Applied Artists explore VirtualReality

An image that shows the 3 dimensional linear form created using sweeping gestures of the hand controllers in GravitySketchVR.

AAS’s DISTANCE2 project: Investigating the benefits.

Applied Arts Scotland’s DISTANCE2 Project set out to investigate digital immersive technologies such as virtualreality for applied artists’ practice. A group of nine applied artists explore virtualreality using Oculus Quest2 headsets and hand controllers. The objective was craft engagement, about collaborating and sharing experiences and objects in new and exciting ways. They had super support through a series of guided workshops over the eight months from June 2021-January 2022.

The image Applied artists explore virtual reality shows pictures that illustrate the use of virtual reality app GravitySketch to design objects for jewellery.
Applied artist, Ann Marie Shillito used GravitySketchVR to explore virtualreality.

Ann Marie Shillito, Anarkik3D’s CEO and a jeweller, join the group, excited at the potential of how applied artists explore virtualreality, pushing the boundaries of our practice and into a global space!

The project culminated in a showcase event and digital exhibition which illustrated the amazing range of applications. We created the exhibitions by jointly organising storylines, layouts, design and interactions through collaborations in both VR and real-world.

Listen to a mini series of podcasts on the project hosted and interviewed by Ica Headlam of Creative-Me-Podcast. (More info and links at the end of blog.)

Ann Marie Shillito, an applied artist, explores Virtual Reality

Two images about Applied artists explore virtual reality, show the process of using a 3D modelling app in virtual reality to design a frame around an image.
Using GravitySketchVR Ann Marie created 3D forms around the image of a porcelain piece Carol Sinclair to fashion a frame to be 3D printed to hold the porcelain and make a brooch.

For her project Ann Marie explored exporting and imporing objects and the different file formats to take concepts developed in VR into other programmes. By doing this the advantages, features and functions that other programmes offer can to exploited. After trying creative programmes such as Tiltbrush, Multibrush and SculptrVR, she used GravitySketchVR (a concept design application) to explore how makers bring their knowledge and expertise into the virtual space to design and create models.

Two images about Applied artists explore virtual reality, show the digital 3D 'frame modelled in virtual reality transfered to Anarkik3DDesign programme to be completed for 3D printing.
Ann Marie’s virtual frame exported from GravitySketchVR to Meshlab, and to Anarkik3DDesign, to be completed and made ready for 3D printing to make a brooch set with the porcelain piece (as replicated in blue shape above!) .

Ann Marie really enjoyed the technology for gestural flowing movements. She saved the forms created in .obj file format and once she had something she liked, imported it into Anarkik3DDesign 3D modelling programme to complete, ready for 3D printing. She used other programmes such as MeshLab to test the .obj file for flaws and to view her designs.

From VR to real

It was important to test the VR programme’s capability to provide robust models for 3D printing. The outcome is a set of 3D printed brooches with images and text documenting the design process.

Three images about Applied artists explore virtual reality, show 3D digital designs modelled in virtual reality transfered to Anarkik3DDesign programme  and other apps to be completed for 3D printing.
Applied artists explore virtual reality: Three images of 3D digital designs modelled in virtual reality transfered to other apps and Anarkik3DDesign programme to be completed for 3D printing.

As with all 2D/3D creative programmes, different types of objects, models and formats (2D/3D, pixels/voxels/surfaces) present major hurdles regarding compatibility. Aspose is a file format converter app and was indispensible for exporting models to test if they were 3D printable. It turned out that there are issues, created when using the stroke feature and gestural movements, that stop models being 3D printable.

All this exploring has generated a lot of information. This has been collated into a PowerPoint presentation that covers her pros and cons of using GravitySketchVR – with lots of images to illustrate the work.

Applied artists explore virtual reality: Image of two brooches designed using GravitySketchVR and Anarkik3DDesign and 3D printed, the top one in white ployamide and the bottom on in multicoloured polymer.

This mean importing the digital models of the forms into Anarkik3DDesign to adjust the geometry to make them 3D printable. After an initial rejection by a commersial service company and more work these two forms were 3D printed. With brooch pins added these are now wearable!

ALM Group and VR

The second part of the project was about collaboration in small supportive groups. Ann Marie’s ALM group focused on how our tacit knowledge from making, enables us within our different disciplines to effectively make use of VR. Through our discussions over months we asked: what is tacit knowledge, why it is important, how we gain it and how we use it in our practice.

The next blog will cover this part of the project. Meanwhile here is the link to ‘tacit knowledge in VR’ Powerpoint presentation.

Links to our virtual galleries and exhibitions of our work created in VR:

Podcasts on Craft in Virtual Reality

The AAS Podcasts (4 part series): listen to the organisers and the makers discuss the DISTANCE Project with Ica Headlam of Creative Me. The organisers cover how the project was instigated and managed. We, the makers, talk about what we did, experimenting, exploring & collaborating using immersive technologies in a dedicated online space.

Thank you, Applied Arts Scotland, so much for this super opportunity. DISTANCE Project is very successful. It will have far reaching impacts, consequences and outcomes because all applied artists will benefit from all the knowledge generated.