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Digital design students from City of Glasgow College are relishing the prospect of having their best work showcased to a worldwide audience of around a hundred million people as part of a link with the organisers of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Dianne Barry, a lecturer in Computer Arts and Design at the college, has, with her colleague Andy Welsby, established a working relationship with the event’s producer, Brigadier David Allfrey. Together, they devised a brief for twenty students to design digital images for projection onto the walls of Edinburgh castle. The illustrations deemed to be most suitable will be integrated into designs set to be projected onto the castle’s 80x85m ‘canvas’ and used as theatrical backdrops during this summer’s event, which opens today.

Dianne explains: “We have produced such a high volume of work this year, so David and his team have a lot to choose from. It’s been a huge motivation for the students. This is delivering a real-life experience for them. It’s as close as you can get to working with a design studio, with a tight deadline, complex brief, and demanding client.”

The partnership between the Tattoo and the college made a successful debut last year. As this year’s Tattoo will follow a theme of Homecoming and the Commonwealth, the students were tasked with creating images to reflect the range of performance groups from participating countries.

Dianne said: “It’s really satisfying to deliver work like this and even more gratifying to see the students seizing the opportunity. They were so creative and so dedicated and constantly collaborated with each other, sharing ideas and techniques.

“The students met producer David Allfrey and did a recce of Edinburgh Castle before being divided into small teams and researching and developing ideas. David came through to Glasgow to see the work in development and was really impressed with them. For the second week, they moved the work onto finalised designs and prepared them into presentations.”

Nineteen-year-old Leanne Goodall from Oban studies HND Computer Art and Design at the college and was inspired to participate in the project after being shown student designs from last year’s event. She said: “The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is something I’ve always loved and 2014 will be the third time I’ve attended the event. I’m really looking forward to seeing my designs on the castle and it will more than likely bring a tear to my eye.”

The aspiring film animator continued: “I love bringing my artwork to life – especially when there is a good story behind it that might inspire others. I think this experience will help me towards obtaining a career in the industry as I’ve learnt a lot of new skills and feel that the sky is the limit.

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Janine Getty, who is currently enrolled on the college’s HND Computer Arts and Design course, was delighted to take part in the project and says the experience has already helped her to gain employment within the digital arts industry. The twenty-four-year-old, who is from Scotstoun in Glasgow, said: “It’s been an amazing opportunity to have people see my work and for me to start the process of getting my name out into the world as a professional artist. Taking part has already helped me get a job as, shortly after finishing the first year of my course, I approached a digital creative collective based in Glasgow to let them know about my experience with the Tattoo and have since been working alongside them to set up an art exhibition for aspiring artists in Glasgow.”

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Chief Executive and Producer of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Brigadier David Allfrey, is delighted with the results of the event’s collaboration between two of Scotland’s leading institutions. He said: “The Tattoo is not only an extraordinary show but it is also a national showcase. This is the second year we have collaborated with students in developing ideas and creative imagery for the Tattoo. We were delighted with the output last year and a number of students’ images were used in lighting and projections on Edinburgh Castle during the 90-minute performance. This year, we have approached the project in teams and the results have been stunning. Richness, colour and innovation – all developed in a fast-moving and commercial frame where students have been expected to respond professionally to a concept brief.”

He continues: “I have hugely enjoyed working with City of Glasgow College staff and students to critique initial concepts and refine the direction. The final imagery is now in London being set for the projection. I am thrilled with the results and I know that our international audience will be wowed.”

Ross Ashton, Creative Director at The Projection Studio, the company behind creating the imagery that is beamed onto Edinburgh Castle during the Tattoo, also praised the students for their talent and dedication. He said: “It’s very exciting to work with the college and see how the students interpret a brief. Their designs make for bright and vibrant images which help to support the cast and create theatrical backdrops which help to interpret the music.”

A live audience of 200,000 spectate at the Tattoo, while an estimated 100 million tune in online and on television each year.

Details of the complete programme for the forthcoming  65th Tattoo which starts today and embraces the Homecoming-centred theme, ‘Our Home, Friends and Family’, were revealed by Brigadier Allfrey earlier this week, and shown off to the preview audience last night. 

The Producer provided participation particulars about the eagerly anticipated attendance of hundreds of top Commonwealth performers from the four corners of the globe including Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand and Malta.

In addition, members of the Trinidad & Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra along with the Nagaland Folkloric Group – making their first Tattoo appearance – from North East India will be on hand to perform and talk about their visit to these shores and forthcoming performances at the Tattoo. Also, this year celebrating 350-years of service will include musicians from Her Majesty’s Royal Marines adding their unique presence to the occasion.

Are you going? Then add your photos, videos or thoughts to our Edinburgh Festivals storyboard here. We look forward to hearing what you think!