XR and Art - How compatible are they?

By Simran Narang

16 August 2021

Fall is a time of regeneration - Trees are shedding old leaves, sprouting new ones, nature is preparing for the cold grey winters ahead. From George Eliot to Shakespeare, everyone has compared Fall and Autumn to a Melancholy, a lovable Melancholy, that everyone holds dear.

In India, it has been always associated with Prosperity and Wealth and coincides with the Harvest Season. The perception is the stark opposite from that of the West.

It’s a time of taking Breaks, Finding Balance and learning new things.

From time immemorial, humans have found ways to express themselves via art. The cave paintings found in prehistoric dwellings, to the Pyramids of Egypt, to modernism and different forms and mediums of Art now, Humans always find a way to express themselves. In this article, we explore humans, Art and how technology has influenced art and its related experiences.

With that, I’d like to introduce you to your next Hobby - WebXR Content. People who are already interested in art and have some experience with other Digital Art Platforms will easily create WebXR Art!

XR or Extended Reality is a collective term for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality.

There are numerous tools online that help you create Virtual Reality Content, or help you create 360 degree (Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality) experiences of your Current Content.

Let’s see how you can create XR Content/showcase your existing content in XR!

Source - Envato Elements

1 Taking the Virtual Leap!

A popup in NYC is creating Virtual Reality Experiences of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings, with which you can experience the paintings up close.

Source - here

What if I told you that you could do that with your artwork as well?

A free-to-use platform, Melzo Kalaa allows you to upload your panoramas, Equirectangular images, and create 360-Degree Experiences.

You can either use their Predefined Templates for a Gallery Setting, many, place a high-quality image of your artwork over there, add information, Pop-Ups, Background Music, Customise the Way you want to, and Create your Virtual Showcase.

Another way to go about it is that you can take a high-resolution picture of your Artwork, and convert it into an equirectangular image (These work the best as background, 360-degree images and give you a seamless, refined experience.

Feel Free to explore the platform as you will, the software is free to use and can be used in whatever way you want.

Share your Experience with anyone, anywhere, and they can be viewed on any device.

2 DIY Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is Notorious for being an extremely Code Heavy Software, and is generally deemed as a medium that is not easily accessible.

Augmented Reality Tech came into the limelight when Pokemon Go brought it into the mainstream around 2016.

Since then, AR has been a novelty, used mostly in games and entertainment.

Recently, though, many other uses o,f AR, mostly in Education, Training, Testing and Planning are being explored.

This sort of Visualisation is more suited to artists who work with 3D Models and 3D Model Animation.

Simply upload your 3D Models on Melzo Udyog, adjust their size and height from the ground (I wouldn’t stress too much over this step, you can change positions and size in AR too) and visualise them in AR in no time!

Udyog lets you visualise your designs in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and even Hologram (Holograms do require specific hardware though :( )Share your Experience with anyone, anywhere, and they can be viewed on any device.

I made this experience to study a painting by Belgian Surrealist artist, Rene Magritte. The Orignal is called - “The Treachery of Images' and the painting is a study of a pipe, with the words - Ceci n’est pas une pipe. The original painting explores themes of how images are deceitful, and how it’s not a real pipe, but just a picture of a pipe. I wanted to explore the same theme but in AR.

So I found a 3D model of the Pipe on Sketchfab, made an AR Experience, and shared it on Reddit with fellow Surrealism Enthusiasts.

SFor people not familiar with 3D Modeling (Like Myself), you can take pictures of your artwork, and concert your pictures into an extremely Simple 3D Model, which you can upload on Udyog and showcase your Art in AR. You can now share this completed experience, with just a WebLink, to Anyone, Anywhere!

There you have it - Multiple ways of incorporating Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality into your Artistry. Two novel ways to Showcase your Artwork and enjoy the process of Creation.

Art is all about the process of Creation, all the emotions you were feeling at that time and a form of expression. As Technology has advanced, Newer Ways of Visualisation and Creation only add to the Creative Instincts.

Melzo offers their products, Melzo Kalaa for VR Visualisation and creating interactive Virtual Experiences and Melzo Udyog for AR Visualisation. Both products can be accessed on their website, kalaa.melzo.com and udyog.melzo.com

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