animation – Augmented Reality

The Flying XRiver

For this assignment, we were tasked to create an augmented reality experiment, focused on the concept rather than a final result. I worked together with Maxwell da Silve and so we created the Flying XRiver – a 3D Sculpture reflecting on concepts such as the Anthropocene and the Flying Rivers of the Amazon Rainforest

Base Concepts


The current geological age viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

Geological ages of the Earth
The Flying Rivers
Amazon’s Rainforest Flying Rivers

The flying rivers are a movement of large quantities of water vapor transported in the atmosphere from the Amazon Basin to other parts of South America. The forest trees release water vapor into the atmosphere through transpiration and this moisture is deposited in other localities in the form of precipitation, forming a virtual river. This movement is essential for climate regulation and humidity balance in several parts of the world. Unfortunately, deforestation is increasing the number of fires in the Amazon Rainforest, which is eventually making the flying rivers transport toxic smoke, especially to the southeast of Brazil.

Process of creation

First, we found a 3D hand model at and downloaded it. Later, we imported it to Photoshop as a 3D object and used the brush tool to draw the river on the palm of the hand and so we exported it as a texture/material as seen below.

Texture/Material for the hands. The blue lines were created on Photoshop.

The next step was putting together the hands in Unity in the shape of a river and then adding the river and the smoke layers.

Connecting the hands in Unity


Ar Sculpture

As a result, we have an AR sculpture that can be installed on flat surfaces such as any floor, tables, or other ceilings and immerse yourself in the Flying XRiver. The hands create a metaphor for our responsibility when touching natural resources. At the same time, we have the river on our hands, our hands are floating on the river, so the way we interfere in its dynamics affects the way we move, behave and relate to other organisms.

The hands can also be seen as a prototype for future interactions with the piece, in which we can explore social AR experiments, where people will be able to manipulate the position of the hands generating new collective structures, creating new landscapes and objects in the theme of forests.

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