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A Virtual Walk-Through

(July 2012) posted on Tue Jul 10, 2012

Transforming a San Francisco subway tunnel into Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Mike Antoniak

Forcing perception
“This station gets quite a bit of commuter traffic every day, as well as tourists visiting downtown, so it has very high visibility.” Jones estimates monthly circulation through the station and tunnel at 2.2 million pedestrians.

That’s a lot of impressions to be gained from a space that measures roughly 16-feet wide and 12-feet high, with 20 exposed beams spaced along its 103-foot curve. Titan markets the space as a single ad buy, and, over the years, it’s been covered with conventional print ads for a variety of advertisers.

At first, Stuck’s creative team approached the project as a traditional wrap. “Then our designers came back and suggested we stop thinking of it in terms of 2D, and find some way to use the entire length of the tunnel,” recalls Chase. “They started talking about forced perception and 3D, and wrapping the tunnel so it would appear as a single image.”

That evolved into visually transforming the tunnel into Utah’s famous Delicate Arch – wrapping the floor, walls, and ceiling with digital prints to give pedestrians the sense of actually approaching and walking through the arch as they navigate the tunnel.

“The biggest challenge of the whole project was probably convincing our client this could be done,” says Chase. “We pitched the idea in mid-February, and they gave us a cautious thumbs up.”
To figure out how and if they could bring the concept to life, Struck’s creative team turned to Abe Day and Joe Williamsen at Attraction Studios in American Fork, Utah. They specialize in 3D animation and renderings for films and video games, and have collaborated with Struck on projects requiring 3D in the past.

Day conferred with Williamsen, who built a virtual mockup of the tunnel that they then shared with Struck in late February. “They used it to convince the client,” says Day. “Having the mockup of the 3D hallway was key in convincing the client what it would look like and that it could be done.”

Now, Day and Williamsen had to figure out how to take a 2D photo and convert it into a series of slightly overlapping prints, which, once installed, would convey some sense of moving beneath the arch while walking through the tunnel.