About

The Virtual UCF Arboretum project is an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) collaboration between The Harrington Lab in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media, in the College of Arts and Humanities, and the UCF Arboretum and Department of Biology, in the College of Sciences, and the Landscape and Natural Resources team at the University of Central Florida.

The Virtual UCF Arboretum website, release as version 1.0. in October 2018, is the multimedia educational component to The Virtual UCF Arboretum project. It features plants and flowers found in natural communities of central Florida. Each plant in the atlas has educational information, photographs, gardening facts, and a 3D plant model  ideal for close inspection of botanical form and structure. The 3D models are ready for use in VR using inexpensive headsets, and some are AR ready.  The website is unique in that facts and concepts are visualized in interactive 3D botanical models useful for education. All information has been vetted by botanists and biologists, and represents high quality educational information.

The Virtual UCF Arboretum Virtual Nature Model is an investigation and exploration of data visualization of sparse GIS data for plant density, and botanically correct, photorealistic 3D models, combined in real-time, interactive, multi-modal, game engine technologies with traditional multimedia.  It is unique in that it is the first of its kind to visualize GIS data of native plants and flowers, in 100 hectare (247 acres) of Central Florida terrain, and one that achieves high information accuracy, with photorealistic perceptual parity to match the real environment.  The Virtual UCF Arboretum as a Virtual Nature model, released as version 1.0 in October 2018, is available as an Unreal Game Engine level, open to exploration and learning at a click of a button.

VAP and Web

The Harrington Lab, UCF Team

The Virtual UCF Arboretum research project (October 2016 – present) is under the direction of Dr. Harrington at the University of Central Florida. For more information see The Harrington Lab website: http://mariacrharrington.org/

Primary Creators and Contributors for the Unreal Engine model:

  • Kellie Beck: Undergraduate Research Assistant: Arboretum Content Liaison, Graphic Designer, and Website and WordPress Developer, January 2016 – Present.
  • Zachary Bledsoe: Undergraduate Research Assistant: Team Lead, 3D Artist, Modeler, and Environmental Artist, Unreal Engine Production Pipeline Lead, August 2017 – August 2018.
  • Chris Jones: Undergraduate Research Assistant: Lead Environmental Artist, 3D Artist, Modeler, and Unreal Engine, October 2017 – August 2018.
  • James Miller: Undergraduate Research Assistant: Lead Developer and Programmer, Unreal Engine, January 2018 – August 2018.
  • Thomas Pring: Undergraduate Research Assistant: Programmer, Unreal Engine, HTC Vive, January 2018 – Present.

Past Members: work not included in the Unreal model, but engaged in learning and skill development:

  • Jeremy Blake: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Environmental Artist, 3D Artist, Modeler, Unreal Engine Art. October 2017May 2018.
  • Bailey Estelle: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Environmental Artist, 3D Artist, Modeler, Unreal Engine Art. October 2017 – May 2018.
  • Sebastian Hyde: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Environmental Artist, 3D Artist, Modeler, Unreal Engine Art. October 2017 – December 2017.
  • Seun (Oluwaseun) Ademoye: Undergraduate Research Assistant, 3D Artist, Modeler, and Character Animation. 2017.
  • Yasiman Ahsani: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Environmental Artist, 3D Artist, Modeler, and Unreal Engine Production Pipeline Lead. 2017.
  • Katherine Ryschkewitsch: Undergraduate Research Assistant, 3D Artist, Modeler, and Character Animation. 2017.
  • Marchand Venter: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Environmental Artist, 3D Artist, Modeler, and Unreal Engine Production Pipeline Lead. 2017.
  • Aubri White: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Environmental Artist, 3D Artist. October 2017 – May 2018.

UCF Arboretum Team

Development of the Virtual UCF Arboretum website was under the co-direction of Dr. Patrick Bohlen, Professor of Biology and Director of the UCF Arboretum.

  • Dr. Patrick Bohlen: Director of Landscape and Natural Resources and Arboretum
  • Jennifer Elliott: Assistant Director, Natural Resource and Arboretum Programs
  • Ray Jarrett: Coordinator of Urban Forestry and Land Management Programs
  • Amanda Lindsay: Senior Biologist
  • John Guziejka: Biologist / Urban Forester
  • Rafael Pares: Media Producer