Art Spotlight: Mutant Club

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Hi. My name is Miguelangelo Rosario. I am independent multi media artist and VR explorer. For more than 30 Years, I’ve created  designs for individual and public spaces like theatres, stages, clubs, events. I started 1986 with just an airbrush, the tools have changed a lot over the decades. Since 2013, I have used 3D and VR programs to create visual art. VR Cyberdelics and the CybARdelics To Go! have fans all over the world. Sketchfab is the platform to enable users to see my art in real time or VR. Most recently I am working on VR performances with programs like Tilt Brush and Gravity Sketch. The Mutant Club is a project, I did for “The Wrong” Biennale 2017.

A club for all those mutants living on the Internet-space where diversity reigns and the limits of consciousness are constantly being pushed. To celebrate integration, the club admits every form of posthuman life. In this Art Spotlight, I will show the development of the design in VR and the use of Sketchfab in the whole process.

The final app was build with three.js and built entirely with Gravity Sketch in virtual reality. No extra UV mapping applied. Using the UV as it is generated by GS. Sketchfab online editor made it easy to apply textures and lighting, and enabled me to visit the club in VR.

Prelude

I work a lot with VR tools like Tilt Brush and Gravity Sketch VR. I love to explore the possibilities to use VR for art and design process. For a couple of weeks I did tests with Gravity Sketch VR for building entire rooms. One of the powerful features of GS is the curved surface tool. One of the models was the “Nurbs Club”. It caught the attention of digital art curator Enrique Salmoiraghi. He approached me asking if I would like to build the Mutant Club for The Wrong (Biennale). The code is to follow its own personal style and be open to meeting a variety of humanoids, avatars, aliens and any kind of digital lifeform who are welcome to party in this cyber happening. That was the first description of what he had in mind.

Enrique sent me this concept sketch with the first rough idea for form and distribution of mutants and art.This was the model that caught Enrique’s attention, originally called the “Nurbs Club”. I felt honored and challenged by the task and slipped into my Vive.

Design Process

With this model, I tried to find basic shapes and to create a mood of party. It was way to heavy to be used for the app, but already had an organic form I liked. I added a dancer to get an impression of how it would look with motion. The DJ desk with a holographic screen will be used in the club.

Another early design of the building. It looked too much like a real club and would have been fine for an architectural visualization but not for a club for mutants. Using MatCap metal and ambient occlusion.

Final Gravity Sketch Model

After I immersed myself in the models in VR, the form started to take shape.

The DJ UFO was moved to the back. Now the entrance is shaped like an M. Because it’s intended to be filled with both art and dancing mutants I decided to build different areas for exploration.

From the early tests I had an idea of which normalmaps I would use to create a spacy look.

I avoided brushes and complicated geometry, because it was important to keep the polycount low. This is the basic geometry, that is used for the club. It is built entirely in VR with Gravity Sketch VR. Most of the shapes were created with the curved surface tool. This tool allows to manipulate the control points and edit the shapes until the desired form.

Three more models where needed and uploaded to Sketchfab to refine the design and communicate about details. Each model was inspected in VR with an Oculus and WebVR via Chromium. Also the final model was uploaded as a world to VR Chat, to be able to meet with the other artists and chat about details in the design.

To test the possible normal maps I have set the rendermode in the 3D editor to MatCap and use a light grey with some ambient occlusion. I set the normal maps high to get an exaggerated contrast.

First idea for texturing and lighting. I am still not happy with the look…it’s too textured, and does not interact with the viewer in the way I wanted. It needs to be more psychedelic, more my style.

This one is to illustrate the use of emission and transparencies for the volumetric lights.

Final Model

Using Sketchfab during the creation process helped  a lot in terms of communication between me and Federico Marino, who was translating everything to three.js. We decided to see if we could figure out how to use the MatCap effect for the app. In VR, I liked the unusual and psychedelic MatCaps, how the model surface interacts with the view was impressive and an effective way to keep realtime render cost low and allowing for ever-changing images. The psychedelic effect is very strong in VR because the surfaces schimmer with every movement of the head. This isn’t as apparent in the app although it’s still somewhat effective.To do quick tests of my normal and MatCap library I used this spherical normal mapping toolWith this and the Sketchfab 3D editor, I selected a set of normal maps and MatCap materials, that would enhance the overall ScI FI look and of cause with my usual psychedelic touch.

Using Sketchfab for the whole process was essential, to make the models available for exploration on the monitor or in VR. Using the first person view simulated perfectly the navigation for the app in three.js. The communication between the participating artists could be very specific. Changes in texturing and lighting could be realized and checked in VR within minutes. I thank the Sketchfab team for the great support and all the excellent features of the editor and the viewer.

Bonus Model

The Mutant Club found the attention of Jashan Chittesh from Narayana Games, the developer of the VR  game “Holodance VR” and after a few self-taught lessons in Unity, I was able to prepare the model for the game. Now it is a level in the party mode of the game. Maestro Billy, sound designer and music producer, composed the groovy tune for this level.

At the AWE in Munich I could even play my level in mixed reality 

Find all the models and some dancing mutants in this collection:

Facebook

VR-Area-42

Mr. Cyberdelics

Holodance-VR

Soundcloud

P.S: If you want to know, how to get there, I highly recommend visiting the Mutant Club in VR 

About the author

Miguelangelo Rosario

Since 30 Years i create artistic design for individual and public spaces: Stages, Clubs, Events. Starting 1986 with an airbrush, the tools have changed a lot over the decades. Since 2013 i learn/use 3D to create visual art for projections and multimedia.


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