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Platypus Interactive

Platypus Interactive
Nation Museum of Australia

Client National Museum of Australia x Art Processors

My Role  XR Director / Creative / Animator / 3d Artist / Realtime Artist

The National Museum of Australia is a place where you can learn about the rich and diverse history of Australia. It is home to a vast collection of objects, from Aboriginal artifacts to early colonial furniture. The museum also hosts a variety of exhibitions and events, which explore different aspects of Australian culture.

“Great Southern Land” is the National Museum of Australia's most significant gallery redevelopment since its opening in 2001. It tells the story of Australia as an ancient continent shaped by connected, biodiverse forces. This permanent exhibition uses digital interactives to encourage visitors to actively reimagine their own relationship with the land.

Working with the Art Processors team, I spearheaded the creation of a large-scale, immersive, realtime interactive, featuring the most incredible Australian creature, the Platypus.
The Platypus is presented in a digital aquarium-like, semi-circle display (4x 4k 65inch displays), where visitors can get up close and interact with a 3D-animated platypus, as it swims around its simulated environment.

Built on top of the Unreal realtime engine and utilising the latest Microsoft depth cameras, this State-of-the-art motion-tracking technology picks up people’s body movements and gestures to create a natural experience which pairs beautifully with a spatial soundscape. This living scene intermingles the sounds heard in the Australian bush with educational video voice overs.

Vistitors are encouraged to use their arms to interact with the creatures to get a better glimpse into the world of this unique marsupial. Various hotspots can be activated to learn about the creature's habitat, threats, burrow and showcase its features such as the bill, webbed feet and poisonous spurs. Two people can interact with a platypus at the same time, having a platypus follow their virtual torch beam.

My role in the team was as a lead creative, directing this interactive from concept, to prototype, to large scale implementation and installation in the gallery. I created 2d concept art, 3d modelled creatures and environments, developed animation rigs and animation clip for the whole piece and even created some photogrammetry assets for authenticity of the Australian habitat. Working closely with the developer and sound engineer and museum teams, I directed the realtime interactive elements and lead the design and implementation of the interactivity, tracking technology and soundscape.

This project was developed through many months of Covid lockdowns and was prototyped in VR to allow for testing during strict social distancing rules.

The platypus project is a great example of how you can take a few pieces of technology, creatively combine them and tell a story in a unique way. If you ever travel to the ACT make sure you stop by and play with our platypus. You might find some easter eggs.

Check out the video below to get a glimpse of the work.

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