Client: The Westminster Schools, Atlanta Georgia
Location: Atlanta, GA, United States
Completion date: 2021
The Westminster Schools Team
The Westminster Schools
Media Playback System
World-renowned for outstanding visual effects in motion pictures and now in digital art installations, Fusion CI Studios was engaged to design & create an exciting, innovative digital Water Experience as the central showpiece for the newly-built, multi-million dollar Barge Commons at Westminster School, Atlanta. The 22′ x 12′, 1.26mm pixel pitch, 5280 x 2970 pixel digital display visually dominates the lobby, immediately setting the mood for the space.
Intended first to inspire & energize students, staff & visitors on a daily basis; and second, as an impressive, cutting-edge, new-media art backdrop for frequent donor events (past & potential donors).
Westminster loved Fusion’s award-winning Salesforce Lobby Waterfall in San Francisco & wanted a water experience – something impressive, powerful, beautiful, reflecting the strength of character & natural environment of The Westminster Schools. Fusion suggested creating a story with depth-perspective, thrilling viewers with magic when imagery on a flat screen appears to come alive in a 3-dimensional realm. Using that 3d realm, Fusion designed a water experience interacting with Westminster’s logos, embodying the energy, strength, diversity, and ever-changing, dynamic landscape of school life.
A key design element involved a magical ‘reality conversion’ to begin and end the experience. The sweeping, evolving storyline begins with the screen appearing to be an internally lit extension of the limestone-walled lobby - a recessed, illuminated, tiled wall.
The digital limestone tiles glide back in space, creating tiers as they push back from the top, transforming the display into to a deep 3-d space, revealing digital replications of the actual lighting and ceiling design of the surrounding physical space.
Water flows down the digital limestones as they push back, playfully splashing and spraying against a Westminster logo that extrudes through the tiles.
The gentle water feature evolves into a heart-pounding climax of visuals and sound, where powerful waves crash around a dramatically rising “W” symbol of The Westminster Schools.
The grand finale is a crescendo of multiple wave splashes against the ‘glass wall’ of the screen. The scale, depth-effect, realistic imagery and sound combine to immerse viewers in a truly powerful experience.
Fusion designed an evolving, captivating, immersive scene that incorporated branding with school logos and a deep anamorphic illusion experience. Every moment of the piece is gorgeous, convincingly 3-dimensional (when viewed from ANY angle, not just one ‘sweet-spot’), and constantly evolving - from a tranquil waterfall to a tiered, vigorously cascading river to tremendous crashing waves. It is not a single cool moment nor a quick gimmick-style Instagram opportunity, but an ever-evolving experience.
This constantly evolving character creates a ‘multiple-content’ art piece. Those passing through the lobby see a different, fresh view almost every time they pass; for those with time to linger, it gives them reason to pause and stay for a complete show. The brilliance and innovation of the creative achieves multiple goals.
The use of sound transcends the installation to another realm. To achieve an immersive, powerful experience that would “fool the brain” into believing the water could be real, it was crucial to have sound effects synched to the visuals. The sound of the streaming waterfall, the impact of the waves on the glass, and the mechanical glide and click-into-place sounds as the stone wall slides into position, add just enough sensory realism to make the installation a fu
One of the most astoundingly challenging areas of digital visual effects is creating realistic water. To create realistic, detailed, natural looking & behaving water is a feat that only a few digital art studios in the world do well, whether in movies, commercials or digital art installations. Typically, realistic water effects pieces are short due to the challenge of simulating, then rendering enormous volumes of water. Data sets are huge and simulation and render times are exceedingly time-consuming. With the perfect integration of art & science, Fusion combined technical acumen with artistic talent to create two minutes of continuously evolving and varied water simulations, drawing the viewer into a deep anamorphic illusion of ever-increasing energy, all with continuous, seamless, extremely detailed water as the central character, sets this apart as a unique installation. Anamorphic illusions and high-detailed water installations are typically short, designed either as quick, eye-catching commercial-style spots, or a steady-flowing waterfall (made up of a short segment that loops). Fusion elevated the concept to a new level to create a truly immersive, captivating experience, symbolically linked to our client’s character and vision.