Tunneling for the Crosstown.

Parsons Brinckerhoff (acquired by WSP) is one of the world’s largest engineering professional services firm in the world.



With a rich history beginning in 1885, Parsons Brinckerhoff boasts massive transit projects in its portfolio, including the New York Subway System. For Crosstown, they were overseeing the construction of a major light-rail transit extension for the City of Toronto and predicted the need for a visual education and public relations campaign to explain the project and alleviate concerns from businesses and residents being impacted.

At the forefront of the city’s concern was being able to convey the scope of the project, its positive community impacts and how these impacts would be progressive. They also needed to explain the innovative efforts being employed to mitigate inevitable impositions from a project of this scale.


The City of Toronto hired Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Design-Visualization (DesignViz) team to create this solution. DesignViz brought in Analogy to lead the video’s construction, provide professional editing, motion graphics, color correction and audio services and add a cinematic director’s touch to the animations, lighting and pacing. We also brought a level of technical expertise to the project having produced a number of documentary films on large transit infrastructure. We were able to use that knowledge to help guide the 3D visualization artists’ accuracy.

Our job was to take the 3D models requested by the client and turn them into an educational and public relations story in film form.

In any large government project, there will be people who feel the resulting benefits from the project do not warrant the imposition of creating it. We helped respond to this concern by adding intentional strategies to the visuals being created. For example, the idea for cutting in real video footage with the models. We directed realistic 3D camera shakes as trains pass and virtual camera moves that were accurate to what could be done with an actual camera on a set. We guided the artists’ lighting nuances and added audio cues and created a sense of documentary pacing in the edit. Likewise, we came up with the concept of using a Canadian-accented voice actor to help the video feel like the project was being done by the people of Toronto, not to them. These efforts all contributed to the notion that this project was creating something tangible. Despite the models being rendered in 3D, we knew that adding these sophistications to the visuals suggested to the audience that the project was creating a real deliverable with real benefits and would go a long way in mitigating pre-ground breaking concerns.

Toronto Crosstown
Competitive analysis
Slide deck
3D imaging