A virtual hand and paintbrush over facades painted with a watercolor effect, in a Michael Graves-designed landscape.

You can paint unbuilt Michael Graves projects in VR

The late Michael Graves has seen his previously unbuilt work finally realized in a virtual reality environment thanks to Imagined Landscapes. The interactive sightseeing experience was created by Kilograph, a Los Angeles creative studio that has worked with firms like Gensler and Zaha Hadid Architects.

Based on Graves’s painted plans for the unbuilt Canary Islands resort Barranco de Veneguera, originally planned in 1999, Imagined Landscapes creates allows users to go on an impressionistic, watercolor-esque romp through the resort, and through the act of drawing itself.

Each area of the resort begins just as an outline, with users able to take a virtual paintbrush up to fill in the sketches. “The more you let people use their hands, the more connected they’ll feel to the world around them,” said Runze Zhang, a Kilograph VR designer, in a press release.

Barranco de Veneguera was meant to be a sprawling resort for 12,000 people running down a three-and-a-half mile valley all the way to the ocean. Graves imagined two greywater-irrigated golf courses as a green ribbon across the valley, a dense “town center” on the coast, and terraced hotels, all made to reflect and use the region’s topography; however, the resort never came to fruition.

For the most part, Imagined Landscapes was developed in Unreal Engine 4, but the watercolor effect is a proprietary development by Kilograph. To get a natural look, the team layered elements like displacement maps, world position information, and post-processing effects together, creating a visual that mirrored Graves’s colors and style. Gesture controls were then created using Leap Motion, a hand-tracking hardware sensor, to produce an experience tailored to our natural instincts around movement and painting and to make the interaction feel more authentic.

You can download Imagined Landscapes directly from Kilograph’s site or try it out October 2nd at Woodbury University in Burbank, California.