New tech to explore Art Gallery online
A ground-breaking program inspired by Google's Street View is taking a virtual version of Newcastle Art Gallery to the world.
An interactive, high-definition walk-through of the gallery and some of its most famous works of art is now live online to help educate the community about art and display the collection to a wider audience.
Experience the Gallery's virtual tour here.
Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes said the 3D showcase included the gallery's two floors, forecourt and outdoor sculpture garden.
"Newcastle Art Gallery boasts a collection featuring works of art by some of Australia's greatest ever artists," she said.
"Whether you're in London, Rome, Paris, Madrid or Wallsend, you can now appreciate and learn more about them at the click of a button."
Like with Street View, users can move through the gallery, stopping to view any of the works currently on display. Current exhibitions Painting Memory: From the Collection and Everything Changes: Tim Maguire 2002-2017 have been recorded in the showcase.
Council's Cultural Director Liz Burcham said visitors to the online site could hover over interpretive information next to the works of art to learn more about their history and meaning, and the artists behind them.
Works of art in the virtual display include paintings by William Dobell, Margaret Olley, John Olsen and Brett Whiteley. The exhibition Everything Changes, developed by the gallery in collaboration with the artist, is one of the most significant solo artist exhibitions in the gallery's history.
"The technology we're using also allows us to embed videos and other multimedia, or further information to help tell a deeper story about these pieces of art," Ms Burcham said.
"This pilot project is really a test of how we could harness this capability in future. We see a lot of potential for education."
The gallery partnered with local immersive media company Evolv3d Media to develop the new capability, accessible via the gallery's website.
"There's a real expectation starting to build with people wanting this kind of experience," Evolv3d Media managing director Jim Grove said.
The Lord Mayor said 3D walk-throughs could potentially be developed for other temporary exhibitions, to create an online database where art-lovers could take a virtual tour of travelling shows long after their real-life exhibition dates ended.
"So much effort goes into staging these exhibitions," the Lord Mayor said. "It would be wonderful if all that effort wasn't lost when the exhibition finished."
The technology could also be used to broaden the scope of the gallery's offerings beyond its own walls.
"The potential applications are very exciting," the Lord Mayor said.
"We could develop similar 3D walk-throughs of an artist's studio, so visitors to the gallery could use VR to walk around inside the artist's studio space, flip through a virtual sketch-book of his or her work or view video content like a conversation with the artist."