The Neon Museum’s ‘Lost Vegas’ Exhibit by Tim Burton Used VR to Visualise the Expansive Setup

If you’re ever in Las Vegas and want to visit somewhere other than a casino then iconic The Neon Museum is a good place to stop off a see a little of the city’s history. A non-profit which collects and preserves Vegas signage, last year Tim Burton (Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands) took over the location for a special exhibition called ‘Lost Vegas’. And to help make it a reality the designers used VR collaboration software.

Burton brought in experiential designer Craig Winslow who had previously worked for clients like NikeLab and Adobe to help bring his ideas to life. As it happened Winslow had been experimenting with enterprise collaboration software The Wild. The app specialises in supporting architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) businesses, with tools allowing them to import most 3D file types.

Which meant the tool was ideal to help visualise the designs way before anything got built. Winslow used drone photogrammetry to create an entire 3D model of The Neon Museum‘s main area which could then be imported into The Wild, all at 1:1 scale.

Naturally, Burton’s vision for ‘Lost Vegas’ featured all sorts of weird and wonderful designs, from a 40-foot tall ‘Lost Vegas’ pylon sign to hidden easter eggs from his catalogue of films including Mars Attacks! and  Beetlejuice. The concept models could then be dropped into the main photogrammetry area and then moved around by the team to Burton’s exact design before anything was built. “Tim was particular in making sure all the heights of his works had a complimentary hierarchy, creating a relationship between every single object surrounding it,” Winslow says in a blog posting.

“There are certain things VR is super helpful with, where you have your spatial awareness,” Winslow continues. “I can’t really show you a 3D render and say, ‘Here’s how wide this inner circle is.’ But you can put on a headset and say, ‘Here’s how wide the halls feel.’ or Okay, I can see the sight lines for these things.’”

Using The Wild for this process proved invaluable as the team only had two weeks to install everything, so there wouldn’t have been any time to alter placement on the fly. It was also a hit with the famous director: “It took a few moments to get him comfortable in VR but once it clicked, he got so excited. Tim loved it so much. He kept saying, ‘Wow, this is so great. Hey! The dome looks pretty good from here!’” said Winslow.

While the exhibition is over The Neon Museum does offer a 360-degree virtual tour so you can check the place out. For the latest news from The Wild, keep reading VRFocus.

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