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Proceedings Paper

The use of virtual reality to reimagine two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional spaces
Author(s): Elaine Fath
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Paper Abstract

A familiar realm in the world of two-dimensional art is the craft of taking a flat canvas and creating, through color, size, and perspective, the illusion of a three-dimensional space. Using well-explored tricks of logic and sight, impossible landscapes such as those by surrealists de Chirico or Salvador Dalí seem to be windows into new and incredible spaces which appear to be simultaneously feasible and utterly nonsensical. As real-time 3D imaging becomes increasingly prevalent as an artistic medium, this process takes on an additional layer of depth: no longer is two-dimensional space restricted to strategies of light, color, line and geometry to create the impression of a three-dimensional space. A digital interactive environment is a space laid out in three dimensions, allowing the user to explore impossible environments in a way that feels very real. In this project, surrealist two-dimensional art was researched and reimagined: what would stepping into a de Chirico or a Magritte look and feel like, if the depth and distance created by light and geometry were not simply single-perspective illusions, but fully formed and explorable spaces? 3D environment-building software is allowing us to step into these impossible spaces in ways that 2D representations leave us yearning for. This art project explores what we gain--and what gets left behind--when these impossible spaces become doors, rather than windows. Using sketching, Maya 3D rendering software, and the Unity Engine, surrealist art was reimagined as a fully navigable real-time digital environment. The surrealist movement and its key artists were researched for their use of color, geometry, texture, and space and how these elements contributed to their work as a whole, which often conveys feelings of unexpectedness or uneasiness. The end goal was to preserve these feelings while allowing the viewer to actively engage with the space.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 March 2015
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9392, The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 2015, 93920C (17 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2083548
Show Author Affiliations
Elaine Fath, Indiana Univ., Bloomington (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9392:
The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 2015
Margaret Dolinsky; Ian E. McDowall, Editor(s)

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