Calgary

Centre Street mural alive with clouds and rainbows thanks to augmented reality app

You may have seen some colourful murals popping up on downtown Calgary building windows, but some real augmented reality magic is happening on Centre Street and that’s permanent.

'A representation of what the character of the community is all about,' artist says

You can only see those clouds and that rain with the augmented reality app Augle when you are standing in front of these buildings at 902 Centre St. N. The artists say it was about reflecting the animation of the people who live in Crescent Heights. (Crescent Heights Community Association/Facebook)

You may have seen some colourful murals popping up on downtown Calgary building windows, but some real augmented reality magic is happening on Centre Street, and that's permanent.

"So when you come up this street, it's this big mural that welcomes you into Crescent Heights, and it's really a representation of what the character of the community is all about," artist Katie Pearce told The Homestretch.

People in Crescent Heights are animated

Pearce and her partner Tanner Hamilton came up with the physical mural on the buildings at 902 Centre St. N., and the art in the augmented reality app, which is called Augle.

You hold up your smart phone, and the app adds animation like rain clouds followed by a rainbow.

"We really wanted this mural to be engaging and to engage with the community. And because everybody in the community lives such an animated life, we wanted to add animation to the mural itself," Pearce said of the motivation.

"So you can see there's a rain cloud that comes out, and then there's this kite that comes into the sky, and it's flying. And it kind of goes with the wind, flying, and then it goes away, and it kind of disappears. And then you can see a rainbow."

Hamilton says the goal is to bring people into the magic.

'Little tricks'

"If you look really closely, there are little tricks we played here to play with the odd architecture of this building, the weird placement of windows," he explained.

"Some windows are bigger than others, so we kind of played with that a little bit. And then we tried to make it look like the windows on the building are part of the little houses we have here. You can see people in their fun little house at night."

Pearce says the bigger project, including downtown murals, involved many Calgary artists.

"We've been working with artists and animators to do this all over Calgary, all over the downtown core," she said.

"You can tour different windows that are painted, and then with the Augle app, they all come to life. This Crescent Heights mural here is the first permanent AR mural. In the downtown, all of the window murals are temporary and on until Dec. 31."

Little bit of magic

The Centre Street mural is a partnership of Buds of Buds Collective and the Crescent Heights Community Association.

Hamilton says the initiative has been well received.

"During this process, everyone from Crescent Heights has been so positive. You get to see how many people walk past here every day. And to vitalize this little corner here has been awesome," Hamilton said.

"I think it's always a little bit of magic right off the bat, especially for people who have never seen it before."


With files from Jenny Howe and The Homestretch

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