As part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary, Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica will present AURA, a unique immersive experience in the heart of the Basilica, designed by the renowned Moment Factory team.

The project is one of the most beautiful projection mapping experiences ever made, and Brazilian artist Eduardo Teles talked to Dope about his participation on the project and all the challenges the team had to overcome to deliver this amazing piece of art.

1 – Tell us a bit about what Moment Factory does and how you en up working in the company. Was that your objective as a CG professional?

Moment Factory is a multimedia studio with a full range of production expertise under one roof. Our team combines specializations in video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable experiences. With its headquarters based in Montreal, the studio also has offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, New York City and Paris. Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 400 unique shows and destinations. Productions span the globe and include such clients as Los Angeles Airport, Microsoft, NFL, Sony, Toyota, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Madonna and Royal Caribbean.

I think when you start to study 3D, one of the first industries you would like to work in are feature films and advertisement, and for me it was not any different. In Brazil there wasn’t big feature film productions back then, so I mainly worked in advertising, until I received a job offer to work on visual content for concerts in Brazil. I was introduced to Moment Factory at a Conference I attended in Brazil in 2013, where they showcased the Sagrada Familia mapping show among others projects, and that day I realized that I wanted to work with interactive and new multimedia projects. In my opinion, it’s the best job for a CG generalist, because you can work from the design to the output.

2 – What about Aura? What was your role in this project?

Aura is a permanent experience involving sound, video, light and lasers in one high detailed architecture, stunning wood sculptures and paintings at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica.
AURA begins as a self-led tour to explore the basilica, discovering multimedia installations that showcase various of the basilica’s cherished artworks. This first part of the experience encourages visitors to explore the basilica’s details at their own pace and to become enveloped in its universe.
Then light, original orchestral scores, and grandiose architecture unite to create a multimedia show whose captivating energy takes visitors from floor to ceiling,
and beyond.

My role was to create the full animation content for two capsules (Ice and Golden) in the main projection mapping show. Also, I did the retopology for the ceiling and columns from 3D Scan and created some FX for the storm capsule, doing a particle system using 3DS Max / PFlow to simulate the rain hitting the roof of the Basilica. All 3D animation and props were done in 3ds Max with V-ray and After Effects for FX and composition.

3 – What was the most technical challenging process you encounter during the making of Aura?

Without a doubt it was dealing with colors and the architecture itself. The whole Basilica is covered with sculptured wood and paintings and when you project content on it, you realized that the result is very different from what you see on your monitor. With high detailed architecture, using textures can become a problem and generate a sort of noise instead of a nice look.

4 – The architecture of the basilica itself is already busy and complex, how were you guys able to cover all that surface, how many projectors are there and how do you guys manage to sync and manage everything?

The team responsible to mapping the Basilica did an amazing job. There are 14 20.000 lumens projectors placed on the mezzanine and aligned in the best way to have the perfect balance between surface coverage and avoid content distortion. Moment Factory uses a proprietary software for projection mapping (X-Agora) and it makes a big difference, especially when you need to create customized features for the projects. One thing that made a huge difference was the easy access to tests on site, which allowed us to fine tune each aspect of the show.
Another big challenge was to create a template for the artists to work with on all platforms and how to manage the output of the final render.

5 – whats next for you? How do you see yourself 5 years from now?

My next goal is to dive into the new multimedia world and be able to create an interactive experience from the concept to integration, working on all phases of the process. I already started doing some R&D with Kinect V2.0 and TouchDesigner, but it’s a long way down the road. Although I like the production phase a lot, I intend to become a creative/multimedia director in the far future.

Here you can see a bit of the Making Of:

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