Shape Shifting – workshop
18 March 2017

The White Building
Sat 18 Mar, 1 - 5pm
£5, con. £3
sold out
waiting list here


Travels Through the Uncanny Valley

This workshop will explore the potential of embodiment within virtual reality.

What is the relationship between behavioural realism (animation), graphical realism (aesthetics) and the Uncanny Valley?

The Uncanny Valley describes a sense of discomfort that some people experience when looking at a realistic human replica (either a robot or a computer generated character). As the human likeness of a character increases so does the viewer’s level of empathy towards the character, but at high levels of realism there is a sudden drop off in the user’s experience as it produces a sense of unease.

With the rise of VR and it’s development as a key platform for social media, questions around authorship, enhanced social presence and the curated self are now more relevant than ever. How will social interaction within VR change the way people relate to their own physical selves and other people’s avatars?

During this session, participants will learn hands-on methods of controlling and customising a range of different avatars: from Oculus Avatars using the touch controllers on the Rift to bespoke characters controlled using motion capture devices. Participants will be able to manipulate the age, gender and appearance of other people's avatars in real time.

We will explore how User Experience Design (UX) is reshaping consumer devices such as the Rift, Vive and the Hololens; which have been a wake up call for designers who have grown comfortable working with small flat rectangular displays.

We will investigate two major challenges facing immersive UX designers today:
- how do you build avatars that look and behave believably?
- how can you strengthen the illusion of 'owning' an avatar's body?

No prior knowledge is assumed with UX design and this workshop will be relevant to anyone with an interest in immersive technology.

Through this investigation we aim to encourage people to re-examine the relationship between their mind and body, providing an insight into the potential of embodiment within the virtual realm.


Initiated by Dr Harry Brenton in partnership with SPACE Art + Technology. Harry is the director of Bespoke VR Ltd and has worked as a VR researcher and developer for over a decade.