Proposal Open Access

Investigating the impact of photorealistic 3D simulated environments on audience reaction in virtual reality space

Hasan K. Rezakhani


The next generation processors such as the ones that use graphene-based transistors, increase the speed of the process of codes up to 1000 times (Schlueb, 2017). At the same time, the researchers of computer science are developing rendering algorithms in which the physical world will be simulated better and faster. One of the results of improvement in these two fields is the possibility of processing and displaying photorealistic 3D environments and scenes in virtual reality space in real-time. Although even now with the available hardware we can reach these contents, but in near future using photorealistic content will direct the attention of producers of this field.

The scenes that are produced with 3D computer graphics and photorealistic in terms of visual quality have features that separate them completely from non-photorealistic scenes. The photo-like realism in these scenes is in a way that the audience considers them real. Applying these features in producing virtual reality content will result in its improvement in some ways:

First, when the audience is surrounded by the photorealistic environment, his experience becomes closer to real life. The content quality has an important role in this experience. That is, when the mind by comparing real-world experiences with photorealistic virtual space, is not able to separate the differences, it will accept that fully and this will lead to a more effective communication channel between the content and the mind of the audience.

Second, the more effective the communication channel through photorealistic content, the more the feeling of audience presence in virtual space, and this will cause more emotional engagement of the audience while dealing with the content.

Third, photorealistic spaces are produced by 3D computer graphics. Because of photo-like realism, they have more details and information for virtual reality compared to the scenes that are produced normally by 3D graphics. As a result, different audiences will have different experiences when dealing with these spaces. In other words, these spaces decrease the similar experience between two audiences, as the experience of different people while visiting a specific location in the real world is different.

For instance assume that in virtual reality space, the audience sees a chair in a very simple room with no details. With regard to the reality of proportions and sizes, this space cannot create an effective communication with the audience and engage his emotions. On the other hand, the second space has photorealistic features, the chair has details in modeling, realistic texture and even carvings on that. The room also has wood flooring and walls are covered with wallpapers. The lighting and shadows seem very real. The second space has this potential to make a memory or experience in the past come to the mind of the audience and its practical result is an increase in emotional engagement and the feeling of presence.

The reason for using 3D computer graphics to produce photorealistic content should be noted. By using this method of production, we can create spaces that do not exist in the physical world and different uses can be considered for that, such as creating fictional spaces used in the entertainment industry, educational spaces, making environments with a specific purpose such as treating the patients who suffer from PTDS or exposure therapy.

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  • Schlueb, M. (2017) Graphene Transistor Could Mean Computers That Are 1,000 Times Faster. Available at:

  • Carroll, F. (2008) Engaging Photorealistic VR: An Aesthetic Process of Interaction. Unpublished PhD thesis. Edinburgh Napier University. Available at:

  • Smyth, M., Benyon, D., McCall, R., O'Neill, S., Carroll, F. (2015) Patterns of Place: An Integrated Approach for the Design and Evaluation of Real and Virtual Environments. Edinburgh Napier University. Available at:

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