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The Tech Behind VR Movie: Tianjin University Researchers Integrate Art with VR Technology

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Half-Hundred Mirrors,a Chinese mainland movie using 3D immersive virtual reality (VR) technology, has been selected to display in the VR Theater at the 24thBusan International Film Festival (BIFF), one of the world’s most eye-catching movie ceremonies begun in 1996. Doctor Han Dong from Tianjin University as the chief technical director led his team and developed the VR technology for the film.

Directed by Yu Hong, an artist and a college professor from the Department of Oil Painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA),Half-Hundred Mirrorswas a VR film with a storyline inspired by Professor Yu Hong’s 32 paintings which shows a girl’s life from her birth to childhood and eventually towards maturity. It is the only Chinese mainland film that has made its way to BIFF’s VR Theater Session along with 40 other films from 12 countries and regions like the U.S, Japan, Canada, England, South Korea, etc.

It took Han Dong’s team half a year to finish the film in which they employed advanced technologies such as digital collecting, computer graphic (CG) modeling, a VR engine, and human-computer interaction (HCI). While keeping the original characters and even the brush strokes in the paintings, the film tells the stories with 3D models accompanied by animation, visual and sound effects in a luminous environment, transforming the static paintings into a VR film that is immersive and interactive. It is an innovative way to integrate art and VR technology.

In a VR film, a three-dimensional environment is generated using a computer system and sensor technology. A brand-new method of human-computer interaction will be created in such an environment, which can simulate human senses including vision, auditory sensation and tactile sense so as to make the audiences immerse themselves in a virtual world.

An audience can take a 360° look around when he “walks into” the movie scene. As internet speeds get faster and VR hardware application becomes more universal, greater progress will be made in VR film making to achieve a truly immersive viewing experience for the viewers.

Han Dong and his team members have long devoted themselves to research on museum digital displays, VR&AR interactive content, and ancient construction roaming. The filmHalf-Hundred Mirrorsis a meaningful exploration for them in the field of digital media art.

By Qin QI

Editors: Eva Yin & Doris Harrington