Northern Reflections window displays brings augmented reality to Calgary

Northern Reflections window display

Look closely at the phone – do you see how it looks different than the painted window? That’s augmented reality at play at the Northern Reflections window displays.

They may look like your typical painted window displays, but with a twist! Downtown Calgary and the Buds of Buds art collective have teamed up to create six unique augmented reality window displays that turn a static piece of art into an animated piece of fun!

The Northern Reflections windows can be found along Stephen Avenue starting at City Hall (Municipal Building near the doors/lion statue) all the way down to Bankers Hall. All of the windows can be seen by passerby outside on the sidewalk except for the Bankers Hall window inside the plus 15 on the second level.

Each window was developed by an artist and animator team that came up with a winter-themed illustration for each display. The artist painted their creation directly onto the windows and then animator determined digital “layers” to enhance the illustration and create the augmented reality. The entire series was created by Calgary artists and developers including the smartphone app, Augle, used to see the augmented reality come to life.

The displays will only be up for the month of December so don’t miss out on this limited time window magic! Download the Augle app and start wandering downtown Calgary to look at each window. A full map and locations can be found on the Downtown Calgary website.

Not sure what augmented reality means? Check out my photos and videos below to see how it works.

Downtown Calgary Northern Reflections display

Here I am standing in front of stop #4 along the Northern Reflections tour. This is the Sierra window outside the One18Empire lounge. This is a regular photo of the beautiful wintry mountainscape.

Augmented reality window display

This photo is taken with the Augle smartphone app. As you view the window display through the app, animation will appear over the painted window display. Isn’t it neat! If you compare with the previous photo, you will now see that the app has added on additional layers of homes, trees and other items throughout the mountains.

So if you’d like to see how the full augmented reality animation works, here’s a video that shows it all in action. This video is a screenshot of the Augle app as it applies the AR animation layers on top of the painted illustration. Voila! Instant window magic!


Irene Seto

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