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Downtown Raleigh gets one the first AR murals in the world

Abstracted Motion, a brand new mural adorning downtown Raleigh, can jump off the wall and offer a stunning visual experience.

Taylor White, an artist based in the North Carolina capital city of Raleigh, is responsible for the huge 40-by-60 feet mural, painted on the northern wall of the Alfred Williams Building. Conventional naked eye viewing shows the mural feature five posing characters in blue and purple colours.

The mural becomes something entirely different and engaging when viewed with a designated Android smartphone application. Viewing through the application helps one witness additional layers of the painted feature, along with various minute details. Abstracted Motion is one of the earliest augmented reality murals in the world.

The recently launched Abstracted Motion application can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Upon downloading the application and pointing it at the mural, users can view, record, change and edit the three-dimensional projection on their phones.

The Google Fiber A.R. mural located on the the Alfred Williams Building in downtown Raleigh as shown using the mural’s Google app called “Abstracted Motion” which allows viewers to experience the A.R. features. Remi Boille

Samuel Payne, the San Francisco based project lead, remarked that viewers can utilise the app and the mural in different ways. The Android application can be utilised for recording videos and viewing photographs, in real-time. He explained that with particular lighting conditions, users can experience even more features of the mural along with intriguing sky backgrounds.

The address of the Abstracted Motion augmented reality mural is the Alfred Williams building, situated at 410. S. Salisbury St. It can also be observed from West Davie Street. Google is the sponsor of the mural and the tech giant has labelled Raleigh as a designated “Fiber City”. The Raleigh Murals Project was approached by Google, which sought an artist and a wall for the mural to be painted on.

White was chosen on basis of her portfolio of painting work for Raleigh-based local businesses, including the Raleigh Raw and Whiskey Kitchen. To obtain models for the AR mural project, White got in touch with dancers from the Durham’s Living Arts Collective. She photographed the subjects in a variety of poses.

The most challenging aspect of the entire project was combining the painting by White with the augmented reality programming features of Google. It was one of the most complicated mural projects for White. The syncing process of the mobile application with the murals was also a time-consuming process.

According to White, a significant amount of her attention went towards ascertaining perfection in meeting the requirements of precise angles, dimensions, and details. She remarked that the poses were also required to be quite contrasting among each other, in order to enable efficient computer mapping. White had to create a single image which would adorn one of the most famed walls in Raleigh while ensuring compatibility with augmented reality technology. It was another layer to be added during the design phase.

AR is fundamentally useful for combining interesting virtual feature elements with the real world. He believes that the technology can be used for directional pointing, animated location-based characters, and reviews. – Samuel Payne

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