Visit StickyLock

USF app augments Clearwater murals

With a new collaboration with the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, the Access 3D Lab and Advanced Visualization Center of the University of South Florida are assisting in the realisation of four artworks in central Clearwater.

The ARTours Clearwater mobile application, unique and the only one of its kind in the Tampa Bay area, gives users an interactive tour of the city combining virtual and augmented realities. Users of the app may enjoy art in a radically different way while taking pictures in the augmented reality environment.

The Downtown Clearwater Mural Program, in which the aforementioned four murals are included, seeks to revive the area by showcasing its burgeoning artist community.

According to Clearwater Community Redevelopment Agency director Jaye Matthews, using the engaging and original medium of augmented reality, which brings together the realms of technological innovation and artistic expression, ARTours Clearwater welcomes all to experience the beauty of the artworks in central Clearwater. Matthews said that establishing this relationship with USF and creating the ARTours app provides an uncommon window into an opportunity to engage with the heart of the urban neighborhood.

Using three 3D terrestrial lidar scanners, Access 3D director Laura Harrison and her colleagues spent a couple of days in the downtown area, capturing detailed dimensions of the paintings. Each scanner can take 976,000 readings per second and capture an item directly in front of, and above its mount.

According to Harrison, ingenious ways to integrate art, traditions, and innovation, include mediums like AR technology, which forces users to visit an actual location and create a memory there almost instantaneously.

A full-scale, 360-degree computer model of each of the artworks is built after the acquired information has been analysed in the lab. Access 3D’s grad student and research fellow, Kylie Dillinger, standardised the readings and removed unnecessary components, including 3D scanners, humans, and target objects. Dillinger said that the experience was like building a three-dimensional puzzle.

The task of creating the ARTours Clearwater application was subsequently given to Howard Kaplan, Advanced Visualization Center’s Associate Director, and his group. The team built sensors and monitors at certain locations on the artworks using Access 3D’s templates. The group imagined the walking path and narrative behind each artwork to include audiovisual components as well as dynamic 2D and 3D graphics that’d show at the predetermined spots. This was done in partnership with the city of Clearwater.

According to Kaplan, the partnership is one from which all parties involved can benefit. He said that the pupils were able to showcase both downtown Clearwater and USF’s expertise and cutting-edge innovation in a hands-on initiative.

During its debut in 2020, ARTours Clearwater had only Comunidad, a 100-foot fresco honoring women and racial diversity. The application was refreshed recently and released to the public once the whole mural journey was finished. According to Harrison, there is currently a lot of hope that this initiative may set a precedent for similar endeavors in Tampa Bay and abroad, involving digital culture and the humanities. He elaborated further, saying that he and his team consider the initiative to be an example of the next phase for digital antiquities and AR because of the manner in which it integrates storytelling with interesting technological features and general viewers.

One can download the free ARTours app and discover more about the Downtown Clearwater Mural Program.

Join the Discussion

Visit StickyLock
Back to top