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July was quite a busy month for TVR. We started this month off by having a very successful collaborative meetup with the Triad Art & Tech Meetup group based out of Greensboro. Triad Art & Tech hosted the meeting and John Moore, a co-founder of the group, provided an awesome presentation about the current state of virtual and augmented reality in art mediums and installments.

Permission has been granted by John Moore for us to share the contents of his presentation along with his writings about the different mediums through which we can experience the combination of art and virtual reality. From this point forward, in discussing the Triad Art & Tech’s presentation I will be paraphrasing or directly quoting off of the writings and presentation of John Moore.

First John presented us with a Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement that was produced by The Guardian. It was an interactive piece that combines journalism with an artistic interperation of life in solitary confinement that is available on YouTube in a 360 degree Video.

“Osmose” was one of the earlier integrations between virtual reality and art. It was created in 1995 by Char Davies and used a head-mounted display and vest to track the user’s breathing. Movement in the virtual environment was dictated by the way the user breathed and leaned, similar to scuba-diving.

“After GTA V” was a piece created by Rachel Rossin as part of the “Lossy” exhibition which mixed traditional 2D art with virtual reality pieces. Rossin describes herself as a “co-conspirator” with the VR physics engine she uses to create her work. These pieces were created by taking stills of sunsets from GTA V, putting them in VR, applying cloth dynamics, and inverting gravity. Allowing them to become distorted. Rossin then takes screenshots of these works and puts them into traditional paintings.

“I Came and Went as a Ghost in Hand” is another piece created by Rachel Rossin that uses photogrammetry to capture objects from her home and her paintings. These exist as fragmented meshes in a blank space. The environments begin to decay as you move, reflecting the entropy of memory and moments in one’s life.

“Nature Abstration” is a piece created by Matteo Zamagni where the viewer sits in a glass box with analog projected images appearing around them. In the VR environment, the viewer visits 3 “planets” with fractal patterns generated through use of Google’s deepdream software.

As of right now the most popular tools available for integrations between art and virtual reality are : Google Tilt Brush, Paintlab, SculptVR, and the Unreal Engine.

Thank you again to John & Karen of the Triad Art & Tech Meetup group for sharing their resources, enthusiasm, and workspace with TVR.

For our second meetup of the month we went back mostly to business as usual. We had a great turnout, saw quite a few new faces, and still had the same delicious pizza. We kicked off the meetup with a presentation by Matias Silva about Virtual Reality and video games. Going over the early fumbling steps in virtual reality with the Virtual Boy in 1995 and leading up to the latest news about the Sony PS4 VR capabilities.

Video games have helped keep the vision of virtual reality alive, but has also lead to some companies feeling it’s “gimmicky”. Matias helped explain to us that what were perceived as failures during the 90’s with certain consoles, were more of just inopportune launches and poor marketing strategies. With all of the past experience that Sony & Nintendo have with Virtual and Augmented reality it will be exciting to see the future of console gaming forever changed.

After a brilliant presentation from Matias we opened up the floor and really had some fun. One of our own participants, Michael Oder, allowed us to demonstrate his upcoming game CyberThreat on the HTC Vive. While the game is about to hit the Vive shop in Beta form, we had the opportunity to get an early sneak peek at a fantastic virtual reality first person shooter.

Thank you to all participants that came to our two meetups this past month, and of course a HUGE thank you to our two guest presenters John Moore and Matias Silva. We would also like to thank Michael Oder for allowing our group an early access demonstration of his upcoming game, and Brian from Unofficial Cardboard for bringing his “swag bag” of headsets to hand out to our new members. As always, we look forward to seeing you next month!

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