Hyundai Using Samsung’s Premium The Wall As Core Design Tool For US Studio
October 20, 2022 by Dave Haynes
This is an interesting use-case for a super-premium LED video wall – a huge display in the U.S. design studio for automaker Hyundai. The screen is used to look over a new vehicle design, and tweak things like its lines and color choices, before the automaker goes to the very large expense of building a first version of the car or truck.
During the design and styling process, HATCI designers require extremely high-quality displays that accurately depict a vehicle’s surfaces and form, including the cabin, through the interaction of color, geometry and light. A high-resolution display allows the design team to thoroughly review the vehicle’s development and accurately assess the impact of subtle changes made over several rounds of revisions.
The team at HATCI had been using a traditional image projector system for years, a three-screen 4K rear projection-based video wall system called the IGI PowerWall. Designers were struggling to achieve accurate styling renditions, particularly in terms of the image quality when viewed in full-size. They searched for a cutting-edge display solution, but there didn’t seem to be many options available that met their needs.
“I kept seeing display technology where the pixels were very obvious, even from a distance,” says David Nikel, manager of design operations for HATCI. “You could just see a lot of noise in the colors.”
The designers initially looked to cut over to large format LCDs, but then integrator Immersion Graphics Inc suggested they go have a look at the Samsung Executive Briefing Center, which is also in the Irvine area of LA. The Hyundai people saw The Wall and that ended up being what they used.
Unlike rear projection, The Wall’s microLEDs produce images that look stunning from any angle, even close up. Millions of bright, micrometer-scale LEDs on a deep black background create unparalleled clarity in true-to-life color — exactly what HATCI’s design team was looking for, says IGI marketing director Paul Helm.
“The Wall provides by far the best image quality of any LED technology,” Helm explains. “This quality is pivotal for HATCI designers to make accurate decisions for future exterior and interior designs.”
To meet HATCI’s objective of displaying a modern passenger car at 1:1 scale, The Wall was installed in the design studio in an 8-by-5 tile configuration, comprising a display 21 feet long and just under 8 feet tall. The team considered installing an even larger display, but settled on these optimized dimensions to deliver the desired image quality within the available space. With the remaining space directly in front of The Wall, HATCI mounted a VR tracking system so designers can examine their designs in 3D.
Now designers are seeing their ideas at full scale …
To view their designs more accurately across multiple devices, HATCI is considering building an even better color calibration system to render true-to-life colors on all devices, as is the norm in modern film production.
The Wall’s integration with HATCI’s videoconferencing and 3D VR visualization software has also made it easy for the team to collaborate with colleagues around the world, in real time.
“We’re seeing it in 1:1, the volumes and the form, and the textures of the materials as you expect to see them,” says David Nikel, manager of design operations for HATCI.
“The translation because of software and the reality of the viewing tools we’re using — between VR headsets and screens — allows us to see designs as they ought to be,” explains Nikel. “We’re seeing it in 1:1, the volumes and the form, and the textures of the materials as you expect to see them.”
Before HATCI digitized their design process, it wasn’t uncommon for each studio to be working on up to three full-size clay models simultaneously, which would ideally be brought together in the same studio for a final design workshop. The logistics and material needs made this a difficult and expensive setup. Each studio was typically forced to narrow down their designs to one model early in the process, which ultimately restricted design permutations.
Compared to the traditional design process, HATCI’s digital workflow not only saves time and money but allows the team to move their design freeze very close to the actual fabrication of the first prototype.
Big LED walls are being used in customer-facing areas like showrooms, but this is the first I’ve seen of a big $$$ premium product like this being used for purely practical reasons, as opposed to Wow Factor.