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From flying parrots and trumpeting elephants to galloping horses, German circus organizers have tapped into the power of 3D imaging to present the magical spectacle of live animals digitally to entertain their audience.

Unlike in the past, tagging along live animals for circus acts has become increasingly difficult owing to animal welfare rights, constrained space in towns and cities and other logistical issues.

Inspired by the experience of watching American singer Justin Timberlake’s performance with the holographic image of the late Prince, the circus manager decided to give a go to using holographic images of animals in his shows instead of using live ones.

To create the visual illusion, which was technically challenging, given the circular seating arrangement in a circus as opposed to front-facing theater settings, the circus organizers used 11 cameras, arranged on the ceiling of the big top around the ring with the high-resolution images projected onto a fine-mesh netting surrounding the performance space. Then, once the lights were out, the netting became invisible and the images were highlighted for the utter amusement of the spectators.

According to the organizer, this new concept is tickling the fancy of the audience to see something unexpected.

"Whatever you can imagine, it can be created by an animator, by a graphic designer, then it can also be shown up in a circus show," notes Toni Munar, the technical director of the circus.

How about a blue whale in the circus ring?

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