Imagine being able to see art and cultural sites from around the world, not just on the small screen of your phone or home monitor, but in an immersive and dynamically playful space. A group of Boise State students and faculty from the Computer Science and GIMM departments are hoping to make this happen in the Keith and Catherine Stein Family World Museum. The World Museum will be part of the new Fine Arts building currently under construction on campus and the idea behind it is to digitize places, monuments, cultural sites, and works of art from around the world enabling anyone to experience them.
A team of four students, two professors, and BSU's art curator recently traveled to Los Angeles and San Francisco to capture content for the museum. The trip served a few purposes. Firstly, students captured content that they’ll work on this summer to create the experiences. Secondly, the team wanted to experiment with how to structure the content creation process and flow of content to the museum. They hope to put an easy process in place so that other institutions will be able to bring content they would like to share. The goal is to have a collaborative platform with a number of institutions to share and receive immersive content.
So what did they capture on their trip? Students partnered with Manuel Aguilar-Moreno, Professor of Art History at Cal State LA; they were able to digitize a small part of the Ruwet, Glass and Nicholson Collection of mesoamerican study-facsimiles; the original codices can only be seen in person by traveling to Mexico City, Mexico, Dresden, Germany, and Florence, Italy. There are 7,000 plus books housed there, and the team was able to capture around 20! The imagery will be part of the World
Museum library, but these captures can also be given to students in various classes to learn from. For example, students can view the fine details which can help from a training standpoint. In San Francisco, teams partnered with San Francisco Art Institute to capture Diego Rivera’s The Making of Fresco Showing the Building of a City, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden. They shot 8k video footage with one of the GIMM’s 360 cameras and stereoscopic panoramas with Computer Science rigs.
Now comes the real work. The students will be working with the content this summer to get the experiences completed. They’ll learn a range of skills, including digital photography, 3D content creation, graphics coding, virtual reality testing, and have multiple graphics projects under their belts.
The Fine Arts building is slated to open August 2019, and we can’t wait to experience the world museum and all the amazing content that is being created for it!