Techniques of Perception in VRML97
by n_polys 08_2001

Deep Media and Storytelling

As artists or teachers, we attempt to evoke emotion or understanding in our audience by creating a compelling phenomenology: perceptions of objects, relationships, and situations. Its not The Matrix, Tron, or Total Recall, but Web3D today provides us a powerful toolkit to convey meaning over digital networks and multiple modalities: modern virtual environments provide an unprecedented level of interaction and immersion… and they continue to improve!

In the same way as rich-media, we can develop characters, lighting, sets, define camera shots, scenes, and action.  All of the principles of these disciplines still apply, but producers are freed from many of the constraints that physics and physical costs usually impose.  In many cases, models from commercial libraries or pre-rendered segments may already exist and can be assembled, connected, animated, and compressed for distribution over the internet. 

Once the media assets are composed and scene’s interactivity programmed, freedom to navigate the camera to any location means that authors can do multiple takes and rehearse shots easily.  It is also common to populate the scene with multiple cameras so that users can see the action from various angles or transport to different areas of the world. When the camera shot is not pre-defined, the user is free to navigate the space and examine any part or detail of the scene… even see the action from different actor’s point of view!

One real advantage to the networked nature of Web3D, beyond distributed audience reach, is that multiple users can co-exist and communicate in real-time in the same virtual environment.  In this way, they can influence the course of the action for each other, and create novel situations and outcomes.  Typically, users are represented in the 3D environment by personalized 'Avatars' which can gesture, move, and chat according to their user’s intent. 

The notion of presence is a powerful one that will become more and more important as technology enables increased realism for networked virtual environments.  It also allows for the further suspension of disbelief when interacting with the narrative or scenario as the lines of identity and place blur… I think Tim Leary said, “You can be anyone this time around”…

The degree of immersion in deep media will increase as input and display peripherals continue to improve and take users into Altered States of being.  These will principally deal with the following:

Modes of Perception

  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Existential

We will examine each of these in turn, and demonstrate their affects and implementation in VRML97.

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Table of Contents: Abstract

Current features
* Graphical User Interfaces: 2D, 3D, and Web3D
* Techniques of Perception in VRML
Onsite Features- Europe:
* Echtzeit AG
* Lunatic Interactive
* PhilemonWorks

Previous Features
* Interactive Web Graphics with Shout3D Book
* Web3D 2001 Coverage
* Core Web3D Book
* Spazz3D: Authoring-tool
* Game Programming in VRML
* State of the Industry
* The X3D Initiative (2000)
* Alphabet Soup: Our glossary of technical acronyms

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