Manchester International Festival 2021

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The artist's work, visible semi-obscured by the star field

In collaboration with MIF (Manchester International Festival) and Tai Shani's, I had the privilege of developing a captivating virtual experience that complemented the artist's work within MIF's expansive Virtual Factory platform.

At the heart of this project was the creation of a microsite that showcased nine episodes of Shai's digital, video-based artwork. The challenge was to seamlessly integrate this microsite into the existing Virtual Factory online platform, which had previously featured exhibitions from various other artists.

Video canvas displaying the artist's work

Progression of hut model, from GLB to point cloud

MIF envisioned a three-dimensional environment where users could explore the artist's works by panning through them and eventually finding themselves in front of a captivating video canvas. To achieve this, we had to convert the artist's intricate models into extremely low file size GLBs while optimizing them for the web. However, the initial approach proved to be taxing on loading times. To overcome this challenge, we devised a solution where we used a single model's vertices as positions for points, merging them into an exterior point cloud. This approach significantly improved performance while maintaining the desired visual impact.

Using perlin noise to create point cloud clusters

To fulfill the artist's wish for a star field effect, I implemented a point cloud using Perlin noise instead of random placement. This technique not only made the placement of vertices feel more organic, but it also created clusters of vertices at specific levels of noise detail and octaves. The positions of the cloud's vertices were generated once during page load, allowing us to animate the entire cloud in a computationally viable manner.

The hut floating in the middle of the point cloud

To enhance the overall aesthetic, I employed a bloom/glowing effect. By applying a shader that specifically affected the point cloud while leaving the video canvas untouched, I was able to achieve the desired visual impact, adding a touch of enchantment to the experience.

The result of this collaboration is a mesmerizing virtual experience that seamlessly integrates into MIF's Virtual Factory platform. I invite you to explore the microsite and immerse yourself in the artist's captivating digital world. Should you have any questions or wish to discuss potential collaborations, please don't hesitate to reach out. Let's create extraordinary experiences together.

Close up of the vertices on the hut's point cloud

(c) 2023