With evolution as this year's FITC Toronto theme, the conceptual design company was commissioned by FITC founding director Shawn Pucknell to build something relevant to engage attendees at the festival entrance.
"Shawn envisioned an interactive experience that all visitors could contribute to effortlessly, that would instantly facilitate a larger conversation about and around the festival," said Leviathan's executive creative director, Jason White, a regular speaker at FITC events
“We started out on a conceptual path of community evolution,” White continued, "Our goal was to tie into and deepen the theme with a custom installation that would pair well with the new brand image and title sequence created by Toronto-based artist William Reid."
Inspired by Reid's high-contrast title design, Leviathan first designed a virtual graphic environment, then paired it with a 20-foot wide projection screen and a Microsoft Kinect-driven media server at the festival's main entrance.
Upon entering the conference, visitors see their digital reflections emerge on a massive projection screen. Using custom algorithms and 3D cameras, the visitors’ images were captured and transformed - the paths of their tracked movement creating a visual pattern that contributed to a larger, one-of-a-kind visual composition that evolves throughout the duration of the conference.
This evolution of the animated banner unfolds organically as the visual system grows with each visitor’s contribution.
"Everyone's movements were converted into dimensional geometry that collided with the FITC logo, creating fascinating effects in the virtual world that were projected onto the massive screen in real-time," said White.
"The interesting outcome was how a collaborative group creative activity took place. The participants knew that their tracked movements were creating visual patterns that contributed to the larger, one-of-a-kind visual composition that evolved throughout the conference."
Facing the challenges of turning a large crowd of people into colliding 3D geometry and optimising software to handle that data in real-time without latency, Leviathan worked day and night to troubleshoot ongoing issues with the tracking system, visual distortion and quality.
With less than four weeks between conception and launch, Leviathan's team was able to optimise everything from the final graphics to the underlying code.
Maya, After Effects and Houdini were used to create the content, Christie Digital provided the projector, and Derivative's TouchDesigner was used for customisation of content and outside hardware integration.
The result was deceptively simple - as attendees passed by the installation, their virtual selves gracefully shattered the branded elements on screen.