Wednesday, 25 January 2012

River of Wisdom

River of Wisdom – Animated Version of the Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival

27 November, 2010 by Roland Lim in his blog " The World according to Roland"

 In the Shanghai World Expo 2010, the “Animated Version of the Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival” created by modern multimedia technology earns its reputation as the star exhibit in the China Pavilion. Projected on a giant screen of more than 120 metres long and 6 metres high, the picture shows its details with animation including moving people, running water, various kinds of goods being displayed for sale, boat trackers shouting on the river and boats swinging their ways forward. A vivid, artificial river meanders through the lower part of the giant picture, giving visitors a stunning experience and an illusion that they are staying in Bianjing, the capital of Northern Song Dynasty nine hundred years ago. This giant picture is called “River of Wisdom” because it depicts many cultural aspects demonstrating the wisdom of Chinese in ancient times. The animated version of the picture is 30 times of its original scroll. Elaborate computer animation gives life to characters and objects in the painting. An integrated image is formed by several high resolution projectors using sophisticated computer geometric transformation and correction technology. The entire features of the original painting including all its streets, boats and buildings are retained in the animation. The scene is portrayed in day to night cycles lasting for four minutes with dramatic interplay of light and colour. It is indeed a masterpiece that blends state-of-the-art animation technology with traditional Chinese culture. Additional elements of history, culture, art and education are incorporated in the exhibition. These include the introduction of the significance of the “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival” in the Chinese culture and art, and the depiction of the production idea and process of its animated version. The exhibition facilitates visitors to learn more about the urban outlook, people’s daily life and the achievements in science and technology in Song Dynasty.
 I was lucky to have obtained a ticket to see River of Wisdom when it was temporarily moved to the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong for short term exhibition after the Shanghai World Expo finished. The scale of the display simply huge and one needs to be there in person to a a perspective of how large it is. I have made a short video with Canon EOS 5D Mark II. I hope you will enjoy it.

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