Geneva 1850: A revolutionary journey

We are proud to announce the opening of the VR experience Geneva 1850: A Revolutionary Journey co-produced by Artanim and the Museums of Art and History of Geneva. The immersive installation will be open to public starting from April 12th at Maison Tavel, the oldest standing building in the city of Calvin.

Headset strapped to your head, movement sensors attached to your wrists and feet, you are now all geared up to dive into the Geneva 1850 experience. This VR installation immerses users into the Geneva of a time when the city was on the brink of modernity. In groups of four, impersonating period costume-clad avatars, users are given a chance to discover the city as it was in October 1846, just days before its people rose up in insurrection. Featuring a spectacular number of special effects, the experience is not only a visual, auditory and olfactory one. It also includes a physical and haptic dimension — users can feel themselves walking around the virtual city and pick up actual objects to interact with their environment, their fellow travellers and city dwellers.

Based on 3D data collected through the digitization of the Magnin model exhibited at Maison Tavel, this extraordinary experience is an invitation to travel back in time and witness the outbreak of Geneva’s “Fazy” revolution.

More info

April 12th-July 14th, 2019

Maison Tavel, Rue du Puits-Saint-Pierre 6, 1204 Geneva.
Open from 11am to 6pm, closed on Monday.

Reserve your tickets for a journey through time at MAH-GENEVE.CH
Approximate duration: 45 min.

Download flyer
Press kit upon request

More info about Artanim’s VR platform

Geneva 1850 - Horse-carriage ride in front of St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva 1850 - Journal de Genève with James Fazy and General Dufour

Geneva 1850 - Balloon flight

Dreamscape opens first permanent VR storefront

Dreamscape Immersive, the story-oriented VR company leveraging Artanim’s VR technology and whose backers include movie chain AMC Entertainment and several Hollywood heavyweights (MGM, Warner, 21st Century Fox, Steven Spielberg, Hans Zimmer), opens its first permanent location in the same upscale Los Angeles mall where it ran a pop-up storefront last February featuring its sci-fi-themed Alien Zoo experience.

The permanent storefront in the Westfield Century City mall will initially provide dedicated “theaters” and suit-up areas for three different experiences: Alien Zoo, the undersea adventure The Blu: Deep Rescue, and the Indiana Jones-style Lavan’s Magic Projector: The Lost Pearl. Tickets cost $20, get them here. The new location is part of a rapid expansion effort by the company, which plans to roll out stand-alone and in-theater venues (in partnership with AMC Theatre) outside of California.

Follow Caecilia Charbonnier and Sylvain Chagué, who are also the co-founders and co-CTOs of Dreamscape during the opening day at Westfield. Below, some pictures of the elegant Dreamscape store.

Dreamscape Immersive Store Dreamscape Immersive Store

Dreamscape Immersive Store Dreamscape Immersive Store

Your body feels good

Your body feels good

Do you feel in control of the body that you see? This is an important question in virtual reality (VR) as it highly impacts the user’s sensation of presence and embodiment of an avatar representation while immersed in a virtual environment. To better understand this aspect, we performed an experiment in the framework of the VR-Together project to assess the relative impact of different levels of body animation fidelity to presence.

In this experiment, the users are equipped with a motion capture suit and reflective markers to track their movements in real time with a Vicon optical motion capture system. They also wear Manus VR gloves for fingers tracking and an Oculus HMD. At each trial, the face (eye gaze and mouth), fingers and the avatar’s upper and lower bodies are manipulated with different degree of animation fidelity, such as no animation, procedural animation and motion capture. Each time, users have to execute a number of tasks (walk, grab an object, speak in front of a mirror) and to evaluate if they are in control of their body. Users start with the simplest setting and, according to the judged priority, improve features of the avatar animation until they are satisfied with the experience of control.

VR-Together VR-Together

Using the order in which users improve the movement features, we can assert on the most valuable animation features to the users. With this experiment, we want to confront the relative importance of animation features with the costs of adoption (monetary and effort) to provide software and use guidelines for live 3D rigged character mesh animation based on affordable hardware. This outcome will be useful to better define what makes a compelling social VR experience.

VR-Together

 

Shooting of the VR-Together Pilot 1

Shooting of the VR-Together Pilot 1

Artanim collaborated with Entropy Studio on the shooting of the first pilot of the VR-Together project. After a short flight from Madrid to Geneva, the actors were 3D scanned with our photogrammetric scanner consisting of 96 cameras, to obtain the 3D surface of their body. Steve Galache (known for his work on The Vampire in the Hole, 2010; El cosmonauta, 2013; and Muertos comunes, 2004), Jonathan David Mellor (known for The Wine of Summer, 2013; Refugiados, 2014; and [Rec]², 2009) and Almudena Calvo were the main characters of this first experience. They were dressed the same way as in the shooting scene.

3D body scan

The shooting was split over two days. The first day was dedicated to shoot the actors in costumes on a complete chroma background with a stereo-camera. This will allow the creation of photoreal stereo-billboards that will be integrated in a full CG-environment. The second day of shooting was focused on full performance capture of the actors. Each equipped with 59 retro-reflective markers and an head-mounted iPhone X, the actors were able to perform the investigation plot (an interrogatory scene) with success. These data will later be used to animate the 3D models of the actors generated from the 3D scans. These full-CG models will be finally integrated in the same virtual environment.

Mocap with iPhone X Mocap

This pilot project will thus offer two different rendering modalities for real actors (stereo-bilboard and CG characters). The impact of both techniques will be studied through user studies with an eye on social presence and immersion.

New venues for capturing facial performance

New venues for capturing facial performance

We will soon start shooting cinematic content to be used for showcasing the technology developed by the VR-Together consortium. In this post, we bring some of the production effort developed at Artanim, which is currently exploring the use of Apple’s iPhone X face tracking technology in the production pipeline of 3D animations.

Facial mocap rig

The photos below show the iPhone X holding rig, and an early version of the face tracking recording tool that was developed by Artanim. The tool integrates with full body and hands motion capture technology from Vicon to allow the simultaneous recording of body, hands and face performance from multiple actors.

With the recent surge of consumer virtual reality, interest for motion capture has dramatically increased. The iPhone X and ARKit SDK from Apple integrate depth sensing and facial animation technologies, and are a good example of this trend. Apple’s effort to integrate advanced face tracking to their mobile devices may be related to the recent acquisition of PrimeSense and FaceShift. The former was involved in the development of the technology powering the first Kinect back in 2011, the latter is recognized for their face tracking technology, which is briefly showcased in the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. These are exciting times, when advanced motion tracking technologies are becoming ubiquitous in our life.

Image from the iPhone X keynote presentation from Apple