A Giant Story

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When guests enter the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace they are greeted by three immense sculpted pets. Each has a particular personality. The giant dog is the first to welcome people. A cat perches high on a wall surveying the lobby action. A mischievous hamster hides, waiting to be discovered.

Storyline melded a new digital process with traditional fabrication techniques to realize the characters.

Character Development

Inspired by real animals, each character was developed with exaggerated features for whimsical effect. We were fortunate to work again with character artist and 3D modeller, Henk Dawson.


Using a program called Sketchfab, were able to view the computer models in a virtual PetSpace interior architecture.  This way, we could see how the animals would look from the vantage point guest would see them from.

3D prints

Once the final pose and position of each animal was chosen, a 3D model was printed. At this stage it was important to ensure animatronic mechanism coordination.

1” Scale model

With the physical 3D prints in hand we utilized our in-house model shot to build a 1/12 scale model of the lobby.

Scaling to Foam

Having created a 3D digital model of each animal we were able to send the digital file to a CNC machine that carved exact copies – only 12 times the size! Artists at project fabricators, Cinnabar, then detailed the surfaces of the carved full scale models to resemble fur.

Fiberglass and molding

Next, Cinnabar created molds and from the molds a fibreglass shell which would serve as a skin over supporting framework and animatronics.

Motion Tests 

Amusement park and special effects team at Techniflex developed the animatronics that would bring the creatures to life. The animatronic movement was coordinated with audio produced by Storyline.


Final Paint

Using Storyline’s original digital artwork, Cinnabar’s artists applied the final color both by hand and using a sprayer.

Final Install

The animals were shipped to the site by truck and then lifted into place with forklifts. Engineered framework had earlier been placed into the wall structure to ensure these giant creatures could be safely secured.

Process Complete

As the three animals took their final positions it is astounding to see how close they are to the original drawings and scale model!

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