Step Into A Van Gogh With A Virtual Reality Tribute To His Famous Paintings

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Morenike Adebayo

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41 Step Into A Van Gogh With A Virtual Reality Tribute To His Famous Paintings
Mac Cauley

If you tried to step into a painting in real life, you’d be unkindly escorted out of an art gallery and banned for life for destroying priceless artifacts. At worst, you’d have to pay a steep cost for damaging artwork and your reputation as a casual art enthusiast would be tarnished forever.

But with a little technical wizardry, you can walk amongst Vincent van Gogh’s most famous art pieces as seen in the video below. And it’s especially immersive if you have a virtual reality headset.




Video Credit: Mac Cauley

Recognizable van Gogh works, such as The Starry Night and Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, are brought to life as the viewer moves around The Night Café with animated effects embellishing the 3D environment. The hazy swirls – distinctive of the Post-Impressionist painter – circling the lights give off a mesmerizing glow. And a man who looks like van Gogh (though with both ears still quite attached) sits on a bench, smoking a pipe.


This juxtaposition of art and virtual reality was submitted by animator Mac Cauley of Brooklyn, New York, as part of Oculus’ Mobile VR Jam.

“I have always been drawn to the paintings of Van Gogh and I imagined it would be amazing to be inside one of these colorful worlds,” said Cauley of his submission. “While creating the environments of these paintings in 3D space, I've had to expand on areas that can't be seen; rooms behind doors, objects hidden from view, people turned away from the viewer.”

The annual competition, sponsored by Unity, sees hundreds of submissions by developers and designers competing for a chance to win some of a $1,020,000 prize pot. From initial pitch to final build, submissions by participants must complete four milestones to be eligible for consideration in two tracks – virtual reality games or virtual reality apps and experiences. Participants can enter as a single entrant, or as part of a team or organization. There is also the opportunity to share skills and collaborate with others to get a virtual dream realized.

The winners will be announced in early June.


[H/T New Scientist]


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  • virtual reality,

  • van gogh,

  • vincent van gogh,

  • unity,

  • oculus