1-ROM 1.jpg

Giants from Gondwana

Beyond Digital Imaging uses its HP Designjet L65500 to help the Royal Ontario Museum produce the ultimate dinosaur exhibit.

Big Picture

With six million objects in its collections of art, archaeology, and natural science, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has been Canada’s preeminent museum since its opening in 1914. Its latest prized exhibit, “Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana,” is not only the largest dinosaur exhibition in the museum’s history but the most technologically advanced, featuring augmented reality and reactive walls that use body-scanning technology.

To create the immersive experience it was striving for, ROM wanted to incorporate large-scale graphic installations depicting the dinosaurs’ typical environments. Ontario’s Beyond Digital Imaging signed on to output the prints.

“The criteria that ROM was looking for was the execution of extremely high-resolution 1200-dpi prints, the ability to work within a tight timeline, and the capability to handle an extremely large-scale project. In addition, ROM had a keen focus on sustainability,” says Larry Chan, owner of Beyond Digital.

For design, the museum worked with Julium Csotonyi, an illustrator focused on scientifically accurate recreated worlds using Adobe Creative Suite. Because the walls were as large as 17 x 130 feet, some of the image files were up to 10 gigabytes. “An important element of the project was to faithfully represent the artist’s work so that when viewing the image closely it would appear similar to a photograph,” says Chan.

With the graphics approved (via a proof on the chosen media), it was time for output. “We were given an extremely tight turnaround time from when we received the graphics. In fact, we had less than one week to begin the installation upon receiving the graphics files,” says Chan. Using an HP Designjet L65500 latex printer, the shop output more than 130 print panels onto 3M removable vinyl PSA, totaling about 10,000 square feet of graphics. Beyond Digital laminated the graphics with 3M matte laminate and trimmed. “With the graphics output and finished, we then laid each panel down on the floor side-by-side to be sure the color was consistent,” says Chan.

Four installers handled the installation at the museum. “The ceilings were very high and at an angle on both ends. In order to make sure things were perfect, we had to examine and check all the dimensions and the graphic designs to ensure that the height and the width were in congruence,” says Chan. “We used a laser pointer to create vertical and horizontal lines, because the wall itself is on an incline, to help gauge the vertical lines of the surfaces that weren’t level.”

The Client: Royal Ontario Museum

The Players: Beyond Digital Imaging (www.bdimaging.com)

Tools & Supplies: HP Designjet L65500 latex printer, 3M removable vinyl PSA, 3M matte laminate,

The Quote: “Color consistency was essential, no small task when a single wall within the exhibit can take up to 30 panels. In addition, because this is an interactive museum exhibit, the graphics would be viewed at a very close distance.”

View more from this Big Picture issue