Inside Las Meninas VR

What is it?

Las Meninas is a painting that was made by Diego Velazquez in 1656. It is considered by many to be one of the most important pieces in the realm of Art History.

Las Meninas - Wikipedia

One of the reasons for this is the mystery of how this painting may have been made. Velazquez is in the painting–the leftmost person, standing with a brush looking at the viewer. The prevailing idea so far has been that the painting was done from imagination.

We are recreating this painting in 3D and putting versions of the 3D model into Mozilla Hubs, which will allow people to view it in Desktop VR. We hope to try different configurations to see if, truly, the only way this painting could have been made was from imagination.

Who’s involved?

This project was brought to us by Professor Karol Kawiaka. Alaina Arnold, John Bell, and Kala Goyal have been the main people from our lab working to help implement it.

St. Paul’s Basilica VR Reconstruction

What is it?

St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome was originally a small church in the 4th century CE. It was expanded many times over the centuries, until it was destroyed by fire in the 19th century CE. It has been reconstructed and added to since.

Discover the Stunning Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome

Before the project was brought to us, 3D captures of the current basilica were taken, and different versions of the basilica were made based on artwork and blueprints from different time periods. An “on-rails” 3D experience had been made for people to see the basilica in VR.

We did some work editing a lot of the 3D models to be less computationally expensive; as lovely as 3D capture software is, it can often result in very “high-poly” 3D models, with millions of faces. We also developed a VR shell for it to allow people to move around in any direction, not “on rails”.

We are currently working on the User Interface and Experience of the Basilica: helping plan out what should be done and how to do it.

Who’s involved?

This project was brought to us by Professor Nicola Camerlenghi. Alaina Arnold, John Bell, Kala Goyal, and Lindsay Kusnarowis have been the main people from the lab working on this.