To create awareness on Virtual Reality (VR) and animation among the local artists, a workshop was conducted at Changzamtok startup centre in Thimphu yesterday.

Virtual reality is an artificial reality, a reality that only exists inside a computer according to the general director of the Animation Workshop-VIA university college, Morten Thorning.

He said that VR is great as a training ground and that animation could also be used meaningfully in relation to it. “Stories in the country could have market beyond the country. Storytelling is an important aspect and without a good story, the hard work may not be worth it.”

He said that sketching was the foundation of animation. “Animation was increasingly used in health, teaching and learning, business and industry, culture and public administration.”

Chief executive officer of iBEST Institue, Tharchen, said that animation in the country began around 2005. “There are just about three animation films in the country and because it is fairly new, there are challenges that the growing community face.”

He said that although there was an overwhelming response for the recent film, Pemi Tshewang Tashi, the movie wasn’t a successful business.

Technical designer at FabLab, Tsewang Lhundup, said the team from Denmark would collaborate and partner with the institutes in the country for knowledge transfer.  “VR combined with traditional skills would be far more meaningful. If the project is successful, the spillover effect in other sectors such as tourism would be immense.”

He said that the two-year project is expected to complete in 2020. “The local artists would be first assessed on their skills.”

Morten Thorning said that doing the VR project was also a part of the bigger idea to be able to support Bhutanese animation industry. “Because there are so many different ways in which the animation would be used.”

FabLab Bhutan and iBEST Institute organised the programme.

Rinchen Zangmo