James Cameron Avatar Exhibition (2011)

Using an interactive projection screen, visitors wade into Pandora’s ecology and mingle with simulated woodsprites. In the exhibit, these luminescent floating jellyfish-like creatures glide through a high definition projection of the planet’s verdant forest. The glowing woodsprites descend upon visitor’s shadows when they remain still, and skitter away when visitors move suddenly, just like the magical creatures in the movie.

During the production of Avatar, director James Cameron used a “virtual camera” to move within and capture Pandora’s three-dimensional landscape. A Virtual Camera exhibit recreated this experience, turning visitors into directors who create their own unique version of scenes incorporating the identical 3-D scenes and models the production’s visual artists created for the film.

The real-time motion capture of Avatar’s actors was recreated in a glowing room where visitors become Na’vi using the same 3D models in which actors Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana brought to life, but here a special markerless tracker system, requires no special suits.

Two large touch-screen displays like those featured in the movie provided an intuitive interface to showcase trivia, images, video and ephemera behind the Avatar experience. When visitors drop special shapes onto the table, rings of digital materials spin out revealing the concept art and alien ecology that made Pandora feel so real.

Snibbe helped bring futuristic technology and alien ecology to life in immersive augmented reality with Avatar: The Exhibition, which premiered at Seattle’s Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum.