equipment setup and content creation was rendered in less than a week.

What were some of the challenges you faced while carrying out the project and how did you resolve them?
The party ranged all over the garden and accompanying home, so gathering a crowd into a smaller space was quite a challenge. The mapping display was generated on a continuous loop over several hours, giving every party guest a chance to enjoy the 3D creation.

What were the types of equipment used for the 3D projection?
The projection was accomplished using three projectors -- Epson, Optoma, and Viewsonic -- and a surround sound system to pipe in accompanying music. Because the mapping was quite small by our standards (we typically do 30 meters wide), we were able to use under 4K lumens projectors.

What was the feedback/comments you received from those who saw the project? What did people think about it?
Impressing Academy Award-winners and some of the greatest computer graphics artists around is no easy feat, but the crowd was wowed by this emerging technological enterprise.

For more information about PaintScaping, visit their website at paintscaping.com.

Credit:
• Directed by Philippe Bergeron
• 3D lighting effects by Rob Ostir
• 3d liquid simulations by Terry Politis and Andronikos Bisogiannis.
• FARO technologies and Barry Dempsey provided the lidar scan of the garden

Photo: Philippe Bergeron/Larry Weinberg