Nov 2, 2016 | By Alec

It’s no secret that 3D printers can be used to create gorgeous works of art, but a new artistic collaboration between HTC and the Royal Academy of Arts in London is now elevating the preceding CAD design phase to the podium as well. In January 2017, the Royal Academy will be displaying 3D printed artworks, and the VR surroundings in which they have been created, in the groundbreaking Virtually Real exhibition. All works were realized by Academy alumni Adham Faramawy and Elliot Dodd, and current student Jessy Jetpacks, who solely relied on the HTC Vive VR goggles. The Virtually Real exhibition can be found the Fine Rooms at the Royal Academy from 11 – 14 January 2017.

This groundbreaking exhibition will be one of the first events to actually showcase the relation between 3D printing and virtual reality using 3D printed results. Of course many VR developers have been claiming that their goggles can be used for intuitive and groundbreaking CAD design in mid-air, but many users were skeptical that this could actually yield high quality results. As this trio of Royal Academy students are now proving, this is certainly possible – with both the virtual and the (3D printed) physical forms being suitable for display.

What’s more we can expect a wide variety of artworks, as each artist has a very distinct background and artistic focus. Elliot Dodd (b.1978, Jersey) graduated from the Royal Academy earlier this year, and is especially focused on surfaces and techniques “which embody the spirit of the global techno-macho-man.” Fellow alumnus Adham Faramawy (b. 1981, Dubai), meanwhile, seeks to get the most out of media platforms, including moving images, sculptural installations and prints, “to discuss issues of embodiment and identity construction. Final year student Jessy Jetpacks (b. 1987, Dubai), finally, is a multi-disciplinary artist who previously sought to combine aspects from painting, sculpture, film, music, audio/video, and performance into art installations. Her themes and interests range “from the global political to the fundamental and private human condition; where advocacy, poetry and philosophy become bedfellows.”

While thus no strangers to different mediums, the artists were now given access to the groundbreaking HTC Vive platform. While slightly more expensive than the Oculus Rift ($799, while the Oculus Rift can be found for around $600), the HTC Vive prides itself on offering an unprecedented VR experience that includes real life graphics, true-to-life interactions and experiences, two wireless controllers with HD haptic feedback and 360° absolute motion tracking. What’s more, it collaborates with your smartphone’s essential features to allow for extensive interaction between the virtual and the physical world.

As a result, it should be a fantastic vehicle for design and art, and the three artists are able to use various applications to support their design efforts, including Google’s Tilt Brush painting app and 3D modeling tool Kodon. Aspects of their VR creations will subsequently be 3D printed by SuperHuge 3D printing using Hybrid Object Layer Manufacturing (OLM) 3D printing technology, with the results being exhibited alongside their VR creations.

This promises to be a revolutionary art exhibition, in which visitors can wear HTC Vive goggles to explore the works of art all around them and be fully immersed into the virtual experience. It should perfectly showcase the potential of VR in all forms, and will even allow for a work-in-progress process to be viewed for each and every artwork. As a final treat, visitors can even try their own hand at designing in VR using the HTC Vive goggles.

According to the Royal Academy’s Head of Fine Art Processes Mark Hampson, this 3D printing/VR project is also a perfect example of the type of high-tech art production the school seeks to promote. “We are delighted to be collaborating with HTC Vive on this innovative project, which will extend our knowledge into the relatively unchartered territories for works of art using virtual and digital means, offering us the chance to not only experiment with virtual head set technology but to become pioneers in the production of 3D sculptural forms created from virtually generated imagery,” he said. “The artists selected for this collaboration represent an emerging generation who are perfectly equipped to investigate the possibilities for an art rooted in the virtual world. Their use of hybrid approaches, that utilize both traditional and future forms, enables them to manipulate technologies both with and against their intended commercial functions. The work they produce will signpost us to unexpected future creative outcomes and new universes of artistic possibility, helping mold the identity of future art school creativity.”

HTC’s VR department, meanwhile, saw this as a perfect opportunity for underlining the potential of virtual reality – which goes far beyond gaming. This year sees virtual reality truly realizing its potential and being used in a huge array of fields – from medical, to travel and also gaming. This collaboration shows VR’s future as an art form and we’re proud to partner with such an established institution as the Royal Academy to achieve this world first,” said Jon Goddard, HTC’s Head of European VR Marketing. “We hope the project will allow visitors to see what can be achieved creatively when the virtual and physical worlds of art are combined, and hopefully be inspired themselves”.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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