NEW YORK — Framestore Labs created three key elements for FordHub, Ford’s interactive brand space within the Westfield World Trade Center in New York City. The three activations — The World, Share Your Style and
Mobility Map — inspire visitors to explore smarter ways to move.
The World is a futuristic, realtime cityscape, built using the Unreal game engine. Powered by three computers, each enabled with a top-of-the-range gaming graphics card, the panorama spans a 12-screen display to create one uninterrupted view of an imagined future urban environment. Features such as autonomous cars, and smart intersections are highlighted, to educate visitors about the transportation of tomorrow.
The World was Framestore Labs’ first opportunity to use Unreal within a large-scale installation.
“Creating a really wide panoramic view was technically very challenging, as you can't use standard cameras without creating a compromised telephotoview which would make the world feel distant and remote,” explains Robin Carlisle, global head of creative for Framestore Labs. “Our solution was to divide the world into three ‘ideal views,’ and combine those views seamlessly.”
The solution called for some “unorthodox mathematical wizardry, as well as creatively building the world around these ideal views to give the illusion of one perfect panorama,” adds Carlisle. “To make things even trickier, a stand-alone computer did not have the power to render the entire world, so we had to split the work between three computers and synchronize their outputs.”
The realtime environment of Unreal saw Framestore Labs use AI algorithms to allow cars to drive and people to walk around The World autonomously. The creative design drew on traditional VFX trickery - a subject in which Framestore is well versed - to hide the seams between the individual realtime inputs, using carefully placed lampposts and trees.
Share Your Style, FordHubs’ digital car configurator, was a creative collaboration between agency VML and Framestore Labs. The installation invites visitors to digitally customize a Ford vehicle, displayed onto a 42-inch UHD screen within the Hub. An interface designed by VML was implemented into Unreal by Framestore Labs, who imported the 3D car geometry data.
At the entrance to the FordHub, a Mobility Map welcoming visitors with a nine-foot-tall display of LED and touch-screens. The Mobility Map provides visitors with journey data drawn from the city’s transportational APIs, as well as the chance to ‘fly-through’ Manhattan’s streets to key points of interest. The smart mapping offers further suggestions of stops en route, enhanced with additional useful realtime visitor information.