More than 40,000 people are expected to flood into St Andrew Square to experience Bloom, a two-hour sound and light show lined up for the festival's opening weekend.
The "digital constellation" is being created by the company 59 Productions following previous opening spectaculars staged on Edinburgh Castle rock and the facade of the Usher Hall.
Three sides of the square will be turned into vast canvases for animations and projections celebrating the origins of the festival, which was instigated in the aftermath of the Second World War, with an ambition to “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit.”
Thousands of free tickets allowing entry to the square from 9pm each evening were snapped up immediately when they were released earlier this month.
However other festival-goers will be able to see the show by queuing up on each night next Friday and Saturday.
Festival director Fergus Linehan said: "‘Since 1947 the International Festival has welcomed the world to Edinburgh, creating an electric atmosphere in this city which has radiated back out across the globe.
"That energy has transformed Edinburgh and sparked not only the development of the Festival City we know today, but the creation of countless other festivals around the world.
"We’ll experience that transformative power first-hand in Bloom, as 59 Productions create a digital constellation in the centre of our city that places our story and Edinburgh’s people at its heart."
The staging of Bloom has received financial backing from finance giants Standard Life, as well as special support from the Scottish Government and EventScotland.
Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland’s is a welcoming and progressive nation, and this is particularly demonstrated in the arts.
"In 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival boldly invited artists from across Europe to perform in the capital. 70 years on, we’re recognised as a festival nation that welcomes performers and audiences from every corner of the globe.
“We boosted the Scottish Government’s EXPO Fund by a further £300,000 to mark Edinburgh’s 70th anniversary as a festival city. I am delighted £100,000 of this has contributed towards Bloom, an ambitious, inspiring and artistic visual representation of those 70 years.
"It is a fitting tribute to Edinburgh’s heritage as the city which inspired cities around the world to embrace arts festivals.”