Blender Virtual Exhibit Planner

A view of the Sala della Racchetta

The present project explores the possibility to build a Virtual Exhibitor using Blend4Web; a solution that can be useful for galleries and museums as an operative tool to plan an exhibit, to create a virtual interactive 3D environment and/or to document a temporary exhibition as a historical resource for museologists and researchers.
Recently, a set of 17 rooms of the Caserta Royal Palace have been turned into a space for hosting temporary exhibitions, with the first one, Terrae Motus, started in June 2016. These rooms and their prospected use offered an opportunity as a case study for the development of a Virtual Exhibitor with a two phases implementation process.
  • During the first phase, a simple virtual environment was developed for presenting the actual set up of the exhibition with the possibility to navigate and interact with it on-line (HERE a not yet official version of the application). Building 3D models of temporary exhibitions gives to cultural institutions a way for keeping a memory of the event, a more performing documentation of the exhibits and providing also educational material for museum studies and researchers.

  • The second phase, instead, foresees the development of an Exhibit Editor, enabling to position objects, move in the gallery and saving the different set-up hypotheses.
  • For this phase, curators could set the work of art in the space, on the walls, or imagine the building of structures that can be set up very fast in the 3D model, in order to have the taste of the exhibition, and arrange, rearrange and perfect the exhibition in the desired way.
    Using an approach similar to previous work Pizza Designer, a previous work of ours, the exhibit editor was conceived as a customized version of Blender, where the user finds the exhibit space already prepared and it is able to add, remove and position artworks and partitions for furnishing the environment and hanging art. For this purpose, the Blender user interface will be heavily customized in order to allow a limited set of features, and thus to be easily used by people without a previous experience of cad and 3D modeling.
    The 3D planner provides two different point of views: an overall visualization from the top, useful to drag and drop artworks, and a first person point of view, in order to simulate the visitor experience. The planner automatically provides artwork illumination and accounts for the natural light incoming from windows, and can give an accurate preview of the overall lighting by using “Cycles” and a "one-clik" texture baking feature. At the end of the planning, the Exhibition-Curator is able to evaluate its work in term of spatial relations among visitors and artworks, artworks and nearby artworks, and artworks and the surrounding space.

    Technical information:

    Production crew, historians and coordinators:

    Artistic and technical crew:

    Sample stills from the application:

    A view from above of the Sala della Racchetta with its virtual set-up

    A snapshot from the browser,during development,
    showing how the painting colours and the environment lighting interact.

    The yellow dots on the floor can be tapped to move the camera position easing the navigation from smartphones.

    The information tooltips link to the pages providing more details on each artwork

    made with Blender