Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang

Using laser scans and high resolution photos of Cave 220, known as Bhaisajyaguruʼs Eastern Paradise the ALiVE artists and researchers at City University, Hong Kong created a virtual rendition of this cave that is then presented in an immersive 360 degree stereoscopic projection environment. projectiondesign F35 AS3D projectors were used to visualize the spectacular 3D immersive experience.

"When you are at Dunhuang currently the only light thatʼs available is the torch of the guide that will accompany you, so your visual appreciation of this cave is very limited. In our virtual world you can light up the whole cave, and look at the painting in finest detail using a huge virtual magnifying glass. Furthermore we bring its fascinating narratives to life with animations and other digital special effects," says Dr. Sarah Kenderdine, Director of Research at ALiVE.

"Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang" During the 25th anniversary celebrations of Smithsonianʼs Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, Australian technology company, Immersive Realisation transported the exhibit from its home at ALiVE, an interdisciplinary art research initiative at the City University of Hong Kong; an incubator and innovations showcase for new forms of creativity at the vanguard of digital media in society. It used projectiondesign® F35 AS3D to reproduce stunning imagery of paintings and sculptures.

"Through the combination of art, cinema, advanced visualization and an interactive environment, visitors to the exhibition were treated to a gigantic visual spectacle with high-quality imaging and storytelling," says Professor Jeffrey Shaw, Dean of the School of Creative Media at City University, Hong Kong and director of AliVE.

The immersive audio-visual system uses five F35 AS3D projectors, five PCs with Nvidia game graphics cards in them, surround-sound audio and a giant circular projection screen measuring 10m diameter by 4m high.

"The resultant panoramic 3D projection gives a true-to-life experience of being present inside these historic caves. The technology's potential for academic and educational purposes is immensely important, in that many people can access the caves in a richer and more detailed way than at the physical site, where, for reasons of preservation, visitation is very restricted," adds Shaw.

"We work exclusively with projectiondesign for projects like "Pure Land" because their 3D projectors and hardware is ideal for edge-blending, and geometry correction in large-scale, multi-projector arrays. We also find that projectiondesign is the most robust and reliable projection technology out there for exhibition installations that run seven days a week with minimum overhead," says Kenderdine.

"The design and development of the software to support the clustering of [six] high-performance image generators, capable of processing images and videos as well as rendering large virtual environments in real time, and are linked to the projectors to deliver the full immersive 3D experience," was the main challenge for this project explains Damian Leonard at Immersive Realisation Pty Ltd.

Currently it is on view at the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, Hong Kong.

Equipment List:

  • Signaling componets Gefen
  • Screen frame Nelissen Dekorbouw, NL
  • Projectors projectiondesign F35 AS3D
  • Computers 6 workstations with Nvidia Quadro graphics
  • Speakers Genelec


Design Team:

  • Concept, design and direction: Sarah Kenderdine and Jeffrey Shaw
  • Production: AliVE, City University of Hong Kong
  • Project partners: Dunhuang Academy, Friends of Dunhuang Hong Kong and Mr. Gabriel Yu
  • System integration: Immersive Realisation Pty Ltd, Sydney


Vote now!

Read more on:

Suggested Articles:

World's Famous Building Corporation reimagines world’s narrowest commercial building with animated storytelling through light and media.

On a canvas stretching a full city-block wide and nearly 100’ tall, the design teams of American Christmas and Chris Werner Design transformed the iconic…

Held from 15-27 September 2015 at Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the IAA International Motor Show is one of the biggest auto shows in the world, and is known for…