Box: Exploring the Synthesis of Real and Digital Space

This isn’t vehicle related, but it explores the tools used for creating one of our other passions: film. The project blends computer graphics with animation and projection to create a film cool enough to share on our pages.

Bot and Dolly, a San Francisco-based design and engineering studio, have created a film that explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping onto moving surfaces.

The company, which specializes in automation, robotics and filmmaking, used conventional 4ft (1.22m) by 8ft (2.44m) canvas and two robots to put together the short film, which is simply titled “Box”. Documenting a live performance, the film takes the viewer through five principles of magic, with the incoming projections captured entirely in camera. It combines elements of graphic design, sound design and some very cool technology.

“I start in CG with creating a flat render and then project that out back into the physical world to create an installation that can be experienced in a room,” says Bot and Dolly design technologist Tarik Abdel-Gawad.

It’s definitely not your standard video setup. Bot and Dolly developed an integrated software/hardware platform using Maya that enables animators to precisely control 6-axis industrial robots. As the animators move the plane and animate the path the canvas takes, the technology devises an algorithm that determines the rotation for each of the robot’s joints.

Bot and Dolly’s tools have been used in feature films, television ads, Las Vegas shows and large-scale art installations. After having watched the film we can’t say we’re surprised. The film is reminiscent of some of the better live performances we’ve attended — it’s akin to a digital Stomp, Cirque de Soleil or Blue Man Group (the latter is a client) show.

We think it’s worth five minutes of your time.

See more of the company’s forward thinking videos on their Vimeo site


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