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Interactive Media Foundation

Inside Tumucumaque

Berlin, Germany

Inside Tumucumaque - Overview video.

A journey back to nature.

Take an expedition into the virtual Amazon and brush shoulders with the flora and fauna that spill across a massive, 3D-animated terrain. This is the illustrated world of Tumucumaque. Fly above the forest canopy with the harpy eagle, zoom along with the poison dart frog, wade through the water with caiman, crawl across the jungle floor with the goliath spider, and explore ​Inside Tumucumaque​. This virtual reality experience transports participants into a stylized real time rendering of the largest tropical forest reserve on the planet so they can explore it from the perspective of the locals.

Building the physical installation.

Developing a new way to approach science and nature

How can you get people with different interests and experiences to develop an interest in science, nature and the environment? How can information be scientifically authentic and, at the same time, be staged in a new, exciting and emotive way? And how can we motivate people to see the world through different eyes? The idea and concept for Inside Tumucumaque emerged from the hunt for these answers and more. The result is a virtual expedition set in the midst of the Brazilian rainforest where visitors can explore more than 400 hectares of virtual land.

VR Headset.

The installation at ZKM to the world of Tumucumaque.

From original footage from the reserve to production.

The virtual world of Tumucumaque was created in close collaboration with scientific experts. Interpretations of the animals’ specific perceptual abilities were also developed in close cooperation with scientific experts. Our partner, the Interactive Media Foundation, undertook a real exhibition to the original reserve and brought back stunning footage which was used as reference for our models and textures.

Swimming with a caiman through the rivers of the Amazon region.
Discovering the underwater world.
Rising up to the skies as a bird.

The creation of rainforest vegetation and animals in 3D.

The entire 400 hectare large world is fully computer generated and crafted by hand. We created 7,500 plants in total which were all based on 80 models. Each plant was approved by the botanical garden Berlin. The Naturkunde Museum Berlin consulted us extensively on how to create each animal in as realistic a way as possible.

Lianas and low-hanging leaves crossing the trajectory of the harpy.
A close up of the very tiny poison dart frog.

Concept art drawing of the environment and animals.

The installation launch at Art of Immersion

The interactive installation premiered on the 4th of April, 2018, at the ​ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. The exhibition was the latest in the centre’s ongoing series titled “The Art of Immersion”, a program featuring contemporary work in the field of visualisation and immersive experiences. Visitors to the space were invited to step into a simulated environment and experience a multisensory transformation of their reality.

The frog area within the rainforest.
Aerial view of the harpy.
Top view on the wild fauna of the amazon.
The user shrinks onto the level of the poison dart frog to follow its movement.
Profile of the harpy.

Exploring the forest through the eyes of an animal.

How does a poison dart frog perceive its environment? What does it feel like to lurk in the water, lying in wait for prey, as a Black Caiman? And what’s it like to navigate through the dense jungle at night as a vampire bat? The objective was to offer visitors a unique change of perspective from that of a human to that of an animal. The perceptions from the perspective of wildlife are interpreted as sensory experiences made understandable to humans with the aid of ultraviolet colour spectra, movements in super-slow motion, visualisations of echo tracking and colour night vision as well as spatial 3D sound.

  • From the artwork to 3D production.
  • Concept art drawing of the frog perspective.

Unique watercolour textures and shaders for cohesiveness.

From the very beginning, it was clear that we wanted to counteract the cold tech of today’s gaming engines. To achieve this, we created a unique look that plays with the influences of natural history lexica and the work of artists like Albrecht Dürer and Peter Doig. Most of the textures were painted in an analogue way with watercolours, then scanned and applied to 3D models. We then went on and created a set of customised shaders, amongst them a fast volumetric light for VR and a water-shader that would reflect the watercolour textures. All of this came together in one harmonious environment.

Discover Project
Frosch Perspektive concept art Zeichnung.
Die Perspective des Harpy's.

From the very beginning it was clear

We wanted to counteract the cold tech of today’s game engines.




Executive Producer

  • Diana Schniedermeier

Creative Director

  • Ina Krüger
  • Patrik De Jong

Concept Artist

  • Dirk Hoffmann

Art Direction

  • Dirk Hoffmann
  • Robert Werner

3D Lead

  • Nico Alexander Taniyama

3D Design & Animation

  • Christian Rambow
  • Dana Würzburg

Technical Lead

  • Sebastian Hein

Technical Development

  • Dennis Timmermann
  • Hui-Yuan Tien

Sound Design

  • Christian Barth
  • Julian Ferreira da Silva

Project Management

  • Florian Köhler
  • Jochen Watral
  • Kristin Sperling


  • Michael Grotenhoff
  • Saskia Kress

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