Photographic Panels

Photographic panels are a cool way to add some imaging to your panels.  Ombrae Imaging Technology is a popular new technology that uses light and shadow to create visuals on the paneling of your steel building.  How does it work?  Basically what happens is that Ombrae Technology breaks down an image into individual pixels.  Each pixel’s optimal reflective position is then calculated and punched into the Dri-Design wall panels.  It is then engineered to stay attached to the base panel.  The 3-D pixels act as reflectors to catch light or cast a shadow.  This creates a holographic image that presents slightly differing appearances depending upon the lighting and the view of angle.  In one situation, a parking  garage at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, Alberta,  Ombrae panels were used by Bing Thom Architects, in Vancouver, to create the image of clouds that appear to be moving across the sky because of the way the light is reflected.  The Ombrae concept originated with the artist Quin.  Bing Thom introduced Quin to Ken Smith of Calgary-based Flynn Canada Ltd. (the SAIT project installer), who in turn introduced Quin to Dri-Design.Dri-Design President Brad Zeeff realized making these reflective images could be done with machinery.

Thom was fascinated with the idea of 3-D surfaces and wanted to experiment, he wanted to naturally ventilate the SAIT parking garage with perforated metal. Rather than just painting on an image, the Ombrae allowed him to create an image that was alive, changing colors depending on the angle at which you approach it, the color of the sky and even the season, as green leaves can reflect off the exterior façade.  “Rather than just a billboard, this has more life to it,” Thom said.  “I just thought it was a great technology and I could see it on parking structures, roof top mechanical screen walls, artwork for interiors—I thought this would be a great natural way of doing it without putting on any paint,” Zeeff said. “We’re dreaming and experimenting and testing,but we see Dri-Design with Ombrae in theaters because we believe the sound transmission will be awesome.I see it in lobbies, it could go into a curtainwall or glass window system. I see it as corporate logos …anywhere you want to design a theme or project a feeling.”

If  you’re wondering if a photographic panel would require special installation or maintenance requirements,  it actually is easily installed with ease and maintains the same kind of low-to-zero-maintenance quality you would expect from metal panels says Dri-Design. 

For more information on Ombrae Imaging Technology, you can visit or for more information on Norsteel Buildings Limited and their products, please visit our website at


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