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Technology

Virtual space provides the opportunity for infinite growth potential. Where physical galleries are constrained by both the availability of space and high costs associated with their ownership, digital space can be developed and operated with a fraction of the costs. The virtual world offers minimum overhead, maximum penetration, and content availability to the largest possible audience. While museums like the various Smithsonian locations can collectively host up to 30 million people a year, Minecraft and League of Legends are able to host upwards of 90 million users a month. Compatible with HTC’s Vive, Steam VR, Microsoft VR and Facebook’s Oculus, our service is capable of reaching the widest possible audience.

3D Imaging

Digital imaging technology is relatively new and has only recently become a reliable way of creating 3D assets from real world objects. Advancements in laser, infrared, and modulated light scans are able to create digital replicas of objects that are far too detailed to even be usable currently in digital space assuring that we are future proofing our exhibits for the graphical capabilities of the future. Our archival approach captures not only color and shape, but texture and material properties to create a whole object solution that can be easily and readily deployed.

Scanning and Digital Preservation

Digital Preservation is of crucial importance for the lifetime and distribution of physical works. Some prominent groups such as UNESCO World Heritage Organization and the Smithsonian have embraced this approach for archival reasons that are largely not viewable by the public. Creating perfect digital replicas not only allows us to greatly increase viewership but also to have a template should the need arise to restore or identify the original work. By using depth sensing cameras in conjunction with a series of non-contact active cameras that use infrared light-emitting diodes attached to the scanner which are seen by the
cameras through filters providing resilience to ambient lighting. This technique allows us to capture incredibly detailed archival quality digital meshes. These works are then scaled to recreate the actual assets that function within the current digital environment.


 

Virtual Reality
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Unreal Engine and Virtual Reality

We built Terra on Epic’s Unreal Engine due to its ability to realistically render and illuminate objects in real time. Networking capabilities allow for ease of creation, distribution, and maintenance. The ability to handle large and frequent content updates and the relatively large pool of skilled developers provide future proofing for our technical backbone. Unreal Engine has been used by large studios in its 20 year career. Longevity is an important consideration when choosing an engine. This engine has active updates, active support, and active community, which are all necessary to the success of our project. Terra is best served by this industry leader that has continuously innovated and made their engine free for nonprofit use.

Digital gallery space allows us to gather and utilize user data efficiently by giving us a sense of what the public enjoys viewing. We gather anonymized user data only for the purposes of tracking art installation popularity, active user counts, better placement of galleries and exhibits, and understanding how to create spaces designed for maximum engagement. We will also use this data in the creation of publicly accessible reports on these subjects.

Data Analysis

 
Terra Virtualis Virtual Art Gallery Statistics Validated
Terra Virtualis Virtual Art Gallery Statistics Validated
Cost Considerations

Without having nearly any of the costs of maintaining a physical collection, and the relatively few people to protect and maintain an infinitely large virtual space, we can engage substantially more people with the art world in an unprecedented cost effective manner. An all-digital approach reduces cost by 88-90% while allowing aggressive expansion and fruitful partnerships. Inherently, physical galleries and museums are burdened by substantial annual expenses for structural costs, maintenance, warehouse, utilities, operations, material, personnel, and security. The large carbon footprints don’t exist in a VR implementation. Virtual spaces enable us to deliver fine art experiences at a sustainable cost financially and environmentally.

 

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