A media producer’s dream: Production rooms, scores of equipment from cameras to software suites, 3D printing, virtual reality headsets, and everything in between; all freely available to students and patrons. While impressive, the W.E.B Du Bois Library’s Digital Media Lab (DML) equipment was starting to become constrained by the spacing of the facilities. With this intention, Dr. Steve Acquah, Coordinator of the Du Bois Library, expanded the DML to the basement of the library.
However, the new DML and its state-of-the-art facilities must promote to students and staff alike. What better way to generate attention for the facilities and the actual VR equipment than in a state-of-the-art virtual tour using the same tools that the library advertised?
We gathered reference material, including pictures, 360° photographs, and floor plans. As the existing facilities were being constructed, Interactiva used the floor plans with the current layout to extrapolate the result of the DML. The actual 3D structure was built using a combination of Archviz techniques and Interactiva’s proprietary engine. It took over three weeks to develop the virtual environment from the ground up.
The visualization took users through a free-guided tour of the DML virtual world–it was as easy as approaching a Point of Interest using the arrow keys on PC and touch controls on mobile devices. Since there was no exterior, we could focus the detail on the DML’s clearly defined boundaries and use performance optimization techniques such as Occlusion Culling that permitted us to achieve such a stunning level of realism with real-time computer graphics. The Interactiva engine also includes a proprietary algorithm that lets the experience up-and-downscale to a specific user device. If it detects a low-end phone, it will lower the graphical fidelity, so the experience runs smoothly, and vice versa with higher-end hardware.
The result was a carefully crafted photorealistic virtual tour. We were proud as this was one of the first projects that let us almost completely streamline our development process, cutting both development time and costs considerably. The W.E.B Du Bois Library featured the DML Virtual tour as its marketing campaign’s primary promotional material, which helped attract a 76% increase in patrons year on year.