AGH UST student creates virtual art gallery

An AGH UST student has created the first virtual art gallery in Poland.

The author of the innovative project is Grzegorz Lipski, an AGH UST student.

The author of exhibits is Zygmunt Niewiadomski, a local artist and a neighbour of the student.

Virtual reality (VR), these days mainly associated with entertainment, is also more and more often applied to such areas of life as education, medicine, and culture. An example that belongs to the last category is an application of a virtual art gallery developed by a student of the AGH University of Science and Technology within the framework of his BSc thesis. 

After putting on VR goggles, the users are taken to a created from scratch and non-existent in the real world virtual gallery, where over 140 works of art are presented on the area of 690 m2. The collection consists of sculptures made of wood and stone, reliefs, paintings, and porcelain figures. It is the first in Poland virtual art exhibition in which users, apart from moving freely around the gallery, can also interact with the exhibits – hold them, turn them around, and also find out more about them thanks to audio recordings. The author of all presented works of art is Zygmunt Niewiadomski, a local artist and at the same time a neighbour of the student. 

The use of virtual reality to present exhibits such as sculptures and paintings changes completely the perception of traditional museums and art galleries. Those who are interested do not need to travel hundreds of kilometres and be restricted by the opening hours of cultural institutions – they can experience art without leaving home. Moreover, in order to ensure safety of works of art, art galleries and museums create physical barriers separating visitors from monuments. It is very often the case that visitors cannot touch exhibits. In the virtual gallery there are no restrictions – the users can lift the objects and look at them from any side. 

The 3D models available in the gallery have been reproduced with the use of photogrammetry on the basis of the photos of real objects. Depending on the shape of a piece of art, its reproduction required between 80 and even 200 individual images. The 3D models can be seen on the project website

The author of the innovative project is Grzegorz Lipski – a student of Applied Computer Science at the Faculty of Metals Engineering and Industrial Computer Science. The application of the virtual art gallery has been developed for the stand-alone goggles VR Oculus Quest. Installation files and a user guide can be downloaded free of charge from the project website: www.wirtualna-galeria.pl