A Virtual World can best be described as follows……….a computer-based online three dimensional environment that is designed, themed and shared by individuals so that they can interact in a custom built, simulated space. Users interact with each other in this simulated world using text and/or voice and ‘wearing’ three-dimensional graphical models called avatars. In 2001 I was one of several people testing a product for Adobe. Called 'Atmosphere', this wonderful software allowed the users to create 3D scenes and upload them to their own servers. Virtual visitors from around the world could then come into the virtual space and interact, meet, and chat with other users. I had long been a fan of 'Yellow Submarine' and had heard of a new product from Canon called '3D Solid Object Modeller'. An object could be placed in the centre of a turntable and a series of about sixteen photos taken from all around the object. This could then be made into an actual 3D computer model ready to upload into 'Atmosphere'. It was at this time that I decided to create a virtual world based on the Yellow Submarine movie using the software from Canon to create the characters. I found a company that sold cartoon character models from the movie and so I bought them all. I spent an enormous amount of time taking photos for each of 16 figures, retouching out the backgrounds and 'carving' away unneeded detail that the camera hadn't quite picked up. I found that this software only really worked well on the most basic of shapes. Never the less, I was able to upload my 3D Pepperland figures and texture them accordingly. After three years in beta the product was finally released in 2004 but sadly after only a very short time on sale, ‘Atmosphere’ was pulled from the shelves either due to lack of interest or competition from Linden Labs' Second Life’. Below is an automated slide show showing around 30 images. The first 15 show screen grabs of the ‘Atmosphere’ world I created in 2002 and the 3D modelled characters from the McFarlane range of their Yellow Submarine Beatles’ figures in situ. The next sequence of 15 show the model of the ‘Vacuum Beast’ with all the backgrounds retouched out leaving just the model and the sequence of dots that the Canon software needs to make up the 3D model. I’ve added an untreated photo to show the amount of retouching that was needed. Finally, a photo that shows the texture of the model. The photos were screen grabs taken from a 4:3 ratio monitor, no widescreens in those days and no inworld method of taking photos from within the ‘Atmosphere’ software, unless I missed something. Below, the new ‘Pepperland’ Virtual World as it is today, some fifteen years later from my first attempt. Interestingly enough though, the main areas such as the Pyramid, Old Bandstand, Blue Meanie Mountain and the Pier Building are in roughly the same positions as the 2002 version. I guess that’s how I visualised it should be. I was able to  import all of the textures from the previous version but everything had to be rebuilt and this time it was a joint venture shared between myself and Chelsea. More about this on the next page……….      
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