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Students of Franklin Regional use VR consoles for creating virtual art

Franklin Regional students can now effectively walk into their artworks, owing to a grant offered by the FR Panther Foundation.

The FR Panther Foundation pumped in a grant of $6,300 to facilitate the purchase of two HTC Vive virtual reality (VR) consoles for the students. The VR consoles are being utilised by the organisation’s art teacher Denielle DeSantis during her classes.

DeSantis spoke regarding the development, stating that the institute, prior to getting the high-end headset consoles, was limited to observing digital art forms in strictly two-dimensional form. She explained that 2D reality, stating that students could not penetrate into the layers of whatever art form they were creating.

16-year-old Junior JoJo Huczko, was witness to a breathtaking experience involving immersive technology art during February 11. She really enjoyed the freedom of being able to traverse along the branches of a digital tree which was painted, and also animated by her. Huczko could add certain details to the tree bark and identify different angles for observing animated ribbons that hung from the tree roots.

Sharing her account of the VR experience Huczko stated that the development allowed great freedom in terms of what they could imagine and do. She likened the experience as people being able to enter a space and fundamentally creating a world around them.

DeSantis came upon the HTC Vive virtual reality (VR) console while taking a trip to Chicago, where she discovered a demo model of the console.

She revealed her experience of discovering even more about the virtual reality console and how she realised that it was becoming quite a mainstay across art schools. This prompted DeSantis to consider the implementation of this technology to help Franklin Regional students enhance their innovative potential.

The setup consists of two minute cubes perched up on the classroom wall. These two cubes are used for the purpose of tracking the movements of a pair of handheld controllers. One of the controllers enables individuals to choose from various art tools. The other one can be utilised to paint on the canvas. The two controllers can be utilised simultaneously for performing forward and backward motion within virtual reality environments.

Desantis explained that the entire setup is quite intuitive and ideal for those who carry a bit of knowledge regarding Photoshop and paint brush presets.

Huczko required several sessions for getting habituated to the technology. She utilised those sessions to gain proficiency in understanding tool switching. Huczko took almost three sessions, each lasting 40 minutes, to create her tree artwork. Speaking regarding the development she hoped that her creation would draw more eyeballs as it was quite dynamic.

The consoles can be used by two students simultaneously. Yet, all the students will be assigned tasks to create their respective reality-oriented or fictional worlds.

Projects worked on by the students and the Vive consoles used to complete them will be showcased during the fundraiser event of the FR Panther Foundation’s 2019 Festival of the Arts on April 4.

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