Grains of Recollection: A Unique VR Experience

Project partners: Studio McGuire and the University of York

Hull-based media art specialists Studio McGuire utilised funding from XR Stories to develop their upcoming project, Grains of Recollection.

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Founded by Davy and Kristin McGuire, Studio McGuire’s award-winning multimedia artists are renowned for their idiosyncratic experiments in digital projection and storytelling. Their critically acclaimed theatrical projects have been invited to tour more than one hundred venues in twenty-three different countries across four continents.

Grains of Recollection is a VR experience that guides the audience through the fragile memories of Marie – a model maker who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. As the story progresses, this delicate universe becomes more and more fragmented and the world that looked so detailed, perfect, and pristine suddenly starts to crumble, blur, unfold and rip apart.

To deliver the project, Studio McGuire collaborated with academics from the University of York and hosted an intern, Anthony, who helped them develop the VR prototype in Unreal Engine.

Viewers take an epic journey through a universe made entirely of paper. They are ‘miniaturised’ into a realm in which paper buildings tower above them and paper forests stretch into the distance. They are surrounded and enveloped by this world, and are able to move through it in both 360 and 6 degrees of freedom in order to discover a story.

Studio McGuire have explored various methods to transpose a paper model aesthetic into virtual-reality in order to replicate its elegant, exquisite and imperfect quality as realistically as possible. They researched various techniques ranging from photogrammetry, miniature stereoscopy, 3D scanning, 3D modelling and texturing, physical paper model making, and virtual and real-world lighting, to discover the most suitable methods and workflows for this project.

The R&D project enabled the team at Studio McGuire to create a VR experience concept that could be developed into a full production in the future.

This project was funded through the OpenXR funding call.

Categories: Arts, Technology