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The Animation in VR workshop, held from October 30 to November 2, 2023, at the LUCA School Of Arts campus in Genk, was designed to address specific research questions. This workshop was one of four planned to refine the format through student feedback and observations on project stylization. I conducted this third session during the Toolkit workshop week at the LUCA campus C-mine in Genk, Belgium.

To guide the students, I developed an example scene inspired by a personal memory, illustrating how to create an immersive scene in Quill. Students were tasked with recalling a personal memory and translating it into a short animated scene, which minimized time spent on concept creation and scripting.

The workshop focused on entry-level virtual animation, utilizing Quill’s unique features. These include recording animations through physical actions with VR controllers and using the animated brush to animate while a sequence is playing. The aesthetic embraced the typical Quill style, characterized by low-poly, somewhat crude visuals.

Instructional examples included simple animated trees, fire, falling leaves, and jumping animations. The goal was to pitch the Virtual Memory concept to students, providing a tool for quick concept generation that could later be developed into an immersive expo. This approach directed students’ attention towards creating a specific aesthetic suitable for VR animation.

Example of the content used during the workshop.

I demonstrated the process by importing an example piece into Unreal Engine and rendering it with the game’s lighting effects, achieving a style that balances abstraction and realism. However, due to time constraints, this technique was not taught in the workshop.

Despite the streamlined format, many basic techniques required teaching, which meant students needed more time to familiarize themselves with the VR tool. As a result, the workshop only partially achieved its goal of allowing students to explore and impose their own style. Most projects ended up with a typical ‘Quill’ style, minimalist and stylized, confirming comments often made on the Quill Discord channel.

Student results.

This generic aesthetic can be enhanced by combining other techniques, such as using render engines or game engines for advanced lighting and materials. I believe that these combinations hold the greatest potential for stylistic innovation within the medium. This realization affirmed the direction of my ongoing projects, including the development of the Anamorphotrope installation.