A social VR experience where the body becomes a vehicle for expression within majestically drawn worlds.
Metamorphic is a social VR experience where participants explore the ephemeral nature of the self by confronting their bodies as potential sites of discovery and creativity. Movement and play shape appearances and surroundings through a series of majestically drawn worlds. It creates opportunities to connect with no preconceptions, opening up new possibilities for participants to understand their bodies as vehicles for change and expression.
In order to achieve the particular look and feel of the experience, we created a drawing engine that consists of a pipeline to package 3D drawing information from applications like Quill and import them into the Unity game engine, where the art is recreated dynamically in real-time. The drawing attributes include information like brush type, position, width and time, which allow recreating an identical copy of the work, both in time and space. The participants can see the art come together in the same way it was originally drawn. These drawing attributes are packaged in the widely used FBX format, therefore no custom importers are necessary. The art is seen by the software as a standard 3D model, which allows features of the FBX format to be applied to it, like skinned meshes and bone weights.
All of this allows total customization of the artwork for a dynamic and interactive experience, where players feel like they are inside the artwork. Elements of the world can draw in as a reaction to participant actions, drawn avatars are retargeted onto humanoid rigs, which the participants themselves embody, and brush strokes unravel when the player approaches them, as an innovative approach to handling the near clipping plane. The entire rendering engine also runs concurrently on the GPU, making it lean and highly efficient.
- Created by: Matthew Niederhauser, Wesley Allsbrook, Elie Zananiri, and John Fitzgerald
- Art Director: Wesley Allsbrook
- Technology Director: Elie Zananiri
- Music by: Tim Fain
- Producers: Matthew Niederhauser, John Fitzgerald, La-Râ Hinckeldeyn, Sebastian Herscher
- Developers: Elie Zananiri, Siyuan Qiu
- Technical Consultants: Jimmy Gass, Michael Dunkley, Nick Couret-Chailoux
- Motion Capture: Todd Bryant, Grant Ng
- Character Rigger: Rakib Sharkar
- Produced by: Sensorium
- Production Support: The Mill, Parallux, RLab, 368, DevLab
- Sundance Festival
New Frontier at The Ray, Park City, USA
23 Jan - Feb 2 Jan 2020
It’s just gorgeous. The world (which was drawn in VR art application Quill) is an impressionist painting come to life. Your body is stripped down to something like a living circulatory system made of slender, animated brush strokes. It would probably work on home VR headsets, but like movies that should only be seen in theaters, it benefits a lot from the gravitas of a physical installation with another human being in the same space.
– Sundance VR and AR got extremely weird in 2020 - The Verge, Feb 7 2020.
“Metamorphic” took me to another plane, far away from the hullabaloo of Sundance, and directly into a carefully crafted adventure.
– Nickel Review: 5 Categories, 5 Words Virtual Reality Review of “Metamorphic” – Nick Candido, Feb 28 2020.