Virtual Treasure with Hobbs Studio


Hobs Studio are proud to be working with the first UK National Festival of Making to showcase the ‘Future of Making Things’ using cutting edge 3D digital design and manufacturing technologies. Our aim; to celebrate the awe-inspiring Makers of our past through technology that is shaping our future. The ‘Virtual Treasure’ event takes place on the 6th and 7th of May 2017 and will be covered by the national press.

Hobs Studio have digitally reproduced the stunning Blackburn Cathedral using 3D Laser Scanning Technology and 3D modelling skills. Their team of expert Architectural Technicians have developed a detailed 3D model using Autodesk digital making tools and created a fully immersive platform allowing an interactive experience using Virtual Reality.

This Virtual Reality experience offers a breath-taking opportunity to play a unique virtual treasure hunt wearing highly advanced VR headsets.

Content Creation Process

Hobs Studio used laser scanning to measure and digitally recreate the internals of Blackburn Cathedral. The aim was to produce an accurate virtual reality experience of the building and some of its significant content.

The Hobs Architectural Technicians used the latest High-Definition Scanning equipment to capture laser measurements of the cathedral’s interior.

Two Leica P20 laser scanners and a Digital SLR camera were used.  In less than a day on site, these captured vast amounts of geometric data and material information, known as a point cloud.  

On returning to Hobs Studio, the team processed the point cloud data to join all the different scan together.  This process is known as registrationNext, hundreds of site photographs were matched with the measured information to create a full colour point cloud of the cathedral. Once fully processed, the point cloud data was imported into computer aided design software, where the final digital model of Blackburn Cathedral could be recreated manually.

After many hours of modelling, the result was a highly accurate digital recreation of Blackburn Cathedral, accurate to approximately 30mm across the length of the building, and true to scale. The model, now a faithful geometric representation of the 19th century building, was then textured using the photography captured on site. The model was then prepared for development into an interactive environment.

The final process was the conversion of this highly accurate 3D model into a format which could be used by the Virtual Reality software to bring the cathedral to life.  This software engine is called Autodesk Stingray.

Stingray drives all the dynamics of the 3D environment; it calculates where walls and objects are for the spectator to walk around and how players interact with different elements. This is the point where a 3D model on screen makes the jump into the world of VR.

Dynamics can now be added to elements within the 3D model. The VR engine allows us to animate elements in the cathedral and the player to trigger multiple animations.

In this virtual Treasure Hunt we have embedded interactive elements which are triggered by walking up to an element.  In this case, these are based on ancient artefacts found in and around the site. On triggering these elements, they become animated and a short history is given.

12th - 13th May 2018 | Blackburn, Lancashire

The National Festival of Making Delivery Team


The National Festival of Making is supported with funding from Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Heritage Lottery Fund