James Borda Writer, Game and Interaction Designer

Museum VR

Museum Atrium VR Environment

For a major new American museum, I was asked to create a virtual environment to visualize the atrium area. The major feature of the atrium is a 100-foot video display mounted on the ceiling, 40 feet above the visitors and surrounded by an open ‘box’ of reflective channel glass. Because the display is so narrow, AV&C felt it would be useful to build a virtual environment to help the client visualize the impact of the media displayed there.

The major challenge was creating convincing reflections in the glass. Unity can’t handle real-time reflections as we needed to see them, so I had to use a workaround: multiple screen objects on a separate layer playing the same media; viewed through clipping planes aligned with the glass that masked out all but that layer.

This is a first-person video of a typical walk-through, but the VR environment I created was fully open – you could traverse the model freely to view from any angle as the media played. The clients saw a VR version using the Oculus Rift.

This was not intended as a fully-rendered VR environment. The focus was entirely on creating a visual tool that would put the screen media and channel glass reflections in context for the clients.

Project Details

Client: AV&C

Date: 05/20/2015

Architectural Visualization
Oculus Rift
Sketchup
Unity 3D
Video
VR

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