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Children bring their drawings to life through VR

Pebble Studios helped pupils from Grange Primary School create their own world...

Posted by Charley Rogers | February 22, 2017 | Primary

Virtual reality experts at top London VR and production company, Pebble Studios, have brought the imaginative worlds of children to life in virtual reality for the very first time.

A lucky group of seven and eight-year-olds from Grange Primary School, West London, were visited by the Pebble Studios team at the start of the year and asked to draw some of the wondrous and inventive characters, lands and stories they come up with during their creative play time. 

The group drew colourful artworks of their imaginative worlds and the creatures in it, impressing the team with their descriptions of ‘candy land’ - home to giraffes in bow-ties, and a multi-coloured disco-loving T-Rex. When asked why adults might not be so creative, their answer was that “they have jobs and things, so can’t keep their imaginations in their heads”.

We’ve had more interest than ever from educational organisations wanting to harness the power of imaginative learning through virtual reality experiences; VR definitely has the potential to be the blackboard of the future.

Two weeks later, the studio surprised the children with a VR experience that allowed them to step inside their imaginations in virtual reality and explore the three-dimensional worlds inspired by their own wondrous sketches and made up characters. 

Matt Beveridge, co-founder and creative director of Pebble Studios, said: “We make VR experiences for all sorts of industries, but we wanted to remind ourselves what pure, limitless, childhood creativity felt like again. We’ve had more interest than ever from educational organisations wanting to harness the power of imaginative learning through virtual reality experiences; VR definitely has the potential to be the blackboard of the future.”

The virtual world in Pebble Studios’ “Making Kids’ Imagination a Virtual Reality” film took two weeks to create and rendered the children’s characters as 2D paper figures set in a simple, bold and colourful world to keep the imaginative charm of the children’s original drawings.

Next, the team had to interpret the sketches, using a combination of the children’s descriptions and their own intuition to brainstorm how each character should move, before animating the drawings and adding textures. The children’s characters were then arranged around a track which a 360 camera followed through the virtual environment, resulting in a happy ride around a paper world of the children’s imaginations.

When asked how the pupils thought the Pebble Studios team had done it, one girl suggested it was via a mobile phone’s “pandemonium thingy”.

Emma Aly-Lane, teacher at Grange Primary School, said: “This has been such a fantastic experience for the children, and for me too. I was blown away by their creativeness, fantastic imaginations, and just how articulate they were.”

The cute and heart-warming video of the project and the big reveal can be viewed here. Those with a VR headset, or Google Cardboard, can step inside the imagination of a child for themselves here.

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