Virtual Reality – How To Design Virtual Spatial System

A workshop by Pablo Dornhege at  the Berlin Summer University of the Arts.
The workshop conveys substantial knowledge about virtual reality and how it can be used as a design tool. Participants will learn how to generate 3D models from real life objects, how to build web based narrative spaces and how to use a game engine to create an interactive virtual experience.

Virtual Reality is not a hype that will pass, but a technology that will change our lives both at home and work. This new medium brings designers and artists new potentials which allow experiencing with the content in a spatial system and can be used as a design tool by itself.

During the course you will learn:
how to create 3D models of real life objects and how to put them into virtual reality
the complexity of creating web based narrative virtual spaces
how to build an interactive virtual experience using game engine

This workshop is aimed at artist, architects, industrial or spatial designers who are interested in creating spatial environments or a piece of art that can be experienced in virtual reality, or who want to learn how to use virtual reality as a canvas for their ideas.

Important information: this is a basic workshop. We are not going to create games or highly complex interactive experiences!

Required equipment:
Everyone should bring a more or less up-to-date notebook. A few weeks before the workshop starts, you will get an email listing the software you will need to install and the online accounts you might have to create. All the programs are free of charge for educational use.


Day 1: Virtual, Augmented, Mixed – The New States of Reality
The lecture gives an introduction to the concept of virtuality and an overview over the “history of immersion” (from the perspective stage images of the 17th century to the development of Oculus Rift virtual reality system). The second part of the lecture deals with the current technical variants of virtual reality and various content forms. In the third and fourth sections, social virtual reality applications and virtual reality art forms and projects are presented.

3D Scanning – Industrial Methods and More Affordable Solutions
The workshop explains different methods of creating digital 3D models of tangible/real objects and spatial situations. Technologies range from complex laser scanning systems, hacked XBox-Kinect sensors to photogrammetry. The latter is explained in detail because of its relatively simple implementation. The necessary programs are presented and the workflow is demonstrated in detail.

Day 2: Create Web Based Narrative Virtual Spaces
The purpose of this workshop is to learn how to easily create state of the art interactive VR content with the help of the Vizor browser based tool. We will start off with a quick creation session, where each participant generates a 360-degree VR environment with their smartphones. You will even be able to instantly share it with your friends. Finally, interactive functionality will be introduced to our scenes. Afterwards, we can explore the system further in a Q&A session and also look into other systems for VR content creation.

Day 3: Introduction Into Unity3D (or Unreal Engine)
You will get a basic introduction into the Unity3D environment and how video games are developed in general. You will learn how to create simple interactive scenes and then we will adapt these skills to create experimental virtual experiences.

Day 4: Adding Sound and Animations
Adding the sound to your scenes will greatly intensify the feeling of immersion and the use of interactive and animated objects will bring your project to life.

Project support and assembly:
You will get the time and support you need to assemble your first interactive virtual reality project and the results will be demonstrated, tested and discussed in the group.

Pablo Dornhege has been working as a freelance graphic designer since 1998 and as 3D artist and scenographer since 2005. In addition to his freelance work he gave lectures and workshops at different international universities and taught at the University of the Arts Berlin, first as research associate and lecturer and later as visiting professor for scenography and spatial systems. He investigates virtual reality as a medium for communication and its possible uses as a tool for development and designing of spatial environments.