A Virtual Reality Replica of the Paleolithic Cave Chauvet

A virtual reality experience to immerse oneself in a paleolithic cave

Immersing oneself in a Paleolithic cave thanks to virtual reality. Admiring a masterpiece without damaging the original. This is what IIM students aimed to do with the Chauvet 3.0 project.

IIM, an Internet and multimedia school located in Paris’s business district, trains students to become quickly operational professionals through real-work conditions. The Chauvet 3.0 project was created as an answer to a company call for proposals.

The Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave contains some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life, such as fossilized remains, prints and markings from animals, some of which are now extinct. Located in the South of France, it has been discovered in December 1994 by a group of three speleologists, among whom Jean-Marie Chauvet, hence the name of the cave.

Humanity’s first artists painted horses, lions, rhinos and many other animals running, hunting or fighting. UNESCO granted the Chauvet cave the World Heritage status in 2014.

A replica of the Chauvet cave opened in 2015: the Pont d’Arc cave enables visitors to be immersed in a prehistoric world without damaging the original premises.

IIM students were asked to recreate a 3D version of the cave by using 3D scans. In order to enhance the immersion experience, visitors wear virtual reality goggles.

Users of this solution developed by students majoring in 3D animation get the impression they are travelling in the past, visiting the cave and seeing it just like it was 36 000 years ago. A young woman guides them through the cave, showing them the rupestrian paintings.

This virtual reality project was conducted by second year students: Lucas Benoit, Paul-Louis Aeberhardt, Chaghig Harmandayan, Anthony Magrin, Vasco Potier, Clémentine Drouineau, Florian Roger, Guillaume Rossi, Arthur Piquemal, Arthur Lemaire, Maxence Planquart. They shared tasks including composition and creation of the character, the cave’s 3D scan, texture scan, lighting.

Take a glimpse at the Chauvet 3.0 project: