Welcome to the MediaVerse

MediaVerse: Democratizing VR content creation for artists

Cultural organizations are under extreme pressure as visitor admissions in cultural spaces have been diminished due to the coronavirus pandemy. Cultural heritage (CH) institutions, galleries, and artists have to find alternative ways to attract audiences. One way to deal with the crisis is through the emerging 3D technologies. Digital innovation can help towards various goals such as education, dissemination, and monetization of artistic creations and can potentially lead into a sustainable digital product. As technology progresses, virtual experiences become part of societal life. This does not only mean that people spend more time in virtual experiences such as 3D games, AR apps, and VR immersive games, but also seek the reflection of virtual experiences in each part of their lives, including traditional media. Art and CH in general need also to conform with this ‘virtual reality’ norm so as not to risk losing part of their audience. Museums, galleries, and other stakeholders in CH are in need of tools that will allow their content to be consumed through virtual experiences such as games, VR, AR and blended versions of them, so as to attract their audience. Digital platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook have realized this need and offer tweaks such as live facial AR masks, aging filters, and graphic overlays. Yet, their capabilities and operation is fully controlled by central authorities. To address this, MediaVerse aims to decentralize 3D media creation and promotion.

MediaVerse is aiming towards this goal with several scenarios

Providing to media creators the means to promote their 3D creations by allowing them to insert their 3D models in their personal site

WordPress is among the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) that creators use to promote their content but it does not provide the capability of visualizing 3D models. On the contrary Three.js is the most popular framework for visualizing 3D models on the Web but it relies on coding. Motivated by the above, we investigate the possibility of automating the visualization of 3D models in WordPress by allowing the upload, configuration, and visualization of 3D models on the front-end of WordPress sites without coding. In the following example we present various scenarios in the context of visualizing scientific and more specifically biological information. Below is the Aluminum Oxide. It is a 3D model in PDB format (Protein Database Format). The asset has been uploaded with the interfaces of the MediaVerse VRodos plugin and visualized through its VRodos 3D widget (https://vrodos.iti.gr). The visualization widget allows to configure the position of the 3D model, the CSS style, and lock some properties, e.g. the Pan of the 3D model so that the users can not move the model out of scope and deteriorate the experience.

The VRodos 3D widget is also able to visualize FBX (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBX) and GLB (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GlTF) 3D models with full textures such as the GLB model of COVID19 below. The virus is cut artificially in order to demonstrate its interior RNA sequence it carries. Coronaviruses contain single-stranded RNA genome. The genome size for coronaviruses ranges from 26.4 to 31.7 kilobases. The genome size is one of the largest among RNA viruses.

The FBX and GLB files can support animation and sound as the clickable Wind Turbine on the right demonstrates. Exploiting the CSS, the 3D model can also be in a fixed (sticky) position irrespectively of scrolling, over text or below text. The sound is 3D, so if you zoom out you will hear the sound fade out.

Allowing media creators to become independent from central repositories by providing means to assemble their own repository of 3D models and metadata information

The VRodos plugin allows artists to make their own a repository within WordPress for managing their assets. In this manner, they become independent of central repositories and they can visualize their content in their selected context.

Interconnection with existing (AS-IS) scenarios through a REST API

Artists are shifting into programming. They can have their own AR/VR applications developed with Godot, Unity, Unreal, Vuforia and other graphics engines. Their creations need content. We examine the case that the content can be retrieved through APIs. For example this link retrieves the information of the GLB model of the MediaVerse Logo on the top of this webpage together with any related metadata (711 is the number of the 3D asset in the database). In the future the API will fetch content in semantically defined entities such as ‘scenes’ and ‘projects’ which are sets of 3D assets.

API  Call

 

https://vrodos.iti.gr/wp-json/wp/v2/media?parent=711

Digital Labels as a means to promote artistic work

The art has to be promoted in cultural organizations. Artists and museums are interconnected entities. A custom Android wrapper is being developed that allows to visualize and lock an Android tablet to the asset previewer interface which can be used in POIs (Points of Interest) as a digital signage device. Of particular interest is the accessibility of information in terms of linguistic, educational and disability level.

Higher level hierarchy of assets into Scenes and Projects

3D models have interconnections. Contextualization in a single space makes them more precious, educative, and thus useful. The 3D technology that is being developed allows to drag and drop assets into 3D scenes. Several scenes can constitute a project. These are the basic entities that correspond to almost every game or any 3D experience. By defining this structure the content becomes ready for export in other applications or it can be viewed as a VR experience.

Open source availability

You can find VRodos plugin in Github