National Galleries of Scotland: Ray Harryhausen exhibition

Showcasing the genius and creativity of animator Ray Harryhausen through Augmented Reality and an immersive audio tour.

“Harryhausen stands alone as a technician, as an artist and a dreamer. He breathed life into mythological creatures he constructed with his own hands” - Ray Bradbury

Special effects superstar Ray Harryhausen elevated stop motion animation to an art. His innovative and inspiring films, from the 1950s onwards, changed the face of modern movie making forever. For this major exhibition, National Galleries of Scotland wanted to create a guide to share unseen archive materials from the vast Harryhausen collection and also give audiences a unique AR experience whether at home or in the museum.

The Challenge: Opening in October 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, the Ray Harryhausen exhibition had to offer visitors a fun (and COVID-safe) experience on site, as well as access from home. With Smartify already used by the museum across the permanent collection, staff were keen to use the platform to deliver an audio tour safely to visitors' own smartphones without the need for rented devices or touch screens. They also wanted to provide teaser content and came up with the idea of re-animating one of Harryhausen’s famous skeletons from Clash of the Titans in Augmented Reality.

Our Solution: Using the Smartify dashboard, National Galleries of Scotland were able to upload previously unseen archive materials including videos, letters and sketches that could not fit into the physical exhibition space. They also uploaded an audio tour narrated by film director John Landis.

Meanwhile our team worked with Scottish animation agency Playdead to develop an AR animation of the famous skeletons from Clash of the Titans. Visitors on site could scan the original skeleton model and watch it come to life again, while audiences at home could also play with the AR animation.

The Result: Inspired by the creativity and technical brilliance of Ray Harryhausen’s art, we were able to deliver an insightful audio guide, tonnes of additional material and an AR teaser to get audiences excited about this show.

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