While brainstorming project ideas, the group was set on creating a programmatic art project because we believed that our software engineering and artistic skills would create an innovative and meaningful final product. However, we soon realized that most of our programmatic art pieces (shown in the images below) were very idle and seemingly boring for anyone who didn't have the pleasure of creating them. In this moment, however, one of the team members (Joshua Ahn) had the idea of creating a VR experience in which the user could view our artworks in a more realistic way. From this moment onwards, another team member (Lucas Mantovani) decided to build a museum using his skills in Unreal Engine to create a map that could store the art made by Jackson Brouwer, Gerard Beck, and Joshua Ahn, who developed amazing Python images and GIFs.

What it does

The 3D first-person/VR Unreal project allows the user to view all of our artworks as if they were visualizing them in a Persian futuristic-styled museum that has a beautiful view to the adjacent futuristic and Persian cities.

How we built it

All of the artworks (except for the "Surprised Skeleton" / "Apotheosis" created by Lucas Mantovani in HTML and CSS) were made with Python (including the 3D dragon and horse). The museum was built with Unreal Engine while also using the free "City of Brass" and "Soul City" packages.

Challenges we ran into

At first, we were very worried about not being able to insert images and custom 3D objects in Unreal Engine, but we realized that this could be accomplished by importing the images as textures and then converting them into decal-type materials in the engine. We then inserted these decals in the simulation and placed them on the walls where the artworks are displayed in the map.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Creating visually appealing animations and images through code, mastering Unreal Engine's capabilities to create such an innovative design for the museum.

What we learned

It is possible to create 3D objects from a Python script containing the coordinates corresponding to the object's edges, it is possible to generate interesting 2D programmatic art GIFs with Python, adding fades to programmatic art images is not only possible but innovative, it is not difficult to coordinate tasks in a project where independent parts can easily be assembled into one.

What's next for Retrofuturistic Arts Expo

Adding more exhibits, expanding the map, creating interactive artworks where the player can touch, hear, and change the position of elements in an canvas.

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