The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is watched by hundreds of thousands of people annually and, this year, the designs of City of Glasgow College students are to take centre stage at the world-famous event, which starts today.
Digital images designed by the students will be projected on the walls of Edinburgh Castle, acting as a backdrop during the 25 performances watched by audiences of more than 200,000. Millions of television viewers worldwide will also see the designs.
This year's tattoo takes the theme of homecoming and the Commonwealth, and the designs had to reflect the varied performances of international groups appearing in the show. A group of 20 students met tattoo producer and chief executive David Allfrey and then worked in small teams to research and develop ideas, which they later showed in presentations. The images deemed most suitable will now be showcased on the 80 x 85m "canvas" that the castle provides.
The project built on the successful debut involvement of the college last year. Computer arts and design lecturer Dianne Barry said that Brigadier Allfrey's team had been given plenty of designs to choose from, thanks to the sheer volume of work produced by the young people. "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," she added. "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 dedicated, and constantly collaborated with each other, sharing ideas and techniques."
Brigadier Allfrey said he had "hugely enjoyed" working with City of Glasgow College staff and students. "I am thrilled with the results and I know our international audience will be wowed," he added. "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."
Leanne Goodall, a 19-year-old from Oban who is studying an HND course in computer art and design, said she suspected that seeing her work on the walls of the castle would be an emotional moment. "I've always loved the Edinburgh military tattoo and 2014 will be the third time I've attended the event," she said. "I'm really looking forward to seeing my designs on the castle and it will more than likely bring a tear to my eye.
"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 obtain a career in the industry as I've learned a lot of new skills and feel that the sky is the limit."
The experience has already helped course colleague Janine Getty, 24, from Scotstoun, to gain employment within the digital arts industry. "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," she said.
"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 the city."
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo performances take place on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle until 23 August