Immersive experiences in extended reality (a term referring to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables, abbreviated as XR) are often inaccessible to the general public. However, the promising future of XR will bring the experience to smartphones, not just cumbersome and expensive virtual reality headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Quest. Although this is a technology-intensive project, much of the innovation lies in the mixed-reality space and user experience. Shefelman plans to use 5G and wifi web-based technology to bring the experience to viewers’ smartphones and tablets. The virtual experiential space will be created in 3D using powerful computers running 3D modeling and game engine software including Autodesk Maya, Unity, and Unreal Engine.
This project will be a culmination of Shefelman’s work as a professor and creative. The tools he will use will challenge and develop his technical and creative skills on the cutting edge of today’s entertainment and user experience industry. The 3D virtual space will include interactive elements that will respond to the viewer who can move around the 3D space to take in the museum that was.
Conducting this research has furthered Shefelman’s professional development as he is working in the space of purpose-driven gaming and animation studio projects. Shefelman will involve students and alumni in the project and bring the advanced creative technology and experiential innovation back into the classroom to further build the Visual Storytelling for Evolving Media concentration in the Illustration BFA program.