“Designing in Notch is a liberating experience.”
Dublin based Creative Production Studio Algorithm bring interactive magic to Guinness storehouses. Creative Directors, Kev Freeney and Daniel Staines and Notch Designer, Dillon O’Sullivan tell us how they transformed Guinness’s St. James Gate in celebration of the storehouses 20 millionth visitor.
Kev Freeney: “Algorithm is a collective of fine artists, technicians and producers working together to create powerful interactive experiences.”
Dillon O’Sullivan: “My educational background is in graphic design, but VJing was a hobby for years. My involvement with Algorithm began as a VJ, mapping nerd and content creator for nightclub and festival stages.”
Dublin based production company Archetype approached Algorithm to create Guinness’s celebratory brand activation. Together they envisioned Guinness’s replica of St. James’s Gate transformed by projection mapping and motion tracking. Central to the brief was allowing visitors to make their mark on the monument. Daniel knew that their team would be creating to a particular set of brand values: “Creativity and ingenuity; light emerging from darkness; and a long history of looking to the future are central themes for the Guinness brand. The idea was to take the instantly recognisable St. James’s Gate and use it as a canvas for creativity.”
The final design took inspiration from graffiti art. Visitors would be able to customise the projections with a specialist spray paint can. Dillon began by building the tracking system in Notch: “My first move was to prototype the tracking system with Processing and test the prototype with various cameras and light sources from various angles.”
The final design was drawn up as a C4D file from which Dillon and Octane animator Ross Ryder could work from concurrently. While Ross built the background layers, Dillon perfected a spray paint simulator using Notch’s field system. “The spray paint effect went through a few iterations before we settled on the final look. I began with a generic paint look using a circular Emitter and experimented with the size, colour and velocity of the spray.”
“Speed, ease of use and render quality were the biggest factors in choosing Notch for this project. We were able to build several solid and convincing variations of the spray paint simulator very quickly with the field system, which allowed us to free up time for developing and testing the show critical tracking system. Being able to nail the look and feel of the paint so early and with the knowledge that refinements would be reasonably quick and stress-free was a liberating experience, especially given the time constraints.”
With the project close to completion, the client made a last minute request to incorporate more event branding into the final design: “This is where Notch allowed me to move forward without discarding any of the work I’d done previously.” Dillon was able to work directly on top of the branded graphics to recreate what the client was envisioning: “This feature made the process not only painless but actually fun and ultimately very successful.”
“The particles I added at this later stage combined various image emitters, noise shading nodes and turbulence affecters. The particle image emitters were especially helpful in that I didn’t have to rethink the system or throw anything away when the creative direction shifted. I simply took the output from the original paint system and built on the work I’d already done.”
Live at the event all rendering and simulation was executed organically with Notch and sent to the Hippo capture card. Dillon’s spray paint simulator ran seamlessly. Visitors congregated to create beautiful, instantaneous, glowing trails on St. James’s Gate.