Field Museum Digital Diorama for Atlantic Productions

World leading and multi award-winning factual production company Atlantic Productions worked with Emily Smith to conceive and develop a new digital diorama for The Field Museum in Chicago. The purpose of this project was to bring to life The Field’s celebrity T. rex ‘SUE’,  explore ways in which new technologies could bring to life the latest T. rex science within the surrounding gallery space.

Emily Smith led the tender process for Atlantic Productions and connected The Field Museum with Atlantic’s creative teams. Together they decided which aspects of SUE’s behaviour to showcase and how best to achieve this. The result of this open brief was a magnificent 24 foot scientifically accurate digital depiction of the Late Cretaceous landscape in which SUE lived and the T. rex’s interactions with other creatures of the period.

The experience is displayed across six rear-projection screens and is complemented by custom soundscapes that recreate the noises of SUE’s world. The scenes include the dramatic clash between SUE and a Triceratops, SUE stalking a herd of Edmontosaurus as well as depicting SUE having a poop. Every detail of the animations, from 3D modelling SUE’s skeleton structure to rendering dinosaur skin texture from fossilised imprints, represented current scientific knowledge.

In fact, the animation process even informed the science; as Emily notes, ‘The VFX teams at Atlantic Productions even had to rethink a running scene as a stalking scene after Atlantic rigged the full-size T-Rex model and realised it would be too sturdy to run’.

‘Bringing together the scientific expertise held at the Field Museum with Atlantic Production’s unrivalled creative vision and application resulted in one of the most imaginative and impactful museum experiences I’ve been part of’ Emily Smith

‘The animations look so real, and scientists checked every detail—if you want to know how T. rex really looked and behaved in its habitat, this is probably the best way in the world to learn’

Jaap Hoogstraten, Director of Exhibitions, The Field Museum, Chicago

To hear more about the project visit this interview where Atlantic Productions and the Field Museum discuss the project: