A symbiosis of scenic art and high technology: interactive animation of virtual characters in real time, augmented and virtual reality technologies and motion capture technology.

“Alice in Wonderland” project was created and presented at 2019 Tavrida Forum of Young Artists and Arts, Workshop for Interactive Animation. The basis of the idea was the desire to animate and interact with the character on a real stage, here and now – in real time format.
The project team chose the famous fairy tale by Lewis Carroll as the subject of the interactive presentation. After all models were prepared and tested, the main work of creating the virtual stage and “programming” the scenario in EV Toolbox using the mockup suit began. The virtual stage created in EV Toolbox constructor is combined with the coordinates of the real stage, where the actor wearing a special mockup suit is located.
The suite tracking system determines the position and movements of the actor to trigger different actions in the virtual stage depending on the logic of the project created using the visual scripting editor – the script in the EV Toolbox. After six days of active work at Tavrida 5.0, the creative team presented the project on the big stage: professional choreographer Aigul Zakirova played four interactive fairy tale characters – Alice, Caterpillar, Card Soldier and the Queen.

How to come up with a cool idea of the project about culture online?

All cool and non-trivial ideas have to be a little crazy and fantastic. Try putting young, talented and ambitious people to a task that will seem almost impossible at first, and then give them the technology and tools in their hands and make the first few hints, steps in the right direction, and see what happens! We suggested combining things that were seemingly incompatible at a first glance: motion capture technology, 3D modeling, augmented reality and theatre – parts of a single project that had to be framed in a vivid, interactive performance on a large stage. Discuss the most unbelievable suggestions, sometimes reaching the point of absurdity. Don’t discount even the most fantastic ideas. Our “Alice in Wonderland” was one of these projects, combining a real space and its virtual copy, where real actors turned into virtual characters created by artists and designers in 3D. This is the creative studio – a place where actual miracles emerge from under the artist’s brush and from the program code. Albert Einstein used to say, “Only those who make absurd attempts will achieve the impossible”. Our project has become an environment in which high technology, the theatrical stage, choreography, creativity and play intertwine. We are glad that together with the team we have turned our common, a little bit crazy fantasy into a real project.

What are the pitfalls to be aware of?

Pitfalls? Of course, they happen. Do you think it is possible to implement a full-fledged project with only five days at the Black Sea with a team that had no previous experience in developing similar projects and that learned, invented and implemented solutions right on the fly? Tight timeframes, sun and warm sea; in parallel, interesting meetings in our workshop with famous directors, producers, screenwriters, actors – all these things both hindered and simultaneously motivated our team, helped to wake up with a new idea and embark on implementation with renewed vigor.

Why are the projects like yours needed, what is their value for people?

By doing the project, we proved, first of all, to ourselves that we can create something completely new in the field of interactive digital art. At the same time, we have developed a tool and an interactive space for creating such interactive performances.