Sunday, April 3, 2016

Virtual University Library Project - part 1

I've started this project around the beginning of March but the idea appeared in my head in the last year. I think it may be the biggest project of my life. My goal is to create a library's beautiful virtual ceremonial hall, and at the end, my work will be compatible with VR technologies. Before my project, I didn't have any idea how to combine the two different fields: library and 3D computer graphics. I don't remember where this idea came from but I think it was a coincidence. Nevertheless, I want to tell you how I will create a virtual library in several blogposts.

I think there isn't another similar project of a virtual library anywhere in the world. Or if one exists, it must be out-of-date and made with technologies older than ten years. If you know about any up-to-date ones, please write me a comment below or e-mail me!

What is it and how did I start?

My project is about the University Library of Eötvös Loránd University which is in the capital city of Hungary, Budapest. Its whole ceremonial hall will be digitalised, and could be viewed with video game technologies. Virtual reality glasses will enhance the feeling. Firts of all, I made a virtual framework of the ceremonial hall of the library according to the pictures which can be found on the Internet. Then I contacted the library's director general, and showed my plan with pictures to her that contained my works' early stage. She liked it and helped me out with the blueprints of the library's building. It's an entirelly non-profit project, and when it is finished I'm going to place my work at the library's disposal for free. I cannot estimate how much time is required but I think it'll take one or two years because I make it all alone and I accept just minimal help or support.

Why is it important?

I assume my product would be very useful for the University Library. It might improve the library's marketing, and hopefully it will get much more financial aid from foreigners, too because this way they could get to know the University Library with VR technologies. They might want to travel to the library to see it with their own eyes. Beside foreigners, disabled people could also enjoy the opportunities granted by the VR technology, and get to know the well-known library's hall at firsthand (almost).

On the other hand, the CGI profession could gain appreciation of a cultural sphere because the 3D computer garphics art is not only for the film and videogame industry, but also for medical, archeology, cultural and other sciences, too.

Which softwares do I use?

For modelling, I use the Autodesk Maya and/or Blender software, for texturing Awesomebump and some image editor programmes, for sculpting Pixologic Zbrush and/or Autodesk Mudbox. Finally, I'll integrate my finished models into a VR environment, for which the video game developer software, Unreal Engine 4 is suitable because this technology gives me the opportunity to make my dream come true. Most of the graphics programmes have free educational or trial licenses, which are benefitial for me and my project. Hard surface modelling is very easy for me, but I think texturing (placing images and colorized surfaces on objects) will be the hardest and longest part of my work; however, I can cope with it.

Now, I will show you some pictures of my framework of University Library's ceremonial hall. I must make it absolutely clear that these aren't final because I have an intention of modifying the model.

Some of the reference photos:

I hope you like it. I'll continue my work as soon as possible. If you're curious to visit the library's site, here is the link in English.

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