The story is the richest heritage of human civilisation. One can imagine the first stories being told, several thousand centuries ago, by wise old men huddled around camp fires. Since this time, the narrative process has been considerably developed and enriched: sounds and music have been added to complement the speech, while scenery and theatrical sets have recreated to enhanced the story environment. Actors, dancers and technicians have replaced the unique storyteller. The story is no longer the sole preserve of oral narrative but can be realised in book, theatrical, dance or movie form. Even the audience can extend up to several million individuals.

And in its many forms the story lies at the heart of one of the world's most important industry.

The advent of the digital era has enhanced and accelerated this evolution: image synthesis, digital special effects, new Human-Computer interfaces and the Internet allow one to not only realise more sophisticated narrative forms but also to create new concepts as video gaming and virtual environments. The art of storytelling is becoming evermore complex. Virtual Reality offers new tools to capture, and to interactively modify the imaginary environment, in ever more intuitive ways, coupled with a maximum sensory feedback. In fact, Virtual Reality technologies offer enhanced and exciting production possibilities for the creation and non-linear manipulation in real time, of almost any story form.

This has lead to the new concept of Virtual Storytelling. This international conference will gather researchers from the scientific, artistic and industrial communities to demonstrate new methods and techniques, show the latest results, and to exchange concepts and ideas for the use of Virtual Reality technologies for creating, populating, rendering and interacting with stories, what ever their form be it theatre, movie, cartoon, advertisement, puppet show, multimedia work, video-games...

In particular, the conference will address the following topics:

  • How to acquire the story elements (objects, decors, environments, etc.) from reality?
  • How to create virtual actors? How to model their geometry and physical behaviours in real time? How to populate virtual environments and manage their interactions?
  • How to animate the virtual actors (e.g. their faces, clothes, and hairs, etc.) in real time?
  • How to include lifelike elements in the virtual environment? How to create "realistic" behaviours and emotions?
  • How to create storyboards from virtual environments? How to create and manage non-linear scenarii?
  • How to simulate the production (lighting, actors direction, etc.) and the shooting (camera trajectory)?
  • How to create real-time special effects (explosion, fire, snow, rain, layered fog, etc.)?
  • How to use Virtual Reality interfaces (force feedback systems, stereoscopic or immersive display, 3D sound) for creating and telling virtual stories?
  • How to render or broadcast virtual stories in real-time?
  • What are the new narrative forms allowed by Virtual Storytelling?
  • How Virtual Storytelling can be compared to traditional storytelling? What is the impact of non-linear and collaborative working or playing environments (authoring and production) on the creativity?
  • What are concrete examples of using Virtual Storytelling?