09 January 2019

Sony Music Announce their David Bowie Exhibition AR App

Posted By Laura Thompson
3D Modelling apps AR AR in gaming augmented reality Bluebird interactive technology museum technology Rendering smart phone apps Unity
‘David Bowie Is’ was a touring exhibition displaying artefacts and information about the life, music, films and art of the legendary David Bowie. It opened in March 2013 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and ended in July 2018 at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, stopping at 12 museums around the world over its 5 year run and attracting over 2 million visitors.

This eclectic exhibition has now had an Augmented Reality adaptation thanks to Sony Music, The David Bowie Archive and Planeta, a creative studio, so that everyone can rediscover the Thin White Duke on their smartphone. The app was made available for iOS and Android on 8th January 2019- what would have been Bowie’s 72nd birthday- and includes over 400 high resolution captures and 3D models of classic costumes, sketches, handwritten lyrics, notes, music videos and original works of art, plus many never before seen items.

The official David Bowie website (www.davidbowieisreal.com) has this to say about the virtual exhibition- “Explore the full museum show in stunning detail, in the intimacy of your own environment, without glass barriers or crowds of visitors. This spectacular iteration of the iconic show is yours forever.”
At Peel Interactive, we work regularly with museums on digital transformations and have recently completed a number of digital consultancies advising museums on how best to take advantage of and embrace new technology to increase visitor engagement, create fantastic experiences and to drive revenue. An accessible and engaging way to do this is to recreate physical objects and characters in 3D and deliver that content through AR, gesture-based interactive projection or even as a ‘hologram’. We utilised these methods in our recent work for the Wales Coast Path, by modelling the iconic Bluebird car- famous for its land speed record at Pendine Sands in 1924- in 3D for use in an AR app and game.

Our client’s aim was to allow people to explore this record breaking car using augmented reality, so we made a faithful recreation that visitors will be able to take control of in the app during a mini game in which they attempt their own land speed record in the Bluebird II.

Our in-house developer and 3D modeller, Matt Murphy, takes us through how he recreated the car from scratch:

"There were no blueprints available for the car, so instead of the traditional method of setting up orthographic planes and modelling accordingly, I found a side view photograph and used that for my proportions. That was a good base, but the surfacing of the Bluebird is actually quite intricate, so I used many reference photos and filled out the volume by eye. As I progressed, the recreation went from being quite flat to having much more volume and smooth flowing surfacing.

“Once modelled I used the industry standard Substance Painter to texture the car. The paint finish is imperfect with blemishes and also patches of dirt on the lower side of the chassis rails and the tips of the front exit exhausts – as it would have been the day of the record breaking speed run.

“Finally the complete model was brought into Unity along with all its textures so that it could be rendered in-game using physically based rendering shading to give the car a realistic look- all this detail and yet it runs perfectly on mobile devices.”

Peel Interactive is a Creative Digital Agency specialising in custom virtual and augmented reality solutions, bespoke mobile applications, 3D modelling and interactive games. Please contact us info@peelinteractive.co.uk or call 01756 796176 for more information about what we could do for you.