Power and Presence

Online exhibition, MA Game Design, Thursday 24.06.2021, from 5 pm.

Power and Presence explores meaningful and empowering interaction in virtual reality and how it can be implemented as game mechanics without breaking the feeling of being in another world.  A critical analysis of game design theories and how they need to be applied to VR is demonstrated through a game that uses phonetic interaction.

Oliver Sahli, research associate at the Immersive Arts Space and graduation student in Master in Game Design, will be showcasing his graduation project – POWER AND PRESENCE. The virtual exhibition and tour will take place via Zoom on Thursday, 24.06.2021 form 5pm an. Further information can be found here

Virtual Real World

Online exhibition, Master Game Design, 24.06.2021 from 5 pm.

In today’s VR games, the body often serves as the controller. However, when the player enters the virtual world, the connection to the physical environment is often lost. This master’s thesis deals with immersion mechanics in VR and reveals the potentials that arise when one’s own home can be integrated into the virtual world as a play area.

Chris Elvis Leisi, research associate in the Immersive Arts Space and graduate student in Master in Game Design, will be showcasing his graduation project – VIRTUAL REAL WORLD. The virtual exhibition and tour will take place via Zoom on Thursday, 24.06.2021 form 5pm an. Further information can be found here

black box fading

Copyright Meldoy Chua

Diploma performance MA Transdisciplinarity | Monday, 17.05.2021

black box fading, a performance for human, sensor-augmented flute (chaosflöte), and improvisation machine (AIYA), is an immersive experience that draws upon the performance interplay between human and machine to craft a narrative that manipulates perceptions of human-machine agency and human-machine interactions in a neosurrealist environment. The work is a hybrid setting between performance and installation, and between virtual reality and live events, where live reactive sounds and visual projections, shifting perceptions of space and scale, and unconventional 360° editing techniques contribute to the sensation of continuously negotiable dynamics between human and machine as well as the disruption of traditional performance hierarchies.

Crew

Melody Chua – concept, instrument, performance
Valentin Huber: cinematographer 360° camera
Eric Larrieux: sound engineer
Sébastien Schiesser: technical manager, IAS


Chimaera

Diploma Master Transdisciplinarity

The performance took place on March 20th, at 8pm in the Immersive Arts Space and was streamed live.

The use of human data in combination with computer algorithms creates a kind of post-human entity. In form of an improvisational dance performance, Chimaera explores the interaction between a performer and his avatar – a human-machine hybrid.

Crew

Bojan Milosevic (project leader, audio and video coding)
Petra Rotar (dance, choreography)
Carmen Stüssi (dramaturgy)
Patrick Müller (mentoring)
Tobias Baumann (support motion capture)
Eric Larrieux (support 3D sound)
Schiesser Sébastien (IAS technician)
Martin Fröhlich (support projection mapping)


Immersive Arts Space

The Immersive Arts Space is a university-wide art/tech lab that serves as a research, teaching and production platform. With innovative and multidisciplinary projects, the team of the IASpace conducts a technologically-supported artistic examination of digital immersion, mixed realities and the convergence of media-based and performative practices. The activities in the IASpace are oriented towards contemporary aesthetic and methodological directions in international design and art and are primarily based on artistic (practice-based) research.

The key areas of the Immersive Arts Space are motion capture, projection mapping, volumetric capture and spatial audio. The equipment is characterized by a juxtaposition of highly professional technology on the one hand and consumer products on the other. Open source software is an important aspect in the development of new projects.


Illuminated Flying Objects

Photo by Urs Berlinger ©ZHdK 2020

Interdisciplinary workshop with BA students (Z-module), Aug/Sept. 2020

Over the course of two weeks, groups of students from different art and design programs, conceived and constructed helium drones (airships or balloons with drone navigation control) and developed a spatial installation concept including a 3D sound design. The illumination of the helium drones is achieved either by remote controlled moving lights or by projection mapping. The movement of the drones is controlled by a computer-aided tracking system.

The Z-module with the German title Tanz der fliegenden Lichtobjekte resulted in a variety of exciting flying objects, including a large floating manta ray. The workshop is based on the findings and methods of the artistic research project Helium Drones.

Teaching staff:
Martin Fröhlich (Immersive Arts Space)
Roman Jurt (Design & Technology Lab)
Nadia Fistarol (MA&BA stage design)
Johannes Schütt (Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology)


Helium Drones

Photo by Lars Kienle, ZHdK ©2019

The Helium Drone project seeks to explore the aesthetic properties of installations based on floating devices that can autonomously navigate in space. In its complete state it will be a flocking swarm of diverse drones in different forms and shapes, each behaving in its individual way and interact with each other and the spectators on the ground. It will use the tracking system for location and navigation and the projection mapping system to wrap them into dynamically created ‘skins’.

A technological groundwork is laid out, with the goal to design a framework to quickly prototype and build helium drones with different shapes and propulsion concepts that integrate easily with the current technical setup of the IASpace. This involves the research for suitable materials and processes to build the floating volume, design of mechanical structures, electronics and network protocols, the evaluation and testing of motor and servos and the integration of motion and sensor data for autonomous flying capabilities (among many other things).

Involving many different skills, from designing and building physical structures to programming behaviors and creating interactive textures that are projected onto the creatures, it will be attractive to a wide spectrum of disciplines and a playground to experience multidisciplinary teamwork. There will also be an open source toolkit with instructions that can be made accessible to the public.

Photo by Lars Kienle, ZHdK ©2019

A spin-off of the Helium Drones project was presented at the REFRESH conference: A short performance with the title Floating in Dancing Lights.

CREW

Project lead, motion tracking, projection mapping: Martin Fröhlich
Robotics, motion control, sensor integration: Max Kriegleder
Micro-controller, networks, protocols: Joel Gähwiler
Materials, rapid prototyping, construction: Roman Jurt
Theory: Serena Cangiano


Home in the Distance

Home in the Distance is based on a short story, written by director and VFX artist Andreas Dahn when he was about 17 years old. In his residency at the Immersive Arts Space he made an animated short film and an interactive VR experience out of it, and applied unique methods of Virtual Production. In contrast to the traditional animation and VFX workflow, which is heavily based on storyboarding and previsualization, the conscious decision was made to leave out these steps, in order to find out if new technologies make it possible to create a more emotional and spontaneous film experience.  

Andreas Dahn first constructed the locations, his character and all other digital assets in 3D. With the help of Motion Capture technology he animated the complete story. And finally he shot the 2D film with a virtual camera that he operated in the 3D space with VR goggles. So, he literally shot the film in the virtual space. After the 2D film was finished, Andreas made an interactive VR experience based on the same 3D assets and the same story.

Andreas Dahn (writer and director) on the left, with Pascal Holzer (actor) on the right, during MoCap recording.

The character was sculpted by hand with dough and photogrammetry was used to create the virtual 3D model. Rigging was done with Human IK in Autodesk Maya. Students from the 3D Akademie Stuttgart helped to model the set and props. In addition, an actor`s performance was motion-captured with OptiTrack in the IASpace at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).

The camera work was done with a VR tool, developed by Mirko Lempert (Stockholm University ot the Arts) and Simon Alexandersson (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm) and rendered in realtime in Unity.

Shooting the 2D movie with a virtual camera in the virtual 3D space.

Crew at ZHdK
Cast: Pascal Holzer
Mocap coaching: Corinne Soland
Mocap recording: Norbert Kottmann
Further ZHdK support: Valentin Huber, Robin Disch, Marco Quandt, Lucien Sadkowski, Andreas Birkle, Chantal Haunreiter, Claudia Hürlimann, Thomas Gerber, Stefan Jäger,  Martin Fröhlich

ZHdK Residency
The residency at the Zurich University of the Arts has been made possible by the Ernst Göhner Foundation, Switzerland, as well as by additional support of the ZHdK film program (led by Sabine Boss) and by the Immersive Arts Space (led by Prof. Christian Iseli).

Crew at 3D Akademie Stuttgart
Props & set modeling & texturing: Gerrit Gaietto, Katharina Rodak, Kimberly Niesner Pierre Urbanek (Head of 3D Akademie)

Further crew members
Unity VR support: Mirko Lempert, Simon Alexanderson
Junior producer: Jana Günther
Assistent director: Aimée Torre Brons
Sound design: Luis Schöffend, Marc Fragstein
Title design: Timo Kreitz
Screenplay translation: Karen Ma
Special thanks: David Maas, Renate Schirrow, Ella Steiner, Felix Bucella, Alireza Sibaei, Astrid Weitzel 


Performance Capture Workshop

Neil Newbon and participants during the workshop. ZHdK © 2019

The UK based company Performance Captured Academy (PCAUK) was invited to introduce the basics of Motion and Performance Capture to the participants. Neil Newbon, Performance Capture Artist and Director together with his team gave an inspiring look into the possibilities of creating characters through body language. The participants got used to their tracked body movement, played with different somatic types and shapes and learned a new on set vocabulary. Creature work as well as basic walk cycles were part of the training.The workshop endend with a performance of Newbon at the Actor/Avatar conference, where he invited performers from the workshop to join in.

The technical setup included the motion capture tracking system, guaranteeing real time performance of up to eight virtual characters in virtual environments. Furthermore, a face performance tracking system was used with a face rigging software.

Cast & Crew
Performance Capture Mentor Team: Neil Newbon, Saleta Losada, Frazer Blaxland (PCAUK)
Motion Capture & Unity: Tobias Baumann, Norbert Kottmann, Benjamin Thoma, Oliver Sahli, Chris Elvis Leisi
Overall Support: Martin Fröhlich
Project Lead: Corinne Soland